Mary’s Song

Mary and Jesus. Image courtesy Milena Moiola/shutterstock.com

Mary and Jesus. Image courtesy Milena Moiola/shutterstock.com

Mary, the mother of Jesus, sings at Christmas. It's not your typical carol. Hers is a song of thanks and praise, but Mary's sweet soprano voice is deceiving. 

Her canticle, The Magnficat, is recorded in the Gospel According to Luke. The text is assigned to be read in the churches Sunday.

Mary sings about politics and economics, the dangers of unchecked power and the foolishness of false pride, and what it means for persons and nations to eschew the common good. 

Mary sings of the outstretched arm of a Holy God who is effecting a great reversal in the world: the proud are scattered, the mighty brought low, the lowly raised up, the rich sent away empty and the hungry filled. 

Mary sings the world forward, toward a global community of justice and compassion. 

A first thought? How uncharacteristic of an expectant mother, this song! A second thought? Perhaps not so unusual. 

Selling Sodas: A Cure for Human Bondage

A man holds an XS Energy Drink, which the author was selling, in Ukraine. Photo by David Vanderveen

Intending it as a compliment, a friend described my work in in Kiev last weekend as selling sodas in Ukraine. 

Hes right. I was in the embattled city to represent a company I helped co-found and our Southern California energy drink brand in meetings with more than 10,000 Ukrainian independent business owners. 

It was as simple as that and also so much more. 

Like Bono, I believe free enterprise is a cure for all sorts of poverty  economic, political, and spiritual.

U2's Joshua Tree: 25 Years In God's Country

U2 album photo from The Joshua Tree by Anton Corbijn

U2 album photo from The Joshua Tree by Anton Corbijn with the Joshua tree in the background.

Desert sky
Dream beneath the desert sky
The rivers run, but soon run dry
We need new dreams tonight

~ from "In God's Country" by U2

On March 9, 1987, U2 released The Joshua Tree, its fifth studio album and one that would catapult the Irish rock quartet from popularity to international superstardom.

Twenty-five years later, today The Joshua Tree is one of the most bestselling albums in history — with more than 25 million copies sold — and is considered to be among the best rock albums of all time.

Its spiritual and socio-political heft has, for me at least, only grown more powerful over the years. As I listened to it again today, the soul-shaking music and lyrics sounded even fresher in our current nervous times than they did to my teenage ears in the twilight of the Reagan era.

It's Finally Over -- and It Was Wrong

Finally, as President Obama has announced, this American war will soon be over, with most of the 44,000 American troops still in Iraq coming home in time to be with their families for Christmas.

The initial feelings that rushed over me after hearing the White House announcement were of deep relief. But then they turned to deep sadness over the terrible cost of a war that was, from the beginning, wrong; intellectually, politically, strategically and, above all, morally wrong.

The War in Iraq was fundamentally a war of choice, and it was the wrong choice.

#OccupyWallStreet: "The First Time I Slept on the Street Was Seven Years Ago..."

tim at occupy sleepingFor whatever stereotype you might have in your mind about who the so-called Occupiers might be, there are some people who fit it, and whole lot more who don't.

I traveled from Washington, D.C., to Wall Street late Wednesday because I believe it's often easier to find God on the streets than in a sanctuary.

We serve a God who shows up for those in need, and for those who stand with them.

Praying for Peace and Looking for Jesus at #OccupyWallStreet

The new movement called Occupy Wall Street now has spread across the country, from the very seats of our political and financial power and our largest cities, to suburbs and small towns. In some communities small groups of a few dozen have formed and in some cities thousands have gathered.

In each instance, no matter the size, people's frustrations, hurt and feelings of being betrayed by our nation's politicians and economic leaders are clear and they want to be heard.

We will likely see images and hear things that will offend us and some that will inspire.

We'll hear demands that we agree with and some that we don't.

And that's OK.