Activism

On a Firm Foundation

Resources to help you raise happy and engaged kids.

Shaped by God: Twelve Essentials for Nurturing Faith in Children, Youth, and Adults, edited by Robert J. Keeley. A dozen authors tell how to foster faith formation at different ages, spanning topics including story, worship, intergenerational community, and developmental disabilities. Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2010

Formational Children’s Ministry: Shaping Children Using Story, Ritual, and Relationship, by Ivy Beckwith. This slim volume, written from an emerging church perspective, offers strategies for parents and ministers to enlist children’s imaginations for the “hope and magnificent love of God’s kingdom.” Baker Books, 2010

Parenting for Peace and Justice: Ten Years Later, by James and Kathleen McGinnis. This classic volume argues that nonviolent, nonmaterialistic kids don’t just happen; they are nurtured by hands-on family participation in helping others. Out of print, but available used. Orbis Books, 1990

MennoMedia, publisher for the U.S. and Canadian Mennonite churches, produces materials including picture books, young adult fiction, and biographies infused with Mennonite themes such as peacemaking, God’s presence in trouble, and creation care. www.mpn.net

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Women, Storytelling, and Activism Merge at MAKERS

This week I came across a dynamic outlet for new forms of storytelling. MAKERS is a documentary project where dozens of short reflections and dreams are gathered to promote the ways a diverse collection of women are transforming the planet into a more holistic and habitable place. While most of these stories are non-fictional, rooted in a place that may not extend too far beyond their origins, the opportunity to zoom in on an impassioned way of living, thinking, and acting, is an encouragement for all people to continue acting out the worlds we desire. These many narratives of change and engagement craft a large and resounding story of the power of women.



President Obama to Young Evangelicals: 'God’s Hand is Moving through His People'

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama greets visitors at the basketball court during the 134th annual Easter Egg Roll. /BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

In a video address Tuesday, President Obama told hundreds of young evangelical Christian leaders gathered at the Q Conference in Washington, D.C., that they had a partner in the White House in their humanitarian and social justice efforts.

Revolution 2.0: Fulfilling Egypt's Democratic Promise

A peaceful demonstration floods Tahrir Square last Friday. Image courtesy of Kar
A peaceful demonstration floods Tahrir Square last Friday. Image courtesy of Karen Jacob.

The huge throng filled the entire Square and was reminiscent of the historic mass mobilizations in February that brought down the Mubarak dictatorship. The rally was announced as a ‘million man march’ and was backed of a broad cross section of Egyptian activist groups, from liberal secularists to conservative Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood did not support the march, although many of its youth members joined the crowd. The rally had a positive and hopeful spirit, in sharp contrast to the earlier violent clashes, which we witnessed on November 20.

The atmosphere in the Square on Friday was almost festive. We saw families with children, vendors selling food and drinks, face-painting on children (and thanks to a group of laughing teenagers, painted hands) and everywhere we saw the red, white, and black stripes of the Egyptian flag. It was a diverse crowd, young and old, women and men, middle class and the very poor. We were welcomed and greeted warmly by many.

The crowd was friendly but determined in its commitment to fulfill the promise of the revolution. There were no speeches, but constant chanting rose from groups throughout the Square, all with a similar message: Military rule must end.

The Unlikely Voice of a Generation: Dorli Rainey is "Maude" to the Occupy Movement's "Harold"

Rainey is quite a woman. Reared in Nazi-era Germany, she is well known around her adopted city of Seattle for her years of social justice activism. According to the Post-Intelligencer, Rainey even ran for mayor briefly in 2009, and was on her way to attend a city transportation department meeting when, as she was changing buses, she heard a swarm of helicopters over head, figured there was an Occupy demonstration near by and went to investigate.

Whether you agree with the ideology of the Occupy movement or not, Rainey is an inspiration. In an interview last week with Keith Olbermann, the octogenarian activist said that she was energized by the pepper spraying incident and went on to give a shout out to the late Roman Catholic nun, Jackie Hudson (also a life-long peace activist who was arrested several times for protesting at nuclear arms sites), for inspiring her to keep fighting the good fight, even in the winter years of her life.

Rainey recalled Hudson's words of inspiration: "Whatever you do, take one more step out of your comfort zone."

Must-Read du Jour: "Nuns Who Won't Stop Nudging"

Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.
Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.

All of my life, religious sisters have had a special place in my heart and imagination.

I love nuns. LOVE them.

So a story in today's New York Times caught my eye (and my heart) immediately when I saw the headline: "Sisters of St. Francis, Quiet Shareholder Activists" and then the even-better headline on the story's web page at NYT.com: "Nuns Who Won't Stop Nudging."

Obama's Delay in Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline is a Victory for God's Earth

President’s Obama’s delay in approving the Keystone XL Pipeline is a victory for the movement to stop it, for God’s earth, for the possibility of reversing climate change, and for saving the integrity of this administration. 

A “No” to pipeline approval wasn’t really politically likely, with the likelihood of attacks on Obama by the Republicans and the labor movement of sacrificing jobs during an election year — even though the pipeline offers temporary and bad jobs.

The environmental movement is part of the Democratic President’s base, but so is labor and they are both more numerous and more effectively organized to help in presidential races.

So this delay is a victory for the possible future of a clean energy economy, which would produce many more and better jobs, while making a cleaner and more sustainable economy possible. 

Light in the darkness – an interview with Daniel Walker, author of "God in a Brothel"

God in a Brothel
God in a Brothel

You need to read God in a Brothel because:

  • 30 million people are enslaved around the world,
  • It’s a $32 billion industry per year,
  • 2 million children are enslaved in the sex trafficking industry,
  • 100,000 of these children are living right here, in the United States.

The sex trafficking industry would not exist without the demand for commercial sex that flourishes worldwide.

The church played a central role in the Civil Rights and anti-apartheid movements. Now the church has the power -- and the responsibility -- to fight human trafficking with all of its rich resources.

Join a Circle of Protection on Nov. 16: Standing For and With the Poor

The New York City Human Circle will be replicated throughout across the nation, when faith leaders host Human Circles as members of the Sojourners National Mobilizing Circle, which is bringing together faith and community leaders to organize faith-rooted actions in their communities.

The purpose of these circles is not only to lobby for the poor but also with them.

Loaves and Fishes: Occupy Wall Street and Feeding the Two-Thousand

Whenever we harvest, prepare, and eat food in the context of community, we reenact that wondrous moment on the shores of the Sea of Galilee when Jesus took a few fish and two loves of bread and managed to feed 5,000.

But we can’t forget the whole story — Jesus fed everybody, surely even some folks who despised his message. After all, they were all God’s children, and they were hungry too. I can’t help but think that as they ingested the food, they took in his love too, and it changed them.

Still today, food is a great equalizer and bridge-builder. Who isn’t at least momentarily transformed by a perfect heirloom tomato or a slice of homemade pie?

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