Compassion is the New Black.

compassion

This around the web has made my heart happy!

Where the wild things play! What do you think? I’d sign the waiver and send my kids in.

The Head Nurse at Emory University talks about why bringing Ebola patients to the United States, benefits not threatens…

BookCover-3DI’ve been following the work of Eugene Cho for quite some time. He’s a pastor, writer, and founder of One Day’s Wages. His first book is releasing September 1, Overrated. It will challenge us to DO JUSTICE and not just love the IDEA of making a difference. His premise is that sometimes we are the one’s that need changing. Take his 5-day challenge here. 

 

Our Amy girl is prepping for her big book launch this September too. Here she gives us ten ideas for drawing our families into service.

Amy also just introduced me to She Reads Truth. Check it out. They are studying the book of Hebrews this month.

orangeRestorative justice. I read Orange is the New Black on vacation. I haven’t seen the show, but I read the memoir by Piper Kerman, incarcerated ten years after transporting drugs a single time as a young woman. I LOVED the book. She accepted her punishment, and saw the prison system and the women in it with compassion, many incarcerated women are mothers, and non-violent drug offenders. A deeper look into their lives shows how poverty influenced their choices. I applaud how she took something devastating and turned it into an opportunity to make a difference.

 

She encourages the public to look at the justice system as a place for these women to find restoration and receive what they need to have a new life when freed. Check these out when you get a chance: Angel Tree (supporting kids with incarcerated parents), Woman and Prison written by the woman there, Book through Bars, Thousand Kites, Pen Prison Writing. Want to learn more about restorative justice, The Office Social Justice has great resources.

Who has kids hanging around? Check out this great paper slingshot from Leslie at Pink Stripey Socks.

Also… if you window shop on a website… later the $140 Born leather boots show up in your sidebar, every minute of everyday. I say that is not compassion.

What have you witnessed/read/done lately that was compassion? What’s your take on any of these articles? (Want to share with a guest post? I love your voice!) 

 

have deep compassion for the people.

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I have been reading a collection of Mother Teresa’s teachings. Where there is love there is God. 

 

The Christian community can be divided about participation in Halloween. I was encouraged moving through the rainy streets last Thursday with Captain America, Lucy of Narnia, and Leah the black cat. To me it was community, people extending love and children receiving the gift.

Every year there are under the breath grumblings, of teenagers, hooded and un-costumed, filling backpacks and pillowcases with candy. It happened where I grew up and it happens where I live now.

I say in every way, in every opportunity extend love.

That to me, is every time there is something that is perceived to be ‘unfair’, including assistance of every kind.

 

This week households will feel the first effects of budget cuts to the food assistance program SNAP. Most of these households include children, seniors, single parents, and those with disabilities. Over 1/2 of those that use SNAP have jobs, but can’t make ends meet because of minimum wage {Center for Budget and Policy Priorities}.

Non-profits and churches will find it difficult to fill such an enormous gap. People will find themselves in a vulnerable space of hunger.  Try taking the SNAP challenge through Feeding America.

Thinking about the issue in abstract it is easy to perceive ‘unfair’. Put yourself in the proximity of those that are vulnerable and everything changes; stand in the Feeding America line in your church parking lot, hold up a grocery store line trying to use your dwindling SNAP benefits, choose between a meal for yourself or your child, hand your child a cup of watered down milk to stretch what is left.

Instead of saying ten words say one ~ Mother Teresa

compassion

I love your voice and your thoughts. 

God’s Heart for the World

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[Image courtesy of Africa /FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

 

A Guest Post from Jodi J. Jodi shares her heart and experiences from her time serving in South Africa. 

Africa.

What does the word conjure up in your mind when you hear it?   Hot sunny days with cool starry nights?   Exotic safari?  Wide open plains where the elephants roam among the baobabs with the giraffe?  A terrific destination for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation? Hunting big game?  Bargaining over open market intricate wooden carvings and then showing off the much prized souvenirs on the flight home?

Perhaps the word connotes more negative than positive thoughts?  Tribal warfare?  Apartheid?  Violent crime?  Hopelessness and high unemployment contributing to substance abuse?  Staggering rape statistics?  HIV/AIDS?  Child sexual abuse? Witch doctors?

My perceptions were shifting with each passing year for the decade I called the southernmost country on the continent, South Africa, ‘home’.    Yes, it is a place of beauty and a place of violence.   A place of extreme wealth and a place of dire poverty. A land of contrasts.  A land of crisis.

My place was in the communities.   27 of them.   Devastated neighborhoods where little girls grow up to sell.   Flowers?  No. Clothes?  Hardly.  Food?  They wish.   Grow up to sell whatever they are told to sell.   Sometimes it’s illegal drugs; often it’s their bodies.   But how can this be?

The stage has been set.   Poverty.  Abuse of power.  Rampant childhood sexual abuse.   Desperation to survive.   High unemployment.   Common knowledge that there is one sure way of getting cash quickly.

Add to these the words often spoken ” Child, you must listen (meaning ‘obey’) when the adult tells you to do something”, without  clarifying for the child to which adults they should submit, the child is left to believe all adults are good decision-makers, wise, kind and of course has no ill intention toward children.

In the midst of much chaos and hardship, enough to cause a mature grown-up to be tempted to retreat, the child of South Africa is asked to grow up and become a community-minded member of society.

And God is transforming lives.   Women who were once standing on the street corners later seen standing in the waters of baptism.   Women who were once being called every label under the sun are now being addressed “my sister in God’s family.”

 

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[Image courtesy of Africa /FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Five years ago at this time of year, I had a memorable Good Friday in South Africa.   Several of the women involved in prostitution realized their brokenness as a person who has failed to love God above all else.   Once these abused ladies saw the reality of their wrong-doing is actually sin against the One Who created them, they asked God for forgiveness because God’s Son Jesus already paid for our wrong-doing when He gave His blood on the cross in our place (for what we deserve).  Then we journey on together as each of us seeks to live a life of gratitude to the Lord for the remainder of our days on earth and then continuing into eternity.

Patricia invited me to accompany her in the process of obtaining her life-sustaining medication because she contracted HIV somewhere along the way.  It could be from her unfaithful husband, or the rapist as she journeyed to the big city in search of employment to support her family, or from the days of finding no real job so doing what she never wanted to do to get money for food and rent in her new location.   We traveled together to her seven am appointment at the city hospital for HIV positive people.  Many, many people were already there waiting for the doctors to arrive.  A little bit after eight am, the receptionist came out to the waiting room where there were no open seats and announced “The doctor has called in and will not be coming today.  Maybe the local doctor will still come, but we do not know when or IF he will come today.   So you must each decide if you will stay to wait and see, or if you will go home.”

Two doctors were at the entire hospital, and many patients had traveled far to get to the doctor.   Most of these patients walk to get where they want to go (or take a taxi if they can obtain funds for taxi fare).  Most of them have children, who need child care arranged for days like this one, when they travel to the city.  Finally, the local “doctor” arrived and went one by one down the benches in the waiting room asking each patient to describe why they are there (in front of all the other patients!).   Then the nurse came out of the one observation room and announced “I have been working with HIV patients for 17 years and I need to tell all of you that you must drink 2 liters of water each day to flush the virus right out of your system!”   I was cringing for most of the morning from my spot on the soiled cement floor as I watched and listened.   Then I went to the restroom which was a “walk-through” arrangement which was shared by men and women with open “stalls” with not only open viewing from above eye level, but also a small swinging “door” which does not close and no toilet paper (actually not even a dispenser!).   There was no soap, no towel and very little hygiene.

As I sat there on the floor looking at the patients lined up on the benches, I realized it is Easter week and my friend and I may very well be the only ones in this group of people who have hope in our hearts.   Hearing the coughing, seeing some faces that look like skeletons with skin, and thinking about the reality that each of these persons has more than likely been told they have a disease that will, unless the Lord intervenes, shorten their earthly lives, touched me deeply.  We were ushered into the counselor’s room so that my friend and I could hear about the pills she will be required to take every day for the rest of her life…

What would you do if you were in my spot?   Would you have shared with the whole group in that waiting room about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection offering us new life and forgiveness through Him?  Would you have cried with them, knowing many of them did not choose to participate in at-risk behavior but still contracted the “taboo virus” that everyone keeps hush-hush as long as possible?   Would you have silently prayed?  Would you have sung a song about life’s trials but still having hope?   Jesus always knows what the best course of action is, may our lives truly reflect His heart for the world.