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Showing posts from 2010

Back from the war 4 hours ago

“Back from the war 4 hours ago.” December 30, 2010 “Would you like to help end the wars with one click?” I ask. “What? I just got back from the war 4 hours ago.” Thus responded a man in fatigues on the street by our house. “What do you think of the war?” I ask. “I think it is stupid, they should be spending that money for the homeless here. It is a big mistake. What a waste. I am a Doctor. Great, I will take one those papers and write my representatives.” If you would like to write you representative see this link: Such was one of my many exchanges on one of my daily exercise walks to Lake Michigan from our apartment here in Chicago. Here I am on the pier by the lake. I did 27 presentations in a month-long speaking trip in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania; here are some glimpses into them. Dr. Yanez, a Spanish Professor at Manchester College where I gave 8 talks. He planned to give me 15 minutes of h

Lottery tax on poor

Lottery tax on poor Thirty-one million dollars are spent on lottery tickets each year in the city of York, PA. Most of the low income people of York County live in the city. And so it seems quite clear that this turns out to be a tax on the poor that is used to pay for balancing the state budget and for many social services like education. I would guess that the same is the case for casinos. The poor see this as a way to gamble to get themselves out of the hole of poverty they are in. And thus they often become addicted to gambling as do others. This often ends in many broken families and divorces. I imagine this is the case in most states. There is even a new casino opening soon here Joliet, Illinois. Until now I have been completely unaware of this injustice. I would guess many of you have also been unaware of this connection. However another aspect of this is that Indian tribes have been depending on casinos to live on. I would think, though

Help make peace with one click

Help End the Wars with One Click! Simply go to , enter zipcode at the “Find out” button, click on “one click” above the pictures, click “send message” at the bottom. Just takes a minute. Write them weekly. 2011 U.S. military spending is $2.1 million dollars a minute. Of every dollar in taxes, 57% is for military, 1% is for diplomacy and development, 6% is for health care, 4% is for education, and 11% is for poverty. This is based on President Obama’s 2011 federal budget. Reference; Tell your government representatives to stop wasting our tax dollars for war and destruction which does not create peace and security. Instead it creates enemies, terrorists, recession, joblessness, broken families, and suicides. Tell them to spend it on constructive things like schools, health care, and employee people to built roads and bridges etc. D

Revenge or Forgiveness

Revenge or Forgiveness Dear Friends Revenge or Forgiveness May 19,2010 “If a man came walking down the street outside my business here and was about to beat me up or kill me, and I had a gun, I'd shoot him. As a human, that's natural and I couldn't do anything else. What would you do?” a good friend challenged me. I don't know what I'd do for sure. But I hope I'd respond in a nonviolent way. I would hope I would just start to pray to Jesus. For me, it is important to keep up my regular quiet time of praying and reading the Bible. Let me read from Zachariah 8:12-13 from The Message: "You've gotten a reputation as a bad-news people, you people of Judah and Israel , but I'm coming to save you. From now on, you're the good-news people. Don't be afraid. Keep a firm grip on what I'm doing.&quo
Dear Friends, Are you antimilitary? 7/22/10 “Are you antimilitary?” Ask a cornerstone attendee. David answered, Well if the military does things that are what Jesus taught like help others, I am surely not against that, But if they do things that are opposed to Jesus’ teaching, I want to call them to account just like any one else. Are you anti-American? David reply, “I am an American, how could I be anti-American, how could I be against myself. “These questions led into a very good half hour conversation. One of many good talks we had in our five days at Cornerstone Festival. There 275 people signed up for our email addresses. We have over 2000 on our email list. Here we are at our booth on left is Rod Orr, my long time companion and helper at Cornerstone, David Fleig who had the above conversation and yours truly. As always it was a very energizing time as we sense the Lord raising up ever more interest in peacemaking as people are getting weary of war. He

"They killed my son three months ago."

6-11-10 "They killed my son three months ago." Dear Friends, "They killed my son three months ago." Thus remarked an older sister in the Mennonite Brethren (MB) church here in Choco. Another shared, "They have been disappearing motorcycle taxi drivers a lot over the years, one just disappeared two weeks ago, And as usual the police never do any real investigation to find who did it." It is hard to know how to respond to such heavy words. I just said, "Thank you for sharing, I understand the situation better than I ever have before." "The police (supposedly the law here) enter what are well known as paramilitary's homes all the time, so we have to be very careful what we talk about and with whom. We never know who is associated with which group--guerrilla or paramilitary--both which are outside the law. We are so grateful for the MB church, for we are safe here to share. As a matter of fact, when Protestants have been ki

"They removed the top of my head"

Hello Friends, "When I was 13, I was hit by a car and had brain damage. I was in a coma for a week and told I would probably not live, be in a wheel chair, and never be right mentally. They took off the top of my head, stored it in my belly till the swelling went down, than put it back on. I feel it is a miracle that today I am pretty normal. I pray a lot, lead worship in church, play a flute I made of pvc pipe, and am a leader in my youth group." Thus shared Jefferson, an 18-year-old in the Mennonite Brethren church of the pastors I am staying with in Cali, Colombia. "I prayed last night from 1am-5am for our country. Because of the youth, drugs, and armed groups, the churches have decided to have some praying 24/7 and that was my part," said pastor Irianeth Barrera. I was awed and humbled. Here is Irianth with her 90-year-old parents, and two other relatives in the front yard full of flowers and a beautiful view of a mountain dotted with small farms. Years

Subway Peace Sharing

This year I began sharing on a subway platform. I give out 20 - 30 pieces of literature an hour. I encourage people to pray and let their government representatives know their concerns about war. I tell them how we’ve reduced suffering in Colombia by reducing U.S. military aid. With youth, I share important questions to think about before they enlist in the military. I plan to continue this sharing when I’m home in Chicago.

Strenghting the Peace Movement

Weak Peace Movement 4/2/10 “The peace movement in this country is very weak. People are being killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Colombia. We Christians are saying very little,” shared Art Gish when he spoke here at Reba Place Mennonite church. And so, I am writing asking you to make it stronger by letting your government representatives know your concern. And here is how you can do it with just two or three minutes of your time. Try to do it every week. With one click of the computer, you can let all your government representatives know that you disagree with pouring our tax dollars into war or any other concern. This funding is not bringing peace and security but ruining the lives of soldiers and civilians on all sides. To speak out, just go to the Friends Committee on National Legislation Web site: and click on “Action Center.” You can than compose your own letter or use their suggested wording and send it to your Senators, Congressperson, and President Obama with
Jim Fitz’s Faith Journey 2-9-10 I grew up on a produce farm in PA, part of a Church of the Brethren where 90% were farmers. I experienced a lot of good community there and this is one of the reasons I have been in living in community for 27 years at Plow Creek. My parents passed on when I was 13 and the care I received from relatives was also a very good community experience. I was the only one of six brothers to finish HS and college. I went on voter registration drives in the 60’s in the south and protested against the Vietnam War. 1966-69 I spent in Bolivia as a volunteer on a community development team of the church - half North American, half Bolivian, working mainly in agriculture. That really put Latin America on my map; my heart is always half there. In Bolivia, I struggled with whether to burn my draft card, but decided not to because if I did that I would have had to leave Bolivia. I went through two to three years of agnosticism searching for God. In 1970 I spen

Subway Peace Sharing ; Rolland & Bonnie Smith

Dear Friends, “I think you are crazy. All the war makers want is oil. You are wasting your time. You don’t have a chance to bring peace in the world.” Thus responded John after he had listened to my sharing about CPT peacemaking in the Jackson subway station here in Chicago. I answered, “I had a fear when I started peacemaking that I would become hopeless and burnt out. But surprisingly I have more hope than I ever have. And these last seven years have been the richest of my life.” I went on to share, “You can be a peacemaker just by being kind and nice to people, especially ones that aren’t nice to you, and it will make you happy.” John answered, “Guess you’re right there.” John went on to say, “I am an agnostic.” I responded, “I was an agnostic for a number of years back in the early 70’s. Then one time, when visiting a pastor friend, I shared that I just could not say with integrity that I believed all that stuff about God. He said to me “Well, don’t try to fool God - you can

Another view of Haiti

Racism, misinformation and militarization have hurt Haiti relief effort By Derrick O'Keefe | January 20, 2010 * Print * Write to editor * Support rabble * Corrections * Everyone should check out and share the essential coverage Democracy Now! is providing of the disaster in Haiti. Amy Goodman and others from DN! are reporting from Port-au-Prince. Yesterday, DN! reported that 'Misinformation and Racism Have Frozen Recovery Effort at General Hospital in Port-au-Prince.' This from an interview with Dr. Evan Lyon from Partners In Health (PIH): "This question of security and the rumors of security and the racism behind the idea of security has been our major block to getting aid in. The US military has promised us for several days to bring in—to bring in machinery, but they’ve been listening to this idea that things are insecure, and so we don’t have supplies. I’m living here in the neighborhood with a friend. I’m staying wi

Putting disciplined quiet time into your life’s routine

“Putting disciplined quiet time into your life’s routine” January I, 2010 Dear friends, Here are some suggestions for putting disciplined quiet time into your life’s routine. I wish I had these when I started. 1. Commit yourself to a goal you think you can fairly easily meet. Too many times we set the bar too high and fail to achieve it and then feel guilty, saying “I will never be able to be disciplined,” or “This just doesn’t fit who I am.” And then we give up trying. 2. Choose something that is meaningful to you - read the psalms, a prayer book, another book, some type of meditation, or a combination of things. To begin with, it is best for this to be fairly simple. 3. Be creative. I have heard of people having a regular, disciplined quiet time as they drive or travel on public transportation. I know of one woman who scheduled three hours once a week, sending her small children off on a “date night” with Daddy. Ask God to lead you. 4. Try to keep the same routine for your qu