Fuller Seminary, Jim Wallis, and me

This week’s SEMI (Fuller’s student publication) features an interview with my boss, Jim Wallis, and an article by me telling some of the story of how I ended up at Sojourners. For those of you at Fuller, pick up a copy and let me know your thoughts! And if you’re not in Pasadena, drop me a comment and I’ll email you an electronic copy.

Also, for Pasadena friends, Jim will be speaking at All Saints Church tomorrow (25th) at 7pm. Go say hey!

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Love is the ultimate outlaw

In the February issue of Sojourners, Cathleen Falsani writes about perfect love. In it, she references Tom Robbins’ 1980 novel Still Life with Woodpecker. She introduces it as “the whimsical love story between a red-headed, environmentalist princess (deposed) named Leigh-Cheri and a tequila-swilling outlaw called Bernard,” and highlights “an exchange between the unlikely lovers that took place in written dispatches sent through Bernard’s attorney.”

“The most important thing is love,” said Leigh-Cheri. “I know that now. There’s no point in saving the world if it means losing the moon.” …

The message continued, “I’m not quite 20, but, thanks to you, I’ve learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn’t that be the way to make love stay?”

The next day, Bernard’s attorney delivered to her this reply:

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words ‘make’ and ‘stay’ become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

Love is the ultimate outlaw. I like that.

Sojourning is in my blood

Thanks to my friend Duane, who passed this gem on to me.

According to The Poker Bride, a new book by Christopher Corbett that traces the journey of many of the first Chinese immigrants in the American West, and reviewed by Melanie Kirkpatrick on Wall Street Journal,

Before the transcontinental railroad, a ship could cross the Pacific Ocean faster than the Pony Express could travel from the West to the East Coast. So in 1848 the news of gold in California reached Hong Kong before it reached Boston. Thousands of Chinese risk takers set sail for what they called the Golden Mountain. In the U.S., they were dubbed “Celestials” or “Sojourners” or “Chinamen,” a designation that did not become a slur until later, Mr. Corbett says.

“Who Would Jesus Shoot?” Rendered Moot

After an outcry from Christians and people of other faiths, Trijicon has released a statement saying it will no longer imprint Bible verses on its gunsights. Thank you, Trijicon, for your quick and responsible action on this matter.

Who would Jesus shoot?

In case you haven’t already seen this, it’s been discovered that gunsights on weapons used by British and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with coded biblical references, including:

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that carved onto weapons of war are words of truth and peace, words from a man who embodied and heralded a kingdom characterized by peace, and from a man who announced an alternative to empire and spoke of faith, hope, joy, gentleness, goodness, and peace. How in the heck do these things go together?!

On the website of Trijicon, the US-based manufacturer, it states: “We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we will strive to follow those morals.” Which of course is clearly congruent with SHOOTING people.

Clearly.

No wonder Christians have a bad name. You’d think we’d learned our lessons from the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. But apparently not.

UPDATE (Jan 20, 2pm EST): Now cross-posted over at God’s Politics.

UPDATE (Jan 20, 4pm EST): If you’d like to sign a petition asking the Pentagon to stop using weapons branded with Bible verses, you can do so here.

Haiti

Thousands are feared dead in the wake of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, with millions more affected and displaced. Haiti is the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere, with a heartbreaking history rife with slavery, despotism, disease and disaster—in 2008, the country was hit by four hurricanes, which killed hundreds.

Please help however you are able: through prayers, through donations to charitable aid organizations, and through action. Here’s a list of organizations that are working on the ground in Haiti, including World Vision and Oxfam; and you can find more suggestions and recommendations from Sojourners readers on Sojourners’ Facebook page.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains should shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult” (Psalm 46:1-3).

Wanna come work at Sojourners for the summer?

Applications for The Beatitudes Society Fellowship are open for summer 2010. One of the options for placement is here at Sojourners, so yeah, you’d get to work with me. Isn’t that exciting? 😉

Here’s a description of the program:

This core program of The Beatitudes Society empowers seminary students to

  • Expand their experience in ministry,
  • Engage in praxis and reflection with peers,
  • Develop skills to effectively engage media,
  • Serve God in the world, and
  • Equip them to change the world.

Please forward word of the Fellowship Program to any seminarians you know – or to contacts you have at seminaries that might help us spread the word at their schools. The deadline to apply is February 15.

Let me know if you have any questions.