Children of God: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Volume 3, Number 3 // Summer 2011
28 LEARNING THE DREAM GOD HAS OUR CHILDREN, OUR SOULS FOR US !"#$%&'(!"#$%&'( 8$(+!36+0#'"%%" !"#$%&'(%$)%*'+,)%#-*%&.+/0*)(%+(%$'1,%2.'2%3*#4#2)% MXVWLFHKHDOWKHZRUOGDQGUHÁHFWWKHUHLJQRI*RG"µ ´,DPDFXWHO\DZDUHWKDWWKHUHVSRQVLELOLW\IRURXU FKLOGUHQ·VHGXFDWLRQUHVWVVROHO\RQXVµ 8 FAMILY VALUES 30 OUR NEIGHBORHOOD CLASSROOM )$**$+,!-./'$"0 F&(95+!G'+07*$0 ´7KHWURXEOLQJVRFLDOHTXDWLRQLVWKDWWKHPRUHZH ´:HDUHOHWWLQJWKHLGHDRIDVFKRROEXLOGLQJIDOO LQVLVWRQDIRFXVRQRXUIDPLOLHVWKHOHVVZHKRQRU DZD\DQGYLHZLQJRXUQHLJKERUKRRGDVWKHFODVV6 ERQGVRIRXWVLGHRXUIDPLO\µ URRPµ 11 IDOLATRY: TEN CONFESSIONS 32 SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL, STILL 1+'2&%!3%+'4567 >""!>""!H$(9"' ´:D\V,KDYHLGROL]HGP\IDPLO\DQGQHJOHFWHGD ´7RUXQKHDGORQJLQWRWKHFODVVV\VWHPLQWKLV% ZRUOGLQQHHGµ FRXQWU\\RXQHHGWRUDLVHNLGVµ 12 ORDINARY PARENTING 35 PLEASE DON’T SAY THAT! 8+'+!1+'$"!8+9' >+?"!=+'?"' !"#$%&'(%'%3'*)(2%/+5)%*'0+&'//1%$.)(%2.)*)%+,%,#% ´'RQ·WSDWPHRQWKHEDFNEHFDXVHP\IULHQG·VOLIH PXFKRUGLQDU\VWXIIWRJHWGRQH"µ VWLQNVµ 15 DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY 38 COLORBLINDNESS EQUALS SILENCE :;!<+,+69" I'$(%"0!C&@"'%&0 ´,WJLYHV*RGGHHSSOHDVXUHWRVHHXVJHWFDXJKWXS ´:HSUHWHQGQRWWRQRWLFHUDFLDOGLIIHUHQFHVDQG LQWKHPRPHQWDQGGDQFHDQGVLQJDQGODXJKµ +('05)*2)(2/1%,-(+&'2)%2#%#-*%&.+/0*)(%2.'2%*'&+'/% 16 JUSTICE, COMPASSION, & TOTAL GLIIHUHQFHVDUHDWDERRVXEMHFWµ INSANITY 40 LEARNING TO SWIM =+'"0!+0#!>+?"!3@+0(&0 /"%(B!1&'2+0 ´,W·VHDV\WRVHQGWKHPHVVDJHWKDWRXUXOWLPDWHGH6 VLUHIRURXUFKLOGUHQLVFRPSOLDQFHDQGFRQIRUPLW\µ ´,WLVERWKDIHDUIXODQGDMR\RXVWKLQJWRDOORZ\RXU6 VHOIWREHWDXJKWE\WKRVH\RXKDYHQXUWXUHGµ 18 LIVING INCARNATIONALLY 1D\KRX\*UHHQÀHOG POETRY !7)%'&+/+,.)0%+(%#-*%8'49#0+'(%,/-4%$.'2% SRVWHUFDPSDLJQVYLVLWLQJHGXFDWRUVDQGJRYHUQ6 37 ITZELA PHQWFDPSDLJQVKDGEHHQXQDEOHWRµ 1+'%$0!)$*"B 19 QUESTIONING OUR WAY TO GOD A(9*"B!C"$#",+00 DEPARTMENTS ´6FULSWXUHLVIXOORIKDXQWLQJTXHVWLRQVDQGZH·UH QRWVXSSRVHGWRVNLPSDVWWKHPµ 42 REVIEWS &RFRQVSLUDWRUVVKDUHWKHLUEHVWERRNVRQUDLVLQJNLGV 20 EXPERIMENTS IN SIMPLER LQWKLVFUD]\ZRUOG PARENTING 1+'7!D&@*"B 44 BREATHING TOGETHER: OUR WEIRD ´:KDWGR\RXZDQWIRU\RXUNLGV"µ LIFE IN COMMUNITY 9LFWRULD+RGJHVWDONVDERXWWKHJLIWDQGFKDOOHQJHRI 22 PART OF THE VILLAGE UDLVLQJNLGVLQFRPPXQLW\ =&E!='&((6&,4" ´,IDOO&KULVWLDQVZRXOGRSHQWKHLUKHDUWVHYHU\ 46 NOTES FROM SCATTERED PILGRIMS &.+/0%+(%#-*%&+21%&#-/0%.'5)%'%3/'&)%$.)*)%2.)1%'*)% 1HZVIURPRXUFRFRQVSLULQJFRPPXQLWLHV ORYHGXQFRQGLWLRQDOO\µ
26 SOUL WORDS: SPIRITUAL GLEANINGS FROM OUR CHILDREN
Our Children, Our Souls
n a world of capricious deities to be appeased and humored, Judaism offered a revolutionary departure. Here was God imaged as a parent, who loved us, chose us, and yearned for ongoing relationship with us. With Jesus, the embodied child of God come to earth, this relationship became even deeper. We have all been children, and the psalmist sings that we are each “fearfully and wonderfully made.” But the world does not always affirm that mystery. In their vulnerable bodies, children expose the fact that we do not love well. They incarnate in their fragile selves our inequitable distribution of resources or carry our emotional wounds. Yet they are also among us as bearers of hope, reminding us that life is constantly offering places of wonder, and to giving us chances to love again. In their company, we often revisit wounded, forgotten places in our hearts and feel winds of healing. They take our hands as we all grow toward God. This issue of CONSP!RE looks at our human experience through the complex relationship of mentor, parent, child—intense relationships may be our closest experiences of unconditional love, the nature of God. It is not created for parents. We all have children in our lives. For many of us, family is our primary experience of community. How can we raise our children in ways that promote justice and healing of the world? How do our families reflect the reign of God rather than the hierarchical and unjust structures of this world? Our culture promotes selfishness, mindless entertainment, and materialism. How do we instill values and a sense of the sacred? How do we nurture the spiritual life of our children—and through them nurture our own? In a world that insists that resources are scarce, where the playing field is fractured with structured and intentional inequality, children force us to confront directly this question: “Who am I willing to sacrifice so that my own live well?” In this issue, we grapple with the love of our own and the love of this world, embodied in all its children. We puzzle over the endless questions of nurturing the younger generation. We end up in that fragrant valley of grace. For ultimately, these dilemmas have no answers, only journeys. May we number our days so as to present to God, our parent, a heart of wisdom. —the editors !
Family Values F
or years now, I have listened in utter befuddlement to teachings coming out of much of the U.S. church which insist that family values are the veritable lynchpin of the entire Christian faith. Over the past two decades, a massive industry of theological resources, commercial products, educational programs, and political think tanks has emerged—all dedicated to the proposition that nothing is more important for a follower of Jesus than Mommy, Daddy, and their two-and-a-half kids taking care of each other and loving each other. Not the Sermon on the Mount, not Matthew 25, not the way of the cross, nor the new economy of Acts 2. Our Christian vocation as parents seems to be to nurture our kids wholesomely, offering them Christian alternatives (music, books, camps, schools, and media) to insulate them from the manifold evils of the world. I harbor deep suspicions of the family values 506)37.08!4B!F5*$+!D"'"EJ!(7"%69!@$%9! agenda, both politically and theologically. For one #$2$%+*!,+0$K5*+%$&0 thing, the appeal to centuries of tradition is deceptive: the modern nuclear family is an historical anomaly, forged by particular social and economic forces of the twentieth century. The vast majority of human cultures through the centuries understood family as extended and multigenerational kinship systems. The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” (popular among liberals and anathema to conservatives) is closer to the reality of most traditional human experience. By its appeal to tradition (however dubious), family values as preached by our churches is a fierce defender of the status quo. By definition, the notion draws a tight boundary around those for whom we are responsible. The troubling social equation at work is that the more we insist on a focus on our families, the less we honor bonds of social responsibility to others outside our family, including the poor and homeless, the refugee and the
immigrant. Not surprisingly, the same political constituency that upholds family values supports such policies as lower taxes, a strong military, decreased funding of public education, law and order, and smaller government — including drastic cuts in programs that provide support for vulnerable citizens. I suspect some version of this same social equation was also true in Second Temple Judaism, the period of Jesus’ life and ministry. Which is why Jesus launched a frontal assault on the rigid kinship system of his culture. His own take on family values is scandalous and subversive: “And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3:34–35). Jesus had other less–than–sanguine sayings regarding family: that we must leave behind our family for the sake of the Gospel (Mark 10:29–30); that we must hate our parents and children in order to be a disciple (Luke 14:26); that we cannot even bury our deceased father (Luke 9:59–60); that his Gospel will cause severe division within families (Luke 12:53). His teachings on welcoming little children and being like a child (Mark 10:13–16) actually upset the balance of power in family systems. This is not to suggest that Jesus completely rejects family. He stays in the home of Peter’s family, healing Peter’s mother–in–law (Mark 1:29–31). He upholds the marriage covenant (Matthew 19:3–9). He uses many family images to convey God’s love (Luke 11:11–13, 15:11–32), and of course, identifies God as a loving Daddy. But I believe that, as I read the Gospels, Jesus saw the rigid ideology and culturally proscribed practices of family and kinship as obstacles to the reign of God. Family values in his culture meant clear lines of insiders and outsiders. It entailed boundaries and limits of social obligation and responsibility. It subtly #
erected hierarchies of value. It controlled and limited the flow of love. In God’s reign, all persons are God’s precious children. We are all sisters and brothers. Everyone deserves the fullness of our love, the intentionality of our concern and care. We treat everyone as family. Social or cultural systems that mediate against this vision are opposed to the reign of God, and we must, as disciples, defy them. I am afraid that much of the church, in its insistence on family values, is upholding the very social and cultural systems Jesus railed against. Family values as preached and practiced in the United States today means a boundary line between those for whom we are responsible and those for whom we are not; those worthy of our love and those not worthy. The politics of family values is alarming: in my state, family values advocates support proposed tax cuts that promise to slash education funding, especially to already poor urban systems, further condemning kids from economically divested neighborhoods to a bleak future. But don’t worry: with our tax savings we can send our kids to expensive private Christian schools. Maybe that’s a way of loving our own kids, but is it the reign of God? I say all this as someone with a family that on the face of it looks much like the typical America nuclear family. In all practicality, I love my own two children more than I love other children. My partner and I put a significant amount of energy and resources toward their nurture and their future. The work of raising them has caused us to be a bit more entangled in some aspects of worldliness than we are comfortable with. But I am challenged by the new vision of family that is ultimately Jesus’ call to us: Are we raising our children in ways that reflect our commitment to discipleship and to the reign of God? We have worked so that our basic values and commitments, including our choice of social location in an economically vulnerable community, are not sacrificed for the sake of our children. We are hoping our children see our life as embedded in a larger community and network of disciples and people following Jesus. We are trying to help our children navigate family lifestyle choices that create significant tensions with their peers. We carefully dialogue with them about the world’s struggles and pains, about our responses and responsibilities. I have been particularly gratified by ways my children have participated in the community of men and women who have experienced homelessness where I have worked for most of the past twenty years. But clearly these struggles will be ongoing. My partner and I want to accept the vocation of parent and live it out faithfully and carefully. But we want to make ours a family with the fluid boundaries of God’s reign. We pray that the particular love bred in our home with these children given to us is connected to Jesus’ love of the outcast, the wounded, the vulnerable; and that whatever security and stability we can foster for our young charges can be part of building shalom for all God’s children. And as I revel in the gift of my children’s love for me as their daddy, I want to teach them about our Daddy who loves and cherishes us all—the Daddy who is the source of the truest family values. $%
Idolatry: Ten Confessions
nowing I write about engaging a world in need, a friend commented, “I think we make our families an idol and neglect the world. Write on that.” “Yeah, why don’t you write that book!” I balked. Questioning the choices people make in and for their families, especially around privilege, money, and other resources—is really touchy business. It’s offend-most-of-the-Christian-parents-I-know business. But I couldn’t shake her unsettling challenge. How had I idolized my family to the neglect of a world in need? 1. I’ve spent too many dollars on special-occasion clothes for an assortment of family functions to make my children look right in the eyes of others. 2. I’ve lived in affluent, homogenous neighborhoods that naturally separate me from those in need. 3. I’ve failed to invite strangers to share holidays with my extended family because I don’t want to upset those who are convinced that holidays are “family time.” 4. I’ve let youth sports rule my Saturdays. 5. A creative soul and visual artist, I have spent hundreds of dollars photographing, videotaping, and memorializing my family in frames and albums and iron-on T-shirts and mugs. 6. I’ve bought my children pricey backpacks, when their old ones worked perfectly well, simply because it was September. 7. I meant to be committed to troubled public schools, but accidentally got picked out of a lottery for a great public charter school and great public magnet school. Shall I sacrifice my child’s education for my loosely held ideals? 8. When I’m on vacation, I justify all sorts of nutty spending choices. 9. I’ve allowed entertainment—like TV and DVDs and kiddie websites and video games—to supplant both shared quality time and any sense of family mission in the world. We all need the down time, right? 10. Every member of my family has whined, on some lazy afternoon, “There’s nothing to do-oo-oo...” Translation: “We simply can’t think of one more way to pleasure our nuclear family of five.” I understand that most parents I know are not ready to label the cutie clothes, the new backpacks, or the smiley photo mugs idolatrous. Most days, I’m not either. Nonetheless, the overall trajectory of this list haunts me. This particular vision for the ideal family life was generated not by Jesus, but by Norman Rockwell, the iconic U.S. painter and illustrator whose sentimental paintings tug at our heartstrings, appealing to the anxious place inside each of us that longs for stability, safety, nostalgia, and comfort. But the Jesus we follow breathes “Peace,” while asking us to lay down our lives and lose them. And that command, friends, is one scary family meeting! $$
Ordinary Parenting by Lara Marie Lahr
hat does it mean to raise children “radically?” Many people read The Irresistible Revolution, and then make a pilgrimage to The Simple Way, seeking a more radical (rooted) way to live. I often disappoint them by sharing that the life we have chosen is much more ordinary than radical. I usually find myself doing the same things any ordinary mom does. I cook. I clean. I make lunches for my girls. I give baths. I take them to their dance rehearsals, theatre practices, and sewing classes. I go to work. I try to be a good wife. I take my dog on daily runs. At the end of the day I always wish there were more time. How can a parent live radically when there is so much ordinary stuff to get done in twenty-four hours?
Yet our family life has been indelibly shaped by our journey, a key turn of which happened fifteen years ago. When Chris and I served at Mother
I usually find myself doing the same things any ordinary mom does. Teresa’s Home for the Dying in Calcutta, a young boy died of tuberculosis in Chris’s arms. Later, we learned that nobody knew his name or where he came from. That reality transformed us. We sat in a dirty hostel on Sutter Street pondering the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man passed Lazarus every day as he lay at his front gate and never even knew his name. When they both died, it was Lazarus, not the rich $&
man, who had a name. Chris and I wanted to live in such a way that we would recognize and know those at our front gate. We embraced the fact that being a follower of Christ was more than just loving God. It was also about loving those at our door, our neighbors. Within the year, we returned to Kentucky, where we formed a group called the Lazarus Society—and I had my firstborn. Many of us had young children, and we got together regularly to encourage one another in whatever it was that we were doing. Some of us visited the elderly, some worked with homeless youth, others led Bible studies in jails or shelters. We had diverse gatherings that included folks from the shelters, the elderly, and people from our schools or work. While it was
hard having little in common with each other, it was also beautiful that a group of us who would not normally have hung out together actually learned to love one another and appreciate our differences. When we moved to Philadelphia, we immediately looked for a church. The first one we visited would have been fun to attend. Everyone was white, young, and similar to us. It would have been easy to connect with people. But we truly longed for some-
their lives rarely intersect. In contrast, we’ve created a more multiplex life, where all spheres of our life overlap. We have never separated family time from work, ministry, or church. We share our neighborhood with other church members, and the kids help us distribute food in the church neighborhood. They accompany Chris to Timeteo, the flag-
“We have never separated family time from work, ministry, or church.” thing different. We found what we were looking for in Iglesia del Barrio, an old, dilapidated church located in one of the city’s poor neighborhoods, where drug money and welfare provide most of the income, and Puerto Ricans are the predominant ethnic group. For the past eleven years, we have stayed committed to this community through the good and very difficult times that any small, struggling church faces. It would have been easy to go back to the other church where we found so much commonality. Our three daughters may have had more opportunities to have great Sunday school classes, educational activities, or more friends their age. But I am truly glad that we have stayed. Iglesia del Barrio has become our family. In seminary, Chris was introduced to the terms multiplex and simplex. Many Christians live simplex lives, where they go to work, come home, then go to church, but these areas of
football practices where he mentors dozens of young boys. One of the young couples that Chris worked with in his job decided to move next door, go to our church, and work with the football team. When we invited a single mom who had been struggling with loneliness and depression to dinner recently, $'
my kids saw the tears roll down her face as she shared that she had never experienced a family dinner like that before. Perhaps our most meaningful and
If I’ve learned anything over the past twelve years, it’s that there is no perfect way to parent. radical (rooting) practice as a family is our mornings. Chris and I wake early. He heads to his office, and I to my chair with my cup of coffee, my Bible and my journal. After forty-five minutes, he joins me so we have a few moments together before the kids’ alarm clocks go off. If we did not have this time for ourselves and for each other, I do not
that made us laugh that day and something that made us sad or happy. Even if dinner is rushed, one of the girls will remind us to do examine. It gives us all a chance to feel heard, to be known, and to honor each other with attention and care. I see them extending this care to the world. This past Christmas, they chose not to get gifts from us so that we could help a family whose mom had just passed away. If I’ve learned anything over the past twelve years, it’s that there is no perfect way to parent. Our life is not for everyone. Similarly, while I often envy moms who have tons of kids, live on a
know how we could give to our kids or to anyone else. When our kids come down, we read from a children’s devotional Bible and share prayer requests. We take turns praying, and our four-year-old drags out her prayers as long as possible to avoid having to go upstairs to get dressed! At dinner, we practice “examine” time, a term used by ancient monks. We go around the table sharing one thing $(
farm, or homeschool, I realize that I am not wired that way. I love our life here in Philly. I feel so blessed to see my kids having friends from different cultures, ethnicities, classes, and religions. They know homeless folks, drug addicts, and dealers; they know doctors, lawyers, and people who live in mansions. I pray my kids keep an open, non-judgmental, and loving heart toward everyone at their front gate.
Separate and Unequal, Still Dee Dee Risher
o run head into the class system in this country, you need to raise kids. From birth, every parenting choice is affected by race, class, and political paradigm. Certainly individual preference has a role, but choices are subtly driven by economics, income, access to healthcare, and social network. Here in the urban metropolitan Northeast, we found little middle ground. Daycares were either overwhelmingly white and middle-class and expensive—or nonwhite and poor-working class and subsidized. We could go to our city’s (few, mobbed) public pools with dilapidated bathrooms, where I’d be one of only a handful of parents, and we’d be the only whites. Or we could spend $700 to join a private swim club with beautiful lawns, chairs, and a middle-class social network we could fit into seamlessly. Summer day camps were either mostly white, with icebreakers that included the socially revealing question: “How many countries have you visited?” or they were Latino and African-American, and you’d be lucky to find three kids who’d been outside city limits. Schools were either private and geared toward producing our next set of elitist leaders—or public and underfunded. Education choices were a complex mix of “options:” public, charter, parochial (read: cheaper, Catholic private schools), and private schools (more expensive prep and Quaker schools). But many parents have only one real “option:” their public neighborhood school, or a lucky lottery draw for a public charter school. I sought experiences that would not infect my children with a sense of privilege, entitlement, or racial superiority; and which would expose them to diversity as a way of developing their own sensibility for justice. I also didn’t want my children to become a reason to move from the life we had chosen. Good parenting, I figured, should not depend on reinforcing paradigms of injustice. Or the suburbs. My son and I watched a documentary about Mississippi in the civil rights movement. In it, Mabel Carter, sharecropper and mother of thirteen, recounts her family’s experience integrating her county’s white schools as the camera panned over school yearbook pages—always the one somber black face in a sea of smiling white faces. I watched my son’s eyes for some glimmer of recognition as he took in those yearbook spreads. The reality is that forty years later, not much has changed in his experience of school. For seven years, the yearbook of his publicly-funded urban charter school has shown forty-five smiling faces in his grade. His is the only fairskinned, blue-eyed face. The massive desertion of the urban public school systems by white, middle-
class residents is startling. Only a handful from my fairly wide circle of white friends is committed to trying to use public schools—and many of those have nonwhite, biracial, or African American children. The others have quietly chosen other options. Most did not observe a single public classroom before making their decision. We seem much more comfortable raising our middle-class, bright kids in suburban or small private (mostly white) schools and teaching them to change the world (and break down class and race barriers as adults) than entrusting them to a public system which confronts us with these barriers. I understand. I don’t wish my kids to be “the only” in their groups. I don’t know a parent who would. Yet if more of those parents chose public options, no one would be the “only.” The perceived inferiority of the system is often a myth. We’ve had committed educators and challenging classrooms. My daughter’s class works through the same workbook as fast as the private Quaker school a half-mile away—there are just a lot more pale-skinned kids over there. As education activist Johnathan Kozol points out, the South Bronx has a segregation rate of 99.8 percent. Only two-tenths of 1 percent marks the differ''
ence between legally enforced apartheid in Mississippi forty years ago, and socially enforced apartheid in New York today. Studies like the Harvard Civil Rights Project show that as court orders for desegregation have been allowed to expire, the U.S. public schools in every region are rapidly resegregating. Although minority enrollment in our public schools exceeds 40 percent nationwide, the average white student still attends a public school that is 80 percent white. Fewer blacks attend majority-white schools than in 1969. In the Midwest and Northwest, more than a quarter of black students attend schools that are nearly 100 percent non-white. Funding disparities are startling. My school district spends $9300 per child. Two miles north, the surburban school district spends $13,227 per child, and in more affluent suburban counties, that figure jumps to $14,865. Public school is deeply flawed; open to criticism from every side. Schooling issues are very complicated and change from region to region. It is much easier, if we have the resources, to withdraw to the well-funded suburbs, or to adhere to our creative alternative curriculums, our small Christian schools, or our homeschool models. My father stands across the kitchen. My children have gone to bed, and he wants to talk. But when he broaches the topic, I am unprepared. He asks why I would do this to my children—send them to public schools in the city, live in my neighborhood. “Your mother and I sent you to schools with kids like you, and the best schools we could afford. Would you rather have had a life like you had—or a life like your children’s? Are you making them an ideological experiment?” I know that he is asking from love and deep fear for them. I am afraid also. I am not sure where our choices will take us. Every path has wounds, and we cannot choose which ones we will carry. But I want him to see their school—how lovely and bright the hallways, filled with teachers who really care, and kids who care about my children. I want him to see how the teenagers in our African-American church in the heart of the most depressed part of the city take care of my kids and delight in them. I want him at gatherings at our house—how finally blended and easy all the races and cultures are. I want him at the arts festival at the homeless agency where my partner works to see our daughter belt out some sultry blues song and bring down the house in smiles. I want him to see my son, at eight, have the courage to stand up at a rally of four hundred and tell all the kids there to fight for civil rights like Martin Luther King did. I think we are okay. This, I whisper to myself in reassurance, has its own richness, because this is sustainable. It doesn’t depend on having a lot of money. It is not rooted in elitist and stratified social choices. It isn’t built on segregation into the “people like us” and the “different people.” This is the path to a world that is less frightening to me; less afraid of the future. Isn’t all parenting an experiment? Should we not try some experiments that embody our truest hopes? '(
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Alterna (LaGrange, GA): Nineteen months after being arrested in front of his wife and son, Pedro Perez Guzman has been granted a green card! Last November, eight people, including three from Alterna, vigiled and were arrested for civil disobedience in protest of Pedro’s arrest. His story made national news and is the subject of a documentary. We commend Pedro for his perseverance. Welcome home! (www.alternacommunity.com). Anthony’s Plot (Winston-Salem, NC): This summer, we are working with our Waughtown neighbors to develop a community “school” to provide supplemental opportunities (music, soccer, and literacy courses). Pray for us as AP becomes a short-term residential option for homeless in our city (www.anthonysplot.org). Camden Community Houses (Camden, NJ): The Camden Houses are hoping for a few new members. For more info, please contact email@example.com. Chicago Catholic Worker Houses (Chicago, IL): The White Rose Catholic Worker is establishing a new farm in Monee, IL, with work, picnics, camping, games, prayer, and bonfires! We joined our fellow CW communities for the Midwest Catholic Worker Faith & Resistance retreat in Kansas City in May. Coral House Community (Lake Worth, FL): On behalf of the homeless and poor, we share food, clothes, and friendship in the park. We recently took everyone in the park to a restaurant. Approximately seventy of us ate together and enjoyed the fellowship. Patrons and staff were curious, prompting good conversation. It was an amazing experience! What a glimpse of future celebrations when the kingdom comes (www. thecoralhousecommunity.com). Dathouse (Indianapolis, IN): We are overjoyed to welcome our newest member, Ezekiel Isa Abner, born May 24th! New life is springing up in our community including the baby, guests, and gardens. We are entering a busy season of repairing homes, summer camps, and building relationships (www.dathouse.wordpress.com). DC Area Community of Communities (Washington, DC): Cornerstone Community says good-bye to Brian Gorman at the end of the summer as he joins the Quebec House. We ask for prayers as we search for a new live-in for this house for men in recovery. Congress Heights House has begun a Food Not Bombs chapter and is always D$6%5'"#!+4&?"J!M'&,!*"M%!%&!'$29%N!!.06=*:.93-!I$#(J!0"@!4+4B!O"7"!M'&,!>6+,.93-J!$QWKRQ\·V3ORW!B&502! K+'%$6$K+0%(J!+0#!"PK*&'$02!6&,,&0!?$'%5"(!+%!0RUH7KDQ7KXUVGD\V
looking for help gathering food, cooking, and serving in the park. Casa Chirilagua (casachirilagua.org) is taking fifteen kids to Passport Camp, and looking for mentors and volunteers for tutoring and kids club activities (www.dc.newmonastics.org). Dwell (Burlington, VT): We are currently transitioning our gathering space back to the heart of the Old North End. Our house band, “The Likeness,” (www.facebook. com/queencitylights), is playing festivals and shows across New England, preparing to release their first EP. Email Harold@thelikeness.org for information (www.dwellchurch. com). We are happy to welcome babies Ollie and Addy! First United Presbyterian Church of Crafton Heights (Pittsburgh, PA): We are in the midst our annual summer day camp in which sixty neighborhood youth gather for two meals a day, field trips, bible stories, crafts, and relational time with mentors. It’s a six-week effort to provide positive options and authentic friendship. New this year is an “extended day” which allows kids to stay with us until dinnertime (www.chup.org). Georgetown College (Georgetown, KY): In May, we sent a team to Temuco, Chile to work alongside students at Colegio Bautista, our partner school. We found ourselves alongside marchers of all ages in Pucon, protesting the construction of hydroelectric dams which would destroy delicate ecosystems and some small towns. More Than Thursdays (Oakland, CA): We recently committed to a set of common virtues (contemplative, communal, generosity, service/peacemaking, and creativity). This is a stretching experience for a group of longtime friends. We are excited about an upcoming wedding within our community (thursdaymatters.blogspot.com). Mulberry House (Springfield, OH): Our community garden is producing, and we continue our weekly Bible study. Visitors welcome! (www.mulberrycommunity.com). Nehemiah House (Springfield, MA): A tornado touched down two blocks from us, destroying buildings. But we know God is here, and we’re working with our neighbors and churches to rebuild. Our community just entered into our Working Covenant. We had a big celebration to mark our affirmation, followed by a great whiffleball game (www.nehemiah-ministries.com). New Providence Community Church (Nassau, Bahamas): Lead Pastor Christian McCabe and his wife Nicole have been called to South Africa and will serve in Hermanus, one hour south of Cape Town. Instead of creating a worship service, they hope to challenge thinking and train people to “be a service,” engaging the spiritual and practical needs of the local community. Please keep New Providence and the McCabes in your prayers (www.npcconline.org). ReIMAGINE! (San Francisco, CA): We focused on being agents of healing. We experimented with micro service, offering clothing repair, manicures, and balloon animals in a park. We cleaned and repaired a family home. We concluded our Peace Project, each seeking reconciliation with those we’ve wronged, offering forgiveness, and speaking the truth in love. We celebrate the release of Practicing the Way of Jesus, by Mark Scandrette and the launch of the Jesusdojo.com, a compendium of helpful resources (www.reimagine.org ). Relational Tithe (Oakland, CA): We have had connections with the Middle East, Japan, and Haiti. We are grateful for people who live very rooted lives locally and remember our global connections as neighbors (especially with the Middle East, Japan, and Haiti). We have immediate openings for web developers, administrators,
and social operators. If your group is reimagining their connection to one another and their resources, we would love to hear from you (www.relationaltithe.com). Rutba House/School for Conversion (Durham, NC): JaiMichael just graduated kindergarten, Naomi starts pre-K, Fay is learning to articulate feelings, Nora is running and babbling, and Noah is smiling. The adults are doing what we can to keep up (www.newmonasticism.org). Servants Vancouver (Vancouver, BC): We’re excited to be partnering with a number of other communities and organizations for an art-and-justice camping festival in Mission, BC (August 12-14). There will be speakers, workshops, musicians, and lots of art space. Check it out at www.creativeworldfestival.org (www.servantsasia.org). The Book Parlor (Spokane, WA): We want to give a shout out to Project H.O.P.E. Spokane (www.ProjectHopeSpokane.org). Their summer urban-farming program employs youth at risk of gang violence. Project H.O.P.E. is doing great things for our West Central neighborhood and we’re honored to partner with them (www. TheBookParlor.com). The GAPS Community (Downey, CA): Over seventy people attended the official release of David and Christie Melby-Gibbons’s new album. (The two are also known as “Dust Of The Saints.”) Each song on “Short Short” is under a minute. To get a copy of the CD, offer a donation of whatever amount you choose, and email firstname.lastname@example.org (www.downeymoravian.org). The Simple Way (Philadelphia, PA): We’ve added some folks to our village house and community. Welcome Janelle, Steven, Beth, Val, and Brett! We are looking forward to summer camp in the Pocono Mountains. For some of our neighborhood kids, it will be their first time outside Philly! We loved seeing friends at PAPA fest & Wild Goose! (www.thesimpleway.org).
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Published on Jul 15, 2011
Children of God looks at the gifts and challenges of the kids in our lives. Not just for parents, it’s for all of us as we nurture the young...