Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Micah Challenge


The Micah Network and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) have created the Micah Challenge campaign to grasp a moment of unique potential. A moment when the intention of all of the world’s leaders to halve poverty by 2015, echoes something of the mind of the Biblical prophets and the teachings of Jesus concerning the poor. A moment when the world has the means to dramatically reduce poverty and hunger!

Micah Challenge is a global campaign to mobilise Christians against poverty. The campaign aims to deepen Christian engagement with impoverished and marginalised communities, and to influence leaders of rich and poor nations to fulfil their promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

These two aims - one looking inward and calling on Christians, and the other looking outward and calling on leaders - are interlocked. For many Christians, churches, and Christian organisations, engagement in political advocacy with poor communities will be a new step built upon a new understanding of Christ's mission for the church. Micah Challenge is encouraging these Christians to explore and embrace 'integral mission'. While for many Christians who are already engaged in work with poor communities, Micah Challenge offers a global framework for speaking up with the poor, particularly for achievement of the MDGs.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Perfect Advertising Placement

I came across this the other day as I walked down Hastings street in Canada's poorest postal code... I read in Time that advertisers just spent a record 8 billion dollars in consumer research this year... wonder if Lexus thinks it was worth the cash?

Calling and Os Guinness

Went to Missions Fest to hear a great session by Os Guinness. The hour long session was on 'calling'. Fantastic stuff - here is an exert from an article on the same subject... it will give you a basic idea:

R&L: How do you define "the Call"?

Guinness: Simply put, the Call is the idea that God calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we have, and everything we do is invested with a dynamism and a devotion because it is done as a response to His summons. In other words, those two words of Jesus Christ–"Follow me"–changed the world as millions since have risen up to follow His call.

R&L: In the book [Calling], you note two primary distortions of the concept of calling. Can you elaborate on them?

Guinness: Over the course of the past two thousand years, the concept of calling has been distorted in two ways. I label these–although this is slightly unfair–the Catholic distortion and the Protestant distortion, and both are reflections of a spiritual/secular dualism.

The Catholic distortion is the idea that spiritual things are higher than secular things; so, calling is reserved for monks, nuns, and priests, and lay people are let off the hook, so to speak. This idea was introduced first by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, and was picked up by great thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas.

The Protestant distortion is the other way around. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin taught that calling includes your work, but about one hundred fifty years after the early Puritans, we see the words calling and vocation become merely synonyms for work and employment. Over time, that was distorted until it came to be seen that one’s work simply was his calling. So, we have a situation where calling is being secularized and work is being sacralized.

WHAT DOES IT MATTER? It matters a great deal... it matters even in the way we 'do church' and it matters even more in the way we 'do army'. Do you figure the current training/recruiting issues in the Salvation Army Western World has to do with this confusion?

Guinness suggests that we have almost become Catholic in our understanding of Calling again in Protestant churches. When people become saved it soon becomes evident that they should be 1. a missionary 2. a minister 3. a para-church worker
- every other profession is almost considered a distraction FROM ministry.

What is most horrible about this to me is that our tradition in the Army was established for exactly this reason. William Booth said, "if you want to get a mill-worker saved, send a mill-worker." Even here in Vancouver 614 (in the downtown eastside) we understand that when Isaiah 61:4 says, "THEY will rebuild' he is referring to the ones FROM the downtown eastside that have been set free... not us (the 'professional' Christian type). We empower people to respond to the calling God has on every believer, "Go, into all the world...."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Cure for Hate?

Hope for The Children of Africa

We Believe

For the children of Africa we sing this song
Robbed of their families their nights seem long
Lonely and frightened; security gone
They deserve protection and care

For the children of Africa we sing this song
Without enough food to eat their days seem long
Hungry and thirsty, its all just wrong
For they’re children like you and like me

We believe that there will be a new day
When the sun shines on Africa in more than one way
We believe that justice should speak up and say:
“Let the children of Africa
Live a new day”

For the orphan children we sing this song
Caring for families tho’ they’re still young
Grieving and vulnerable something should be done
To look after these precious ones

We believe, oh we believe
That there’s hope for the children of Africa
We believe, oh we believe
That these children are the hope of Africa

© Copyright Emma Pears 2006/ Curious? Music UK 2006

MONDAY the song WE BELIEVE will be available on itunes.
Download, listen, be inspired and then let's live out what we believe!
All proceeds will go to HOPEHIV (here's the link to check it out):

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Price of Indifference

More from Miroslav Volf (Exclusion and Embrace - pg. 77):
"Strangely enough, the havoc wreaked by indifference may be even greater than that brought by felt, lived, practiced hatred. In Modernity and the Holocaust Zygmunt Bauman notes that mass destruction of Jews "was accompanied not by the uproar of emotions, but the dead silence of unconcern." Especially within a large-scale setting, where the other lives at a distance, indifference can be more deadly than hate. Whereas the fire of hatred flares up in the proximity of the other and then dies down, the cold indifference can be sustained over time, especially in contemporary societies."

Wow. I recognize that indifference in me. I struggle to really embrace people who aren't like me... I am trying to offer 'embrace' instead of 'exclusion' but it is a hard thing to do. The struggle is worth having though, considering the end results of indifference in the world (even in my neighbourhood). Miroslav offers some hope - Christ in me. Although our natural tendency is towards 'exclusion' (sin) our hope is in dying to ourselves and living unto Christ. That could be a cool measure of holiness... instead of how much do you 'stay away from the world' perhaps the question of holiness is how many people do I embrace?

This goes well with the soon to be published author Olivia Munn's take on the 1 Peter verse, "without holiness no one will see the Lord". Olivia suggests the verse makes perfect sense, because if other people don't see Jesus in us - how will they see Him at all?
Good take. So instead of holiness being an 'exclusionary' practise of Divine Control it becomes an effectious and open presence in the world of Grace (much more like the salt and light thing Jesus was on about?).

Just thinking outloud.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


My friend Jen is featured in a CBC documentary called A Safer Sex Trade, "Jennifer exposes the ugly side of Vancouver's streets, where Canada's current laws have led to the increasing marginalization of street walkers and have made the women at the front lines of the notorious Downtown Eastside particularly vulnerable. It's a danger that made international headlines last year with the arrest of Robert Willie Pickton, charged with the murder of 26 women, many of them Vancouver sex trade workers."

Jen is the hero of the film (and a real life one as well) because she tells the truth about the reality of the so called 'sex trade'. I love her practical approach to helping and offering an example of hope. Her belief that God can change people is rooted in her own experience of transformation. I love this woman!
What a witness.

Here's the link if you'd like to check out the documentary for yourself (it's on again this Saturday, 10pm):

The ongoing debate about legalizing the 'sex trade' is an argument rooted in ignorance. All of the countries that have tried to legalize prostitution as a means of helping women have only succeeded in widening the base of women that are exploited.
Here's a link to a great article on 10 reasons NOT to legalize prostitution: it's a great read.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tony Campolo and Women Preachers

Let the Women Preach
An outspoken evangelical says that if a man is concerned about women preachers, he 'needs to be healed. He needs prayer.'
Interview with Tony Campolo: here's the link - well worth a read (hattip to Rick Munn, a champion for empowerment!)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Living counter-culturally?

So, I've had some great suggestions (see the comment links) for my 30 day experiment year... I'll keep you posted on what I choose and how it goes.
So far the 'what would my sister eat' thirty days has hit a little hard this week. I must be in sugar withdrawal or something horrible like that.

Anyway, Carla's suggestion of not taking a bath or shower for a month (as an identification with the homeless), and the 'giving the finger to the devil' post got me thinking.
How do I live counter-culturally?

I don't have cable.
I give away money. (not to anyone who asks mind you - so don't bother!) :-)
I shop second hand (if I don't have a gift card)
I live in a bad neighbourhood (although my apartment is filled with others who do the same).
I pray. (to JESUS)
I live IN community.

I was trying to think of ways I live 'counter-culturally' and found it difficult. There is such a tension between being 'relevant' in order to be heard (in order to share the gospel) and being non-relevant on purpose to stick it to the 'man' as it were (to model Jesus to the world).
I fluctuate between these two things... trying to 'walk the line' as Johnny Cash might say.

Maybe I need to beef up my expression of holiness... what are some ways I can really live counter-culturally? without being a pharisee... or an insular, uptight Christian?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pickton Trial

The trial of a Canadian pig farmer accused of killing 26 women begins on Monday in Vancouver.

It is the largest serial murder case in Canadian history, and the trial will reveal details of the murders which have until now been kept secret by the Canadian courts.

The alleged victims come from a list of more than 60 women who are believed to have vanished from the streets of Vancouver since about 1980.
Most disappeared in the late 1990s.

LET's PRAY FOR EXPOSURE OF INJUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS TO RULE THIS TRIAL. PRAY FOR THE FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS (comfort and closure). PRAY FOR THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE and it's residents to rise up and fight against oppression by living whole, free lives!

Here's a link to the whole story covered by the BBC:

Giving the finger to the devil...

Otherwise known as The Salvation Army salute. Tony Campolo suggests that a life of holiness should look like giving the finger to the enemy.

My husband says the salute means:
I'm on my way to heaven, and I'm doing everything I can to get everyone I can to join me.

My son agrees. :-)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blast from the past

here's some warriors fighting for revolution... (can you name the Cadet?)

The 30 day experiment

My New Year's resolution is to have an entire year of 30 day experiments.
Inspired partly, by Super Size Me but without the 'extreme' nature of it (because my life doesn't permit).
This month has been 'what would my sister eat' experiment. For those of you who don't know her, it means that I don't eat any fat or sugar and I cut out alot of calories.
It's been kind of fun. I've had a slip or two - but overall it's been a good experiment (inside and out).

The next 30 days are in the War Room (our 24/7 prayer room). One shift is three hours... and I'd like to do a shift a day for 30 days... this will be difficult because I'm away for almost 10 days out of the month (altogether) so, I'm going to have to take the war room with me (you can take Danielle out of the dtes but you can't take the dtes out of Danielle). ;-)

The next month is a pilates 30 day-er.

I'm open to some other suggestions... I think somehow I'd like to put some 'silence' as a discipline in one of the months... I had talked of the idea of going to a monastary for a month - but not sure that fits in with my schedule either...

Fasting has come up a lot - technology fast (no media for 30 days), spending fast (no buying for 30 days), car fast (only public transit)... stuff like that... could be cool...

I figure it's a good way of adding some new disciplines to my life (hopefully, I'll be able to keep what is good about all the streams I'm trying).

I'm open to suggestions for experimental months... I need 9 more ;-)
Peace out.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Departure from Culture

I'm reading a new book. Exclusion & Embrace, by Miroslav Volf (Director, Center for Faith and Culture, Yale Divinity School):
Great thick, challenging theological read.
He makes some very significant points but one that stood out for me today was the thought that Abraham's call to 'depart' from his culture (religious beliefs, extended family, business, controllable future etc...) is the same call that Christians experience when they hear Jesus. It creates a sort of 'distance' from our culture, but in a new Testament context the distance isn't always a physical one - it's an internal one. We are 'strangers' in this world.

"Their 'strangeness' results not from the negative act of cutting all ties, but from the positive act of giving allegiance to God and God's promised future. Stepping out of their culture, they do not float in some indeterminate space, looking at the world from everywhere and anywhere. Rather with one foot planted in their own culture and the other in God's future - internal difference - they have a vantage point from which to perceive and judge the self and the other not simply on their own terms but in the light of God's new world - a world in which a great multitude 'from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages' is gathered 'before the throne and before the Lamb'."

internal difference... what is that? how do I foster it in my own life? How can I have one foot planted in the world and the other in God's future... how do I live out the reality of the Kingdom in a hostile world... do I even have enough distance from my culture to see how it influences me more than God?

Some questions I'm asking right now.

Here's a link to the Religious and Ethics News Review (you can view an interview with him if you'd like).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
He would have been 79.
He was shot dead when he was only 39.
39 years old and King had already begun to change a nation and inspire the world.

I'm inspired by King - if you'd like to read some awe inspiring stuff consider the latest book on and by King himself.
Martin Luther King Jr. an autobiography... a collection of his journals, letters. speeches and sermons - in chronological order.
It's a must read for world changers.

I'm encouraged that King was a real man, complete with doubts, fears, conviction, sin, hope, vision, mistakes, suffering, and redemption (large size redemption). King believed in a world that could be restored. So do I.

C.S. Lewis suggests that when Christ died and rose again time itself began to work in reverse... as though the whole created order is on it's way back to the point of creation - perfect wholeness... I'm a fan of that idea. I believe that life is stronger than death - I know that love conquers all in the end. King, witnessing from Heaven, is part of the great cloud of witnesses that cheers us on and invites us to finish what God started.

There are some Christians that spend their whole lives hiding and hope that Christ will return to save the day. That's not me. I know Christ is coming and I want to be ready... I'm spending my days fighting, hoping, living against despair and death and winning the world for Him... I want to change the world. It's a large and costly prayer but I mean it.
Thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. for a life well lived and the dream... now, to live it out.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Children of Men

I think John Paul the Great would have been pleased with the new movie Children of Men:

One reviewer (Lisa Schwarzbaum) calls it a 'prophetic dystopian dazzler' and suggests it's one of the most important films of the year... she only laments it's release date and the reality that it will get tossed out for not being 'glam' enough for the hollywood crowd.

I think it puts John Paul's warning to the next generation on the big screen...

Some of the stuff worth talking about after you see the flick: (feel free to use as a discussion guide for a God at the Movies time with a friend).

1. How do we value life in our society? and in our own lives?
2. What are the risks of rejecting life - to our world? (what were the results in the movie - and do you see that happening in our world now? if so, how).
3. How we respond to people in need suggests our value on life itself (a gift or a hassle)... how do we (personally) respond to people in need?
4. Why do catholics have issues with birth control - and does it relate to valuing life?

That's to get you started... I'd love your comments after you've seen the film.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The $10 solution

Malaria kills 2 million African children a year. Here's a simple plan for saving their lives:

"New citizens' movements, including Malaria No More ( and Nothing but Nets (, have been established to achieve the needed breakthrough. We can each contribute $10 for a bed net. We can each learn more about the disease and become antimalaria leaders in our communities, schools, and churches and businesses." - Jeffrey D. Sachs

Here's the link: go ahead and donate $10 and help out an extremely poor family fight against death.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Greatest Threat

"The greatest threat to the next generation is excessive capitalism and the death of persons not yet born."
Pope John Paul II (or as I like to refer to him: John Paul the Great - check out Penny Noonan's bio on the champion!)

Why do you figure he picks those two?

Friday, January 12, 2007


So, I've been at a Leader's Conference - thus the lapse in my blogging - sorry.
Our guest speaker has been on about Unity - the purpose and power of it for mission. I'm sold.
If you haven't checked out the Transformation series of DVD's - they are powerful evidence of unity being a means of winning whole people groups to Jesus.

Today was about offense - and it was a good word. Worth sharing:

The reality of OFFENSE:
1. We give offense - we try not too but it's inevitable really - we are all people and we are all different... we give offense.
2. We take offense - this is where some choices come in - we don't have too but we often TAKE offense. Justyn Rees (the speaker and reconciliation expert) suggests that offense is a bait that satan uses to trap US... that's the rub - we think taking offense will 'get' the other person back but in the end it is a trap for us. It's satan's way of ensnaring us.

So what to do?
3. Be QUICK to forgive offenses... don't let the sun go down/love keeps no record of wrongs/forgive one another and bear with each other in love/ etc... (you get the idea).... scripture is clear that the way we battle offense is to forgive it QUICKLY and COMPLETELY.

easier said than done. I want to live offense free. Not in some weird reality where I think I'll never be offended or ever cause offense... but I want to be like teflon - where the offense is given but not taken... I don't want to fall into the trap of take the bait. Want to join me?

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Weapons of Mass Salvation

Here's a link to a brilliant article by Jeffrey Sachs published in the Economist shortly after 9/11... he suggests a two pronged approach to defeating terrorism...

it struck me that although this article is secular in nature - there is a spiritual truth for the Salvation Army... dig in, I'd love to hear what you think it is.


Stephen confessed today to identifying with 'slackers' - more details to come... stay tuned. ;-)


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Thank You God for my 'owies'.

I was praying with my son at bedtime tonight. We have a tradition of spending our prayer time at night with thanksgiving... we each take turns thanking God for family, friends, things that have happened that day (and many animals of course!).
Tonight the first thing he thanked God for was his 'owies'. That's cool.
I wanna live that kind of thanksgiving all the time... reminds me of the fullness of life I'm looking for - here's another quote to that effect:

Time lost is time when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavor, enjoyment, and suffering.-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

redeem the time.

Drum beat of eternity.

Thinking of the New Year... here's some meat to chew on...

"We must make a choice. Will we continue to march to the drum beat of conformity and respectability, or will we, listening to the beat of a more distant drum, move to its echoing sounds? Will we march only to the music of time, or will we, risking criticism and abuse march to the soul-saving music of eternity? More than ever before we are today challenged by the words of yesterday, "be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Reminds me of some lyrics in a song by Nathan Rowe called Let Justice Roll...
"Will you live untainted by this world?
Will you die, for the gospel of our King?
Will you hear the weeping of our Lord? He calls...
Will you be my hands and feet - to the lost, the last and least - will you stand? will you go?
Will you burn and show my light? Will you break the chains and fight? Will you stand, will you go?

Bring it on Jesus... we are ready.