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« October 2007 | Main | December 2007 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » November 2007

By Larry James on November 30, 2007

Last year on October 19, Harvard Divinity School hosted James Cone, Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, to present the 2006 Ingersoll Lecture.

What follows is an essay based on the speech Cone delivered. His subject was provocative, as is typical with Cone: the cross and the lynching tree. When I was in seminary, I had the wonderful opportunity to enroll in a summer school class with Dr. Cone. He has had a profound influence on my life and thinking. Watch and read. Don't miss what he says...

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on November 30, 2007


How could this be?! This is indeed breaking news, because it may very well be the first time FoxNews has done something right - er... correctly.

This comes on the heals of the CNN blunder in reporting a lot of misinformation about young people and the youth vote in 2008. Add to that Naomi Wolf and Courtney Martin and you're ready for your own nuclear meltdown of frustration.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on November 29, 2007

I haven't done a lot of faith based blogging in a while. Some of that is attributed to the plethora of things I've been wanting to talk about and being overwhelmed - the other excuse is that I'm just too darn lazy.

Its that time of year again, and let me talk to you about my mother's pie making skills. Thus induces the food coma that makes me want to trade in my blogging responsibilities for even more pie and a good KU game.

But, the latest installment of Revolution in Jesusland is by Zack's wife Elizabeth who reviews two new books - Acts 29 and Justice in the Burbs made me think a lot about politicians who give a pretty hefty sacrifice for the love of their districts when they could be playing politics as usual.

Zack and Elizabeth, if you didn't know, just moved to Kansas City, MO so they're local now. If ya'll meet up with them, they are good progressive folk... buy em a cup of coffee, give em a hard time. Elizabeth says:

"The premise of Acts 29 is that Christians should focus on bringing about redemption (defined in the book as including "radical giving", "healing", "astounding community life" and "compassion" for those who are "hurting, confused and unloveable") to a city. How can a single church implement such a radical agenda? Through sacrificial love. Christians can and should learn to lay "aside personal agendas" in order to "see how the Kingdom can be advanced." ...... The idea is that Christians should learn from the first Christian communities (described in the Book of Acts), where the disciples prayed continually so that they could have the power to heal the sick and live in radical community where everyone shared all that they had."

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on November 29, 2007

Lee Stuart worked with South Bronx Churches (an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation) before he became Director of Development for The Hunger Project. Overcoming entrenched poverty in entire communities is extremely difficult. If Stuart is correct here, it will only grow more challenging in coming days. I often have the feeling that many folks who drop and read my blog don't understand or think in systemic terms when discussing poverty. To miss this dimension is to miss a large portion of the harsh reality of living in poverty.

I find his insights in the quote below extremely interesting, not so surprising and somewhat alarming...

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on November 29, 2007

I like learning new things. I like "a-ha!" moments. I like figuring out how things work.

My latest "a-ha!" moment started when one of the college students came to me explaining that in order to get back into college, he would have to pay for the entire semester without help from financial aid. I already had the feeling that was going to happen.

After the semester had started this fall, I noticed he was hanging out in Dallas an awful lot. He finally explained to me that he wasn't going to school this semester because he had failed some of his classes and his GPA had dropped below a certain level. He tried to explain to me that the school counselor had told him if he just sat out this semester, his financial aid would be reinstated in the spring. From an experience with another college student, I knew that wasn't right, but he chose not to listen when I explained that he would have to pay the school before he could continue. (Don't kid yourself if you think that our government's money is flowing freely to students! If students don't perform, financial aid does not continue paying for the classes!)

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on November 28, 2007

Music is power.

Last summer, my friend, Mikey Cunningham wrote a new song he titled "Right Here."

The sensitive and moving lyrics speak to hunger, urban poverty, homelessness and despair.

Even more, the music begs several questions about our inability, our unwillingness to make meaningful human connections to impoverished people in our communities.

Read more from this post here ...

By Lucy Belnora on November 27, 2007

Foreclosures doubled this year, surging from 90% to 110% higher in 2007 than in 2006. Nearly 2 million homeowners are in default or will have faced foreclosure in 2007. At least 1.4 million additional homeowners will lose their properties to foreclosure in 2008, while "the property value of U.S. homes will fall by $1.2 trillion," says a new report by the the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Council for the New American City.

"The foreclosure crisis is no longer just about mortgages, entire neighborhoods are being negatively affected on several levels. This issue is now the number one economic challenge of many major American cities." (Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick)

The report predicts "deep economic impact from ongoing housing market problems."

Read more from this post here ...

By Nora Thomason on November 27, 2007

As Simone pointed out last week, President Bush is building a $600 million embassy in Baghdad that will cost us $1.2 billion dollars to run. The new embassy compound in Iraq is the strongest signal yet that George Bush is doing everything he can to ensure that our presence in Iraq remains long after his presidency is over.

Rather than responding to the two-thirds of Americans that want us out of Iraq, or even negotiating his strategies with the members of Congress that represent the citizens of America - Bush is instead negotiating his long-term plans with the puppet prime minister of Iraq...

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on November 27, 2007

Newsflash: Homeless people are not criminals, nor are they deserving of the treatment they usually receive.

What people who lack homes need is decent, permanent housing.

As I've related here before, lots of national research and numerous case studies document the fact that once given a place to call home, an overwhelming majority of formerly homeless persons manage their lives very well without much additional intervention (87%, to reference one major study).

Read more from this post here ...

By Sophie Milam on November 26, 2007

The Washington Post ran an interesting article about the impact of climate change on our food supply. The concern is that new plant varieties must be cultivated to withstand the havoc that global warming is expected to wreak on agriculture, namely plants that are tolerant to drought, flooding, etc. Skip to the end and they reference the doomsday plan, a vault housing endless seed types for use in the event that plants do not survive future weather patterns. The vault is in Norway, embedded in a mountainside (much like the geologic cocoon afforded America's most precious commodity, nuclear waste).

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on November 26, 2007

"It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

J. R. R. Tolkien

By Corinne Blum on November 25, 2007

dance2.jpg

Life will do everything to destroy your soul, art will remind you that you have one.

My goal through dance and choreography is to take everything experienced in life, the many spectrums of existence, its ugliness and its beauty, its suffering and its joy, and transform it into something that everyone can understand.

The process of observing, digesting, and transforming the myriad of life's experiences is what, to me, makes art interesting.

From suffering and ugliness, can we create healing and beauty? Can we collectively feel and be affected by life through art?

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on November 25, 2007

Traffic was pretty bad on my way to Oklahoma. At 2:00 in the afternoon, I sat in lines of traffic just trying to get out of Dallas. Then, when I got to the Indian Nation Turnpike they only had one lane open that made change. Since the toll was $1.75 the majority of the cars on the freeway didn't have exact change. So, we sat... in line.... waiting. In addition, there was a lane coming from another highway that fed directly to the toll booth line. More waiting.

Read more from this post here ...

By Simone Davis on November 25, 2007

3,875 soldiers dead and more than 28,000 wounded Americans, plus more than 1,000 private contractors killed and many more injured.

The costs of the invasion and occupation seem to have no end. This endless war was the result of a wrong turn. We've been stuck slogging through the results of the mistake for almost five years now.

How did all this happen anyway? How did President Bush move our country from a strong dollar, decent gasoline prices, a strong jobs market and a surplus in our national treasury into a situation where now we have the largest trade deficit, biggest national debt, fastest wage reductions, highest gas prices and a declining dollar?

I finally see a flickering light at the end of this long and dreary tunnel. It gives me hope. Filled with the spirit of the Thanksgiving holidays, I wish to offer gratitude to those holding up candles for us. Held up as beacons by a few brave members of our Congress, the lights at the end beckon us. So, let's dust ourselves off and walk in their direction. On the way, of course, we can talk more about how all this happened and what we can do to prevent it from ever happening again. C'mon, come with me....

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on November 25, 2007

N. Gordon Cosby founded The Church of the Savior in Washington, DC. Here's a bit of his prophetic wisdom for this Sunday:

We see the realities of our world and recognize that the church has not become a strong and mighty witness for scores of displaced refugees and starving ill, ignored, assaulted masses. We are not calling the nations to bow before God in recognition of systemic oppression of the poor. We are not demanding that practices of reconciliation and justice be at the heart of national and global policies, nor even at the heart of our own schools, work places and neighborhoods.

Read more from this post here ...

By Nora Thomason on November 24, 2007


The most exclusive community in South Florida was invaded by ordinary activists hoping to stand up for the rights of ordinary workers.

Off the coast of Miami last Saturday, decorated boats ferried more than one hundred activists as close as possible to the shore of the ultra-wealthy Fisher Island to protest discriminatory and abusive treatment of the workers that clean, maintain, and protect the island. The activists then swam the rest of the way to shore.

"Because they are so isolated, Fisher Island residents think they can wall themselves off from the poverty they create," said Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 11 Political Director Hiram Ruiz. "We set out to make a point, that there should be only one Miami, not one Miami for the wealthy and another for the rest of us."

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on November 24, 2007

The following opinion column was brought to my attention recently:
We have to tackle education's urban crisis

Here is my commentary to Ms. Creighton's opinion:

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on November 24, 2007

Anyone who really cares about people, urban areas and the future needs to read Bill McKibben's essay:

"In the end, global warming presents the greatest test we humans have yet faced.

Are we ready to change, in dramatic and prolonged ways, in order to offer a workable future to subsequent generations and diverse forms of life?

If we are, new technologies and new habits offer some promise. But only if we move quickly and decisively - and with a maturity we've rarely shown as a society or a species." - Carbon's New Math, by Bill McKibben, National Geographic)

Read more from this post here ...

By Fred Joiner on November 22, 2007

Last week I was sitting in a poetry workshop while on a residency at St. Mary's College of Maryland, and the professor prompts us to start writing a poem of thanks... sounds easy enough right? Well, lets just say the page is still blank. These types of writing prompts just shut me down because of the expansiveness of such an idea. How do you reduce everything you are thankful for to syllables? What algorithm do you use to query memory to try to recall all the times the fatal news story could have been you or a loved one?

I could go on... but as my family and move through this day (and season) of thanks, mourning (for our Indigenous brothers and sisters), harvest, giving and receiving. I will be collecting words and memories in an effort to create a body of work that always speaks to this spirit of gratitude.

In the poem below Yusef Komunyakaa examines thanks in the language his experiences has given him, check it out....

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. A special meal with extended family, and sometimes others. Football before and after lunch! Laughter. Great conversation and storytelling.

None of the anxiety or stress of Christmas... though I must acknowledge that I've never been responsible for the meal or much of the preparation that goes along with making the day special. And, a time of personal reflection about the quality of life and its many blessings, no matter what its troubles, challenges or worries.

Working with and among folks who make a life with only a fraction of my wealth and opportunity has taught me so much about gratitude.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Can you say thank you enough?, November 22, 2007
Thanksgiving Wisdom from a Fishing Village in Mexico, November 21, 2007
Givers' Greed, November 20, 2007
In a Blue Funk About 2008, November 19, 2007
Same truth, different perspectives, November 18, 2007
Power's fundamental mistake, November 18, 2007
Sixty-eight years is a long time, November 18, 2007
CNN Gets it Wrong Wrong Wrong... Again, November 17, 2007
Immigration and the U.S. Health Care System, November 16, 2007
Moving Forward, November 15, 2007
Health Care, Justice, Profit and Racism, November 15, 2007
When people should know better, November 15, 2007
Stereotyping Mexican immigrants - an old game, November 14, 2007
Republican Absolutism, November 13, 2007
Part II - Our Man for Our White House, November 12, 2007
Part 1 - Black Man for a White House, November 11, 2007
Veterans Day Baby, November 11, 2007
The Rise of the Creative Culture, November 11, 2007
The Angry God of My Childhood, November 11, 2007
The Monster Among Us: A President Violating Citizen Privacy, November 11, 2007
Toward a different world, a neighborhood at a time, November 11, 2007
Don't be impressed, November 10, 2007
The other, persistent American story, November 9, 2007
The "iron rule" of community development, November 9, 2007
Hunkered down with Noriega, November 8, 2007
Attn: Hollywood Excs. and Beltway Insiders: Go F#%$ Yourself, November 8, 2007
Home for One, November 8, 2007
Finding the gaps and figuring out how to fill them, November 8, 2007
The Deadliest Year Since Vietnam, November 7, 2007
Considering the circumstances of my demise, November 6, 2007
Changing the definition of "normal", November 6, 2007
Citizens should not be spied on by our own government, November 5, 2007
Homeless Walkathons in Eight Cities!, November 5, 2007
Who won the Democratic Party debate last week?, November 4, 2007
It Takes a Village?, November 4, 2007
Let's Focus on This Life, November 3, 2007
DREAM on, my friends!, November 2, 2007
Sleep, November 2, 2007
The End of America, by Naomi Wolf, November 1, 2007
The Conscience of a Liberal, by Paul Krugman, November 1, 2007
Clinton Finally Launches Student Campaign Program, November 1, 2007
Talking Past Each Other, by Kusnet, Mishel, and Teixeira, November 1, 2007
This I Believe, by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, November 1, 2007
All Together Now, by Jared Bernstein, November 1, 2007
Food...for "needy" people only, November 1, 2007
Halloween in the 'hood, November 1, 2007
Giving, by Bill Clinton, November 1, 2007

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