"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

12 May 2013

Opens Prison Doors, Sets the Captives Free

Today's Scripture was from Acts, where Paul and Silas are unjustly jailed in Philippi. We heard how they prayed, praised God in adversity, and how the ground shook, the doors opened, and the men remained for the sake of their captor. They were in prison because they had set free a girl who was captive to a evil spirit, for her freedom they became captives. They stayed behind because their captor, had they fled, would then become the captive. They let go their freedom for the sake of others, and through God's grace their freedom was granted to them, their wounds were tended, and the church in Philippi began with a slave girl and a prison guard.

We heard from a Kenyan priest about how, when they have need and are weak, the people of her village pray and depend on God to provide. Americans relish our power, we don't trust God to provide.

And of all things... I came home today to discover the news that Dorje Gurung (see post below) has been released from prison.

Having remembered Dorje at the Prayers of the People, before the altar, why should anyone be surprised?

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted;[a] he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison[b] to those who are bound;

10 May 2013

Human Rights Stuff...

Admittedly, I hate petitions. I think they're over used and kind of worthless. Partly that's cynicism from years as an undergraduate baraged with every Amnesty International petition on earth. Grinnell students are, if nothing else, activists. Youthful ideals and a sense of social activism, which I admire still,even if I tend to take it in a dfferent direction, were the mark of the campus.
I hate petitions, but in this case, I'm making a huge exception. (From the Washington Post)
Qatar jails a Nepali teacher on charges of insulting Islam
Posted by Anup Kaphle on May 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm
A Nepali teacher who taught chemistry at Qatar Academy has been jailed in Doha on felony charges for insulting Islam.
Dorje Gurung, who has taught chemistry to middle and high school students in the United States, Britain and Australia, appeared in a Doha court on Thursday. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison, according to Doha News.
Gurung was fired from Qatar Academy after arguments with students on April 22 and 23. Although he was set to leave the country, he was summoned by the police and has been jailed since last Wednesday, according to The Himalayan Times.
Gurung has been accused of comparing all Muslims to terrorists. But two of his friends shared Gurung’s version with Doha News:
On Monday, April 22, Gurung said he had a sit-down chat with three 12-year-old boys who were making fun of him. Among other things, the seventh graders poked fun at his appearance, calling him “Jackie Chan,” a famous Chinese actor.
On Tuesday, April 23, the mocking again began in earnest while Gurung was in line for lunch. At first, he said the teasing was light-hearted, but then one student put his hand on Gurung’s shoulder and a finger in his nose. At this point, Gurung grew agitated and said remarks to the effect of, how would you like to be stereotyped i.e. called a terrorist?
Gurung has no legal representation, but the Nepali embassy is seeking permission from the Kathmandu government to meet with Gurung, Doha News reports. Without a lawyer, Gurung’s friends fear he would not get a fair trial. The court would rely on the complaints from Qatar Academy’s students, they said.

Find the rest here.

Dorje Gurung was one of those activist and idealist students. He lived across the hall from me (and down a few doors). He was a student advisor for our dorm. He was the first person I ever met who didn't actually know when his birthday was, who came from a place I'd barely heard of, and who looked very different from me, but who welcomed me into his living space, his life, and always treated me (and everyone else) with great warmth, gentlenes, and kindness.
I'm thankful that the Washington Post saw fit to publish this, even though Dorje is not an American citizen, not a Christian, and not someone that most of us in this country would take the time to stand up for.
So while I'm not a fan of petitions these days, I'm posting this one for you all. Please consider signing it.
Please pray for Dorje.
Thanks folks.

01 May 2013

40 by 40....

Okay, so I'm turning forty in January. Yup. Don't wanna hear about it. But I'm mostly not freaked out about it. So I'm planning my fabulous birthday present to myself. Because January is a stinky time to have a birthday. I want to go to warmer climes for a big birthday bash... like Australia. But my kids will be in school season and really that's just not feasible. Maybe for fifty. Bleh. So here's part of the birthday present that you, the gentle reader, can give... Everyone knows the work of Compassion International for child sponsorship. They let you connect with kids in countries where western "wealth" consists of under FORTY (There's that number again) dollars a month to let a kid eat and learn and grow and live. And they bring the Gospel. So its all good stuff. I grew a little disenchanted with World Vision some years back and picked up a sponsor-child in Peru through Compassion. She's adorable, truly. She looks like a little smart alek in her picture, so she's perfect for me. I get to write to her some, which is cool since I only have sons. And I have friends in Peru, so that makes it cooler still. So here's the challenge. I would like to see forty new kids sponsored BECAUSE OF THIS BLOG in the (just under forty... see there's that number again) weeks until I turn forty! So here's what you do... Trot your little self over to Compassion International and pick out your very own little buddy to sponsor. Write him or her a letter. And then post a response to this blog with the country your child is from, no identifying information, just the country. Previously sponsored kids don't count. Yes, sponsorship is a long-term commitment... I ask for big stuff for my birthday. Go for it!