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Immigration Events: A Day Without A Mexican

Dr. Juan Martinez from Fuller Theological Seminary, and head of the hispanic studies program, told a couple of us the other day that the Latino faith community in LA is planning a day of prayer and fasting this Sunday April 2. There is supposed to be another school walk out today from High Schoolers, which I am personally pretty happy about, I like to see people participate in civil disobedience when it is for a good cause. Lastly May Day, May 1st, is Labor day for the rest of the world and even though America doesn't celebrate it any longer (we started it but stopped doing it once Russia and other communist countries joined in on the celebration) the Latino community will have a work stopage stoppage day. Juan Martinez is looking into some ways for Fuller to participate and I certainly hope we do something. Hopefully we will witness our own real "Day Without A Mexican" and learn just how important our Latino neighbors are in this great city.

edited: See Michael Work's Post, the Newsmax article and the Yahoo Article on these issues

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Thoughts on Immigration, Vegetarianism, and James Cone

Here is a buffet bar of thoughts from this past weekend:

1. On Immigration
The struggle for Illegal Immigrants right’s will be, as the LA Times wrote yesterday, the Civil Rights Struggle of our generation. There have been staged walkouts and then this past Saturday a 500,000 person peaceful protest hit the streets of downtown LA to protest the upcoming “Illegal Immigration Act congress is trying to pass.

I didn’t know about the rally or I would have tried to go, it sounds like it was amazing.  Yesterday our church, Pasadena Mennonite, wrote letters to Diane Feinstein our senator, encouraging her to oppose the Illegal Immigration Control Act (HR 4437) that is being debated this week in the House.  It was great to be a part of a faith community owning this and taking some responsibility in helping our fellow humans.  This is what the whole church needs to be doing, and I certainly hope (and expect) the Quaker community is owning this as a movement to aid in as well.  I hope that for this Civil Rights Movement the church will not be so slow in realizing its responsibility to all those in need.  God is for the oppressed, the marginalized, the outcasts, widows, orphans, the poor and the alien.  His favor falls on their side, and so must the church.  The church is to only be concerned about one citizenship, and that is how they are representing Heaven and God’s Kingdom.  National citizenship means nothing when it comes to helping those in need and living out the kingdom of God.  We cannot, as the church, begin to distinguish ‘us from them’ either in ethnic distinctions or national ones.

If you have enough time to get your friends, family, church or small group involved and write a few letters to your rep I encourage you to do so.  I wrote recently about writing letters and offered a few links for resources on finding your representative etc.  I have also uploaded a copy of the letter we used as a springboard for our own letters at church.  Feel free to download it and use what you would like for ideas, I got permission to use this from one of our pastors Bert Newton.

2. Vegetarianism
I finished reading “Peace on Earth: Roots and Practices from Luke’s Gospel (Joseph Grassi) this past Friday.  Its a book about the practices of peace that overwhelm the Gospel of Luke.  I was really interested to read his points on vegetarianism as well.  Grassi Approached it from the perspective of Jesus’ care for the treatment of Animals.  Without going into much of his argument (its worth the read and its a short book), he says that Jesus was not a Vegetarian in the first century but today he very well might be one because of how poorly the animals we eat are treated.  For instance, many most Chickens live in their own feces, with both alive and dead animals caged in around them.  Most animals we eat also live in extremely confined areas.

I would add that the grain that it takes to feed one cow, feeds upwards of 50 people in hunger-stricken countries around the world.  One cow typically feeds only a few Americans.  Grassi argues that for a family to eat meat in the first century would be a huge sacrifice (literally) and would only happen for very special occasions.  Finally, the meat that was eaten was the flesh of their own beloved animal (like a pet) – consider the fatted calf in the prodigal story.  This being said, the animals that were eaten were “happy??? animals that were taken care of as pets and when they died it was as a sacrifice for some special occasion (like the son returning home).  I am not a vegetarian evangelist, I am not even a full fledged vegetarian, but I do care about the treatment of animals and the more I think about how the animal was treated that I may be eating (if I choose a burger verses a bean and cheese burrito), I find myself not wanting that burger anymore, out of my concern for those animals.  I am moving in the direction of only eating “happy??? animals – those that are cage free, well feed, organic, etc.  And because that is an expensive route to take, cutting down on meat intake is a great way to peacefully protest the treatment of animals.  Care for creation is yet another thing that the church should be more concerned about.

3. James Cone at Fuller
James Cone, the father of Black theology, was at Fuller on Friday.  I got to listen to him while I manned the corresponding book-table.  He said one simple thing that will stick with me forever.  When asked by my good friend Jamie Pitts, what he would like to see white American theologians do to help with the issues of race in America he said, “One simple thing, if they are going to do theology, ‘Christian theology’ then they must deal with the racial divide in America, in the whole world too, but especially in America.  Theology must be always written with this separation and these issues in mind. He is right, race is of primary importance to Christian theology, in so far as it deals with at least these three main things – helping those oppressed by other races, care for God’s whole creation and reconciliation.  If the church isn’t about these things, what good is the church?

4. Door of Hope
Finally, some of us in our small group went to Door of Hope in Pasadena to help out on Saturday and it was a great time and great place to go help. It was great to be in a place that is working with many poor and marginalized people and offering them hope. If anyone in the Pasadena area is looking for a place to serve talk to Jim, the director there, he is a really nice guy and their ministry is fabulous.  They help homeless women with children and husband and wives with children.

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A Simple and Silent Worship Service

Last night we hosted our small group over at our house. I was in charge of planning for the evening so I pieced together a worship/prayer/contemplative time that included bits and pieces of prayers from a Celtic prayer book I have, the Book of Common Prayer, Quaker queries and silence, and scripture reading.

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Blog Entries The Technological

My Very Own WordPress Favicon!

So I've been meaning to for sometime figure out this whole favicon thing – and today I had a little bit of time and had a breakthrough (a more meaningful thing to breakthrough would have been better but I'll take what I can get). After looking for how to make a favicon for wordpress on a mac, I found these helpful sites.

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The New Worlds We Stand Before

There is good news I can’t help but share, yesterday I opened my email to read,

Wess,
I’ve been given the go-ahead to officially welcome you into the PhD program…I’ve been assigned as your mentor, so I’m thrilled to be working with you for the next few years…I couldn’t be more pleased to have you in the program — I know you will make a strong contribution.
Ryan

So it all begins again, a new adventure, a new world of ideas, possibilities, and struggle lay before us.

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Using Rojo For RSS Feeds and Educational Use

I switched over from bloglines to rojo about 3 months ago to handle all of my blog feeds.  I did this mainly because it has a simple and easy to view user-interface and because of its tagging capilities.  Since I first came over the rojo team has continued to develop and push forward in the features they offer (at no charge).  They added a feedshare program – a way to share other’s feeds and in the process get a little exposure for your own blog. They have also just in the last couple days added some great new features which have been written about on by much bigger blogs over at techcrunch, and read/write I will not “reblog??? here.  Here I am mainly interested in saying a few things about its uses for the classroom.

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9rules Religion Community Ping Homily on Courage

Shawn over at LO-FI Tribe has put up a “Ping Homily??? for March.  He writes a short homily and then asks other to join in on writing about that theme.  This month he writes about Courage and I am struck by his brief yet powerful message, exclaiming that we know so little of what courage really means.

Taking his cue, I would like to share two ideas of courage: children are often very courageous and so are peacemakers; these two are closely related because their struggle is against those more powerful (in terms of size and might) in the world. Courage is a word that is overused in America, and often it is used in regards to our military and patriotism.  Those who fight for the “powers??? and who are themselves powerful are often seen as courageous.  This does not grasp a view of courage that I think God intends to encourage in creation.  In the Bible, the powerless baby Jesus, who lays wrapped in infant clothes, is both the sign of weakness, fragility, and dependence and the sign of peace and hope to come.  He is the one who was promised to bring a kingdom of peace and justice.  King Herod, a man of sheer power and military might, wanted to kill this helpless infant child.  The powers were colliding then as they are now.  There are many stories where peace triumphs over the powerful throughout all of history, and the Bible is no exception.

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A Nose Dive – Site Down

Today gatheringinlight.com took a nose dive.  While working on editing my new theme supported by Eric Taylor’s K2 Reloaded I decided to clear out some of my old plugins I never use, unfortunately you cannot delete active wordpress plugins, you must deactivate them first or else your site will die.  My site died.  There was no way to go into a safe mode with wordpress so in order to fix the problem I had to go through phpMyAdmin which is built into Siteground‘s cpanel.  For more information and the way to fix it see the wordpress support forum

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Tom Fox Found Dead

Tom Fox, a Quaker and a member of the Christian Peacemaker Team was found dead yesterday in Iraq.  My only connection to him is in the Spirit of God, but he stands as a hero in my mind and one who lived out the call of the Gospel to be salt and light to the world and display love to our enemies.

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Some Web 2.0 for Educational Technology

I’ve been continuing to try and learn (and keep up with) new technologies I think will be useful in the classroom, as I do I post them on my resource page for such items.  There are a few I wanted to point to for use in the technologically aware classroom.  These are free and fairly basic to use, there are of course many other things that do similar or the same functions but these are the ones I’ve tested and am currently using on a regular basis.  There are also other lists of great web 2.0 stuff that I didn’t bother going into here so as to not overwhelm those who need the basics.  Here is a list from JR Rozko and here is an old post of mine.