As Christians in culture, current events, and politics, have we forsaken the Sermon on the Mount? I hope for Christians to live as Christians: not as nationalists, morality enforcers, or sheltered isolationists, but as the next generation of Christians in a globalized world who care passionately about loving every single one of their neighbors as God desires.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Remember Human Rights!

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights! Let us remember those around the world who are suffering and may we continue to encourage leaders and the United Nations to stand up for human rights!
With great power comes great responsibility...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

When Your Country Disappears

A heartbreaking plea from

Dear friends,

Imagine the sea rising around you as your country literally disappears beneath your feet, where the food you grow and the water you drink is being destroyed by salt, and your last chance is to seek refuge in other lands where climate refugees have no official status. This is not a dream, it's the fearful reality for millions of people who live on islands around the world, from the Maldives to Papua New Guinea.

That is why these small islands are planning the unprecedented step next week, ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting, of calling on the Security Council itself to address climate change as a pressing threat to international peace and security.

This is a creative move born of desperation, a challenge to global powers to end their complacency and tackle this lethal crisis with the urgency of wars. This effort could help shift the tenor of the world's debate -- from a far-off storm cloud to a life-threatening crisis here and how. But the island states' campaign will meet fierce opposition from the world’s biggest polluters, so they need our help. Sign the petition now to raise a worldwide chorus of support for this call -- our signatures will be presented to the UN by the islands' ambassadors as they introduce their resolution next week:

For the first time in human history, the North Pole can be circumnavigated -- the Arctic ice is melting more quickly than almost anyone anticipated, pushing up sea levels week by week. Now, small island nations -- where homes are, at most, mere meters above sea level -- are preparing evacuation plans to guarantee the survival of their populations. They are on the frontline, experiencing the first wave of devastating impacts from climate change which soon will threaten us all.

President Remengesau of Palau, a small island in the Pacific, recently said:

Palau has lost at least one third of its coral reefs due to climate change related weather patterns. We also lost most of our agricultural production due to drought and extreme high tides. These are not theoretical, scientific losses -- they are the losses of our resources and our livelihoods.... For island states, time is not running out. It has run out. And our path may very well be the window to your own future and the future of our planet".

Beyond the islands, countries like Bangladesh -- population, 150 million -- face losing large parts of their landmass. The experience of our planet's most vulnerable communities serves as a warning sign of the future world we can all expect: extreme weather growing in intensity, conflict over water and food supplies, coasts disappearing and hundreds of millions made refugees.

The more signatures we raise to be delivered to the UN next week, the more urgently this call will ring out to protect our common future. Sign now:

The small islands' brave campaign for survival is our campaign as well. Just as sea levels rise or fall everywhere at the same time, the choices of every person everywhere affect the future of our common home. By standing with the people at the front line of the climate crisis, we show them, and ourselves, that we recognize our fundamental shared humanity -- and the responsibilities that come with it.

With hope, Ben, Iain, Alice, Paul, Graziela, Pascal, Ricken, Brett, Milena -- the Avaaz team

PS: For a report on Avaaz's campaigning so far, see:

PPS: These are the States who are sponsoring the resolution: Fiji, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, joined by Canada and Turkey.

For a draft of the Small Islands States Resolution, please see:

For more information about those presenting the petition please visit:

For information on Tuvalu's evacuation plan and climate refugees, see:

For information about how rising sea levels will affect us all:

For more information on the rapidly-melting Arctic ice:

For more information about all of the island states:

ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.
Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns.

Some Christians doubt global warming and I think that is a very uneducated assumption. You can argue it and hate it or just hate the hype, but when real people groups and nations and families begin to be affected by rising waters, I don't think it's just a little topic to argue over in the U.S. I hope to see some U.N. policy on this.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Petition To Release Imprisoned Chinese Christian

Voice Of The Martyrs and China Aid are petitioning for Chinese Christians who were arrested before the Olympics to be released. One such person is Pastor Zhang "Bike" Mingxuan and his wife and coworker. They ask for help:

On August 6, just two days before the Olympics began, Pastor Zhang "Bike" Mingxuan was arrested, along with his wife and a coworker. In response to these arrests, The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association have launched a petition drive to free these three Christians and to let the Chinese government know that the world is aware that these Christians are being detained.

The petition letter reads:

To the Attention of: Chinese Ambassador Mr. Zhou Wenzhong

Dear Sir:
We are aware that you have detained Pastor Zhang "Bike" Mingxuan, President of the Chinese House Church Alliance, along with his wife and fellow pastor, Wu Jianghe. These three individuals were on their way to Beijing from Hebei province to pick up medicine for Pastor Bike's wife, who is ill, when Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers detained them on August 6, 2008. All three are being held at an undisclosed location. We the undersigned are very concerned about their welfare and why they are being detained as this act of arbitrary detention itself is in violation of Chinese law. We are praying for the leaders of China and formally request that you release these three Christians immediately. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

Anyone who has read the book The Heavenly Man knows, Christians in China are severely tortured in prisons and have no trials or representation. The persecuted Christians consider it an honor to suffer in such inhumane ways- ways few Americans want to recognize.

And now that the Olympics are finally over, we can talk about China in a truthful way. The Washington Post reports: Power-Sector Emissions Of China To Top U.S.

The carbon emissions of China's electric power sector will jump by about a third this year and surpass the total emissions of the U.S. electric power industry for the first time, according to a report by the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think tank....

The report highlights the challenge of curbing greenhouse gases in time to slow climate change while maintaining world economic growth. China and India have made growth their top priority to raise living standards and many international climate negotiators don't expect meaningful limits on carbon emissions from those countries until after 2020....

Paul Ting, a veteran oil analyst now specializing on China, said that China relies on coal for three-quarters of its energy consumption. "They cannot get away from coal," he said....

If all of the power plants being planned for China and the United States are built, China's power-related emissions would exceed those of the United States by 40 percent, the Center for Global Development report said.

Monday, August 25, 2008

God By Different Names?

I visited an Episcopalian church yesterday for the first time. Our interest was more in the magnificent building than in the tradition. Grace Cathedral church in San Francisco is beautiful and stunning-- certainly worth a visit from anyone.

One thing I wasn't prepared for was their mission statement: (as seen on their webpage)

Also known by different names in different traditions? Umm no. There is ONE name, the Bible is very clear about that. The church boasted in its openness so much that I think it robs God of the glory and dignity actually due His Name. Romans 3 tells us:
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (NIV)

There are no other traditions or names that bring justification and wholeness like this. What God offers is the opportunity to admit that we are pitifully lost in selfishness yet have a Savior. I don't think that is mascaraing around in different names.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Training Begins

I am beginning to attempt daily prayer. This discipline is difficult for me (and many other Christians I know!). I will be blogging about my prayer life here: