Friday, December 28, 2007

Instilling Justice In My Daughter

I know I have very little room to be the preacher on issues of justice. I am trying however to live differently, so that we as a family are participating more in issues of justice as a family.

I also want to insure that I instill this idea in my children, so that they will not be trapped in the pit of consumerism that my wife and I are struggling to break our addictions to.

On Christmas morning my three year old was the most sweet gracious thing on earth telling us that the gift she had just opened was, "just what I always wanted" after every single gift. My 6 year old had other ideas for the day, and we had words early on in the gift unwrapping ceremony.

After about her third turn opening a gift she opened a box of fake nails. It is important to note we refer to our oldest as a "Princess with an Edge" because she lacks interest in a lot of girly things. She would rather like to play Mary in Spiderman or Princess Leia in Star Wars than sit at a vanity and comb her hair. So we knew that the fake nails were not the highlight, but since her sister and her friend who is living with us were both getting them, we felt she should get a set to, so she could participate later in the day when the other girls were getting their nails done.

As she opened the nails she looked at them and stated, "this is not what I wanted at all!" To which I calmly dismissed her from the room, and told her we would speak after the rest of the family finished opening gifts. My wife did not go for my harsh sentence, so we went and talked to her about respect and gratitude.

The event was sharply painful to me, because I knew the internal struggle of her heart that our culture feeds. I needed an intervention to teach her a better world view than I have previously modeled.

So this brings us to her 2008 allowance. We have established an allowance sheet that details 15 tasks that must be completed each week. Each task bears a value of $1. She is also going to support the orphan work of Children's Hope Chest, the organization we are going to Swaziland with. This will be a $24 a month commitment for her which means $6 of her allowance will go to that commitment! The final step comes in mentoring her in HOW we spend the remaining amount she earns each week.

I hope to instill 2 lessons at a balance. One is that God desires to bless us, and secondly is that God desires us to bless others. I want her to find a balance between using her remaining earnings for toys and games she likes, and also using it for being a blessing to others.

I know this is kind of a rambling post (as so many are) but it is my dream and my prayer, that the cycle of consumerist addiction will not be passed on to my children.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Scot McKnight on Gospel

The gospel is the work of the trinitarian God in the context of the community of faith to restore cracked Eikons to union with God, communion with one another for the good of others in the world and God does his work in His son!
-Scot McKnight

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

don't eat alone: advent journal: joseph

I was sitting in the hot tub after my workout catching up on my blogs on my PDA when God stopped my day, with this post by the ever wonderful laureate Milton.

don't eat alone: advent journal: joseph: "Like Mary, Joseph had to be filled with something other than reason – and fear. They had to swap angel stories at some point. He was the one given the name, which meant he would name the child as any father would do in those days. He grew into a role he never imagined he would be called to play and they lived out their days with a heartfelt understanding of the paradox of blessing: a life of meaningful pain and joy."

Read the whole post. It is a wonderful tribute that inspired me to just BE in the place where God is doing great things!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Forgiveness - Am I Responsible

I was listening to Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days:Muslims & America" on Hulu and this conversation caught me as interesting.

Why the difference of opinion? Is it not that we as Christians hold forgiveness as our core tenet. The very message of Christianity is that while we were WRONG, Christ took the responsibility of that WRONG on himself and made restitution for that WRONG.

All of us as Christians share responsibility for the tragedies done in the name of Christ. I see the Muslim gentleman in this segments words being very true of an attitude that permeates a lot of Christian conversation.

However, in order for us to LOVE like Christ loved, we must practice the kind of forgiveness that takes the blame for those WRONGS we were not party to.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thankful or Absurdly Offended?

The Parents TV Council is celebrating the great moral principle of the Campbell Soup company by awarding them their "prestigious" PTC seal of approval. This seal encourages Christian consumers to purchase products by this company because of their commitment to the moral fabric of our society.

Should we be thankful for Campbell's hypocrisy? I for one am not. With a history of Child Labor suits here in the U.S. and their continued refusal to submit to public query about the Cocoa buying practices in their Godiva subsidiary; I for one am offended by an organization that would honor them as being pro-family.

Is the slave labor of 4 year old children in New Mexico they settled for $200,000 in 1997 an example of their Pro-Family agenda? Is their current ownership and silence about the purchasing of one the largest chocolate confectioneries pro-family?

Where was the pro-family organization to speak on behalf of the child slaves used to perpetuate the corporate greed of CEO Douglas Conant and Chairman Harvey Golub?

Yes, my conclusion is clear. I am absurdly offended.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Math Test Generator

We are having problems with our daughter being sick at school and having to come home. So I thought I would go online and print a quick little math work for based on the material they are currently working on with her. After a Google search returned no usable math test, I created one my self.

This is perfect for timed math tests. It can be used to generate about any standard math fact test.
I hope someone other than just myself can put it to work for them.

Math Test Generator

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mission Work To Swaziland

On January 23, 2o08 my wife and I will join a team from Children's Hope Chest to visit the Kingdom of Swaziland. We will be visiting the organization's orphanages and care points. We will spend a full week in country. Swaziland is a very small country that has been devastated by the AIDS Epidemic. Official numbers put the national adult AIDS rate at 40%. Some experts however feel it could be closer to a 60% of the adult population is infected with the virus.

This number is most frightening when one thinks about the children left behind. Often both parents have the disease and when they die, there is no one available to care for the children. This virus is an orphan maker. The orphans already number in the ten thousands, and the problem is exponential.

We are accompanying Children's Hope Chest on this trip to learn what we can do personally. We also want to learn what you can do personally. It is our goal to connect our entire network of friends, family, and churches to the issues, and solutions to combat this perfect storm.

God calls himself the father to the fatherless. Our family has united to be God's hands to provide the father's love to these children made fatherless by the grip of this tragedy. If you would like to virtually join us as we prepare for, and go on this trip then please check out for our "Mission Trip 2008" Blog

What Would Jesus Buy?

Friday night my wife and I sat over two hours in Chicago rush hour traffic to pilgrimage our way from the suburbs to the bright lights of the city. Our journey taking nearly an hour longer than we accounted for left us attending the 10:15 showing of the new film, produced by Morgan Spurlok and starring Reverend Billy, "What Would Jesus Buy."

My wife and I both liked the movie. Although I do not agree with the reverend on every level, his overall mission to "slow down American consumerism" is certainly a worthy goal. I certainly believe he proves his thesis that Jesus would not endorse the selfishness and greed that are associated around the celebration of his birth.

Overall, I would recommend the movie. Rev. Billy was at the viewing and we enjoyed being a part of the discussion with him after the show. He did admit to having had a few drinks by the 12:15 AM ending of the show.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Great Chili Tonight

1 Bottle Irish Stout Ale
1 lb Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion chopped
1 Green Pepper chopped
1 29 Ounce Can Kidney Beans
1 29 Ounce Can Pinto Beans
2 16 Ounce Cans Tomato Sauce
1/2 Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Garlic Bulb peeled and Cloved
4 TBS Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tsp Cinnamon


Boil Ale, Vinegar, Garlic, Onion, Green Onion in a large Covered Pot
Brown Beef to taste
After Garlic, Onion and Green Pepper are soft Puree full mix
Return Puree to Pot
Add Beef, Spices, and All Canned Food - Drain Nothing!
Bring To Boil & then Boil Uncovered 20 Minutes to thicken