Saturday, December 22, 2007

Remembering Abraham's Faith

I first experienced the religious festival, Eid al-Adha, when I lived in Bosnia.
I was "warned" a few days before this holiday to prepare myself for the sight of animals being sacrificed in the streets. I lived in Sarajevo, which is a city, not a village. However, I was still a little taken aback when I passed several hanging, bleeding, animals on my way to the bakery.
Eid al-Adha is the Muslim holiday when they remember Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God. For those of you who don't know this event in history, God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice. This is forshadowing of God providing Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. God provided the sacrifice (like the ram in Abraham's case), so that we wouldn't have to pay.
So, I'm posting a few pictures of this event for you (compliments of the BBC). The first one is men praying in New Delhi, the second is a camel being sacrificed with many on lookers, and the third is a boy in Senegal washing the goat sacrifice before the slaughter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Easy Way

It's easy to hate someone you've never met.
It's easy to lack compassion when you haven't experienced.
It's easy to be apathetic when you close your eyes.
It's easy to provide an answer even when you don't have all the facts.
It's easy to be depressed when you only have your own troubles.

I highly recommend the documentary Promises. It documents children living in Israel. You have twin boys who are secular Jews, a boy studying as an orthodox Jew, 3 children living in a Palestinian refugee camp (that has been there since it's a refugee city), a Palestinian boy living in Jeruselum, and a few others. These children can tell you exactly why their country is in strife and they have very passionate feelings and beliefs. They hate each other. But, then they meet.
It is very easy to come up with your non-negotiables in life if you don't rub elbows with people unlike yourself. If you are pretty sure about most of your beliefs (I mean the ones that aren't in the Bible), maybe you haven't experienced life with people who suffer or haven't become friends with people who should be your moral enemy. All I'm saying is things aren't always so cut and dry. We are a sound bite culture. We think we should have an answer for everything. Life with the struggling and in the suffering world isn't easy, but it's where the Gospel comes alive.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bring It On!

Ever since I was young I've loved a good weather emergency. I can remember the thrill of going through the house unplugging the electrical dangers and then getting in the ready position. I realish news reports that warn we should hurry to the store to stock up on food, or admonishments to stay inside and off the roads.
So today, Doug and I are giving high fives every time the news reports that Marion county is getting closer to the 10-17 inch snow warning. And, things are gonna get crazy!
I remember when I was really pregnant with Maegan and home alone during a tornado warning (or watch...whichever is worse). I went to our basement, turned on the news, and fell asleep in our laundry room on top of the washer. (The laundry room didn't have windows.) Even that was pretty exciting!
So, I say, bring it on.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Craigslist: marketplace for child trafficking

The Internet with all of its conveniences has unfortunately become a major
platform for facilitating human trafficking, prostitution and sexual
exploitation of children. Currently, approximately 400,000 women and
children are being prostituted in the U.S. annually. Surprisingly only
10-20% of prostitution is street-based. Behind closed doors, hidden by the
anonymity of the Internet the exploitation of children is surging.

Craigslist, an Internet company well known for enabling users to
conveniently advertise everything from jobs to housing, has now become a
popular marketplace for the sale of human- beings. With its free postings
and relative anonymity for its users, Craigslist's "Erotic Services" site
has become a vehicle for the trafficking and exploitation of women and
children. There have been numerous reportings of children falling prey to
traffickers advertising on Craigslist and victims as young as four years
old have been sold on the Erotic Services site.

Craigslist in the media

Recent headlines include the January 11, 2007 Cook County, Illinois arrest
of three adults, two of which were posting advertisements on Craigslist for
girls ranging in age from 14 to 16 years old to perform sex acts. ABC 7
Chicago reported that "some of these girls were forced to turn 10, 12
tricks a day resulting in tens of thousands of dollars for the pimps." (See
full article on In response to the mounting evidence that its site is being used for these insidious purposes, Craigslist often refused to comment or claimed lack of resources to effectively monitor postings.
The Craigslist "Call to Action" campaign, urges Craigslist as a
multi-million dollar company and face of other philanthropic causes to take
responsibility for the role its site is playing in facilitating child
trafficking and exploitation. In light of the New Year, we are asking
Craigslist to make a New Year's resolution to follow in the footsteps of
MySpace and Google and implement better preventative policies and
monitoring efforts to protect its site from being used as a resource for
child traffickers. Through several speaking engagements, a national press
conference to take place in the spring and a petition directed at
Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, Love146 hopes to raise awareness about this
issue and encourage Craigslist to take action.
You will notice that at the bottom of the petition we have given Craigslist
a deadline of January 1st to proclaim there intent to implement the proper
safeguards and monitoring, otherwise we plan to boycott use of their site.
While Craigslist claims to have a philanthropic mindset, it also has a
bottom line and pressure from its users may put pressure on its financial
stability. We have already sent our first mass mailing of the petition
from the Love146 office with a message to Craigslist and CEO Jim Buckmaster
that the time to act is now.
What YOU can do!
Please join us in our efforts by mailing the petition(preferably certified
mail) and e-mailing it to the Craigslist staff:,,,
Click here to download the petition:
Click here to download the petition and factsheets:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Snake Bites

I got reaquainted with a story from Numbers today. I was reading about the acclaimed Nicodemus who sought out Jesus late one night. In a small room somewhere in Jerusalem, Jesus told Nicodemus that to see the Kingdom of God a person has to be born again. Nicodemus didn't quite get this, and just wanted to know what he needed to do to accomplish seeing the Kingdom. So, Jesus took him back to the story of the Israelites in the desert getting bitten and killed by snakes. "So the Lord sent fiery serpants among the people, and they bit the people; and many died." So the people begged Moses to plead to God for mercy. Basically, tell Him we'll do anything He wants, just get these snakes to go away!!! So Moses prayed for the people and the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." So, Moses made the snake pole. If a serpant had bitten anyone, when they looked at the pole they lived.
So, the story hit me differently this time. Usually when I think about this event I think that all the people who had been bitten where healed and all the snakes went away. Not so. The pole was erected so that WHEN the people were bitten they would live. God didn't just wipe out all those horrible snakes. He made a way for the people to be healed. Ah, I don't know if Nicodemus got it, but I did. Have you been bitten lately? Have you thought, why doesn't God just eradicate all this horrible stuff of life? Or why doesn't he just give us a nice balm to put on our snake wounds and keep the snakes from biting again? I don't know. I just know that we are going to get bitten time and time again....but when we look to the Cross, we live!