Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What happened last night?

We did two "sessions" with Jim Wallis for his book tour supporting "God's Politics." There were some good things mentioned, and frankly, I haven't unpacked it all to a great degree. Yes, some of it sounds hard to impliment on a "what next" kind of level. The heart of what he's speaking about is about being a wind-changer. His final commission was from a friend that had past away, after being a huge leader in their DC area. "We are the ones we're waiting for."

Why have I failed to unpack it all yet? Because of "Gimme Shelter" with Ashley Cleveland, Kenny Greenberg and Buddy Miller. And Emmylou Harris joining us on "All My Tears." Geez, my soul is vibrating right now. My body hums down the street. Last night was a great gift to me.

Still a kid, still a music fan, still being moved, still being changed.

Monday, May 23, 2005

At the Belcourt Theatre...

we are going to share the stage with Buddy Miller and the wonderful soul of Ashley Cleveland. It's an event put together by my friend Dave. Jim Wallis, author of a few books that have expanded my worldview in ways I can't even articulate yet, is coming to speak in light of his new book "God's Politics - How the Right gets it wrong, and the Left doesn't get it."

He started the conversation with me a couple of years ago, with a book he wrote called,"Who Speaks for God?" His books talk about issues of Jesus and politics. Does Jesus really side with people that are pro-war, pro-rich, etc.? Didn't God mention his new worship in scripture as taking care of the widows and orphans?

Well, the Jesus I get from scripture seems quite a bit more radical than red state/blue state stuff. It's just not as simple as Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher want to make it. It seems to require an integration of principles from both parties, and some things that don't exist either place.

We are going to do a version of "Gimme Shelter" with Ashley and her husband Kenny that is gonna kick some serious ass. Looking forward to it. I'll write back with a full report....

The internet is useful, part 4.

Take a few moments to breathe deeply. Ask yourself, "what do I believe about the planets, aliens, space angels, Jesus, puppets and song? How do all these things work together?" Then, watch something that attempts to make sense of that. It reeks of local cable tv brilliance. The truth is definitely "out there."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

First Draft

From a letter I'm writing for the Blood:Water Mission newsletter....first draft, blah blah....

I’ve been thinking about my life as a story. Day and night, it’s being written. I’ve got my starting characters (Mom and Dad, the Dr. at St.Joseph’s Hospital in Joliet, thank you), and periodically as life progresses, I add new ones, and the story gets more interesting. This is what makes the story worth reading over, sharing, and writing further.

One of the most fulfilling things about a story is the opportunity to introduce characters and things others don’t see, to participate in things that are so much bigger than I, to do things that lead me to feel I’m making the world a better place for someone, and to know that my children’s hearts are being molded in a way that will grow them into adults that think critically, are perceptive, feel deeply, and want to find a way to make a contribution to someone other than themselves.

Africa is a part of the story for me. This story, that I’m write everyday, coincides with many other people’s stories. Based on the well-digging operations Blood:Water has undertaken to fund, many kids are now freed from walking miles to bring water to their communities, water that probably wasn’t even safe to drink. Those kids are freed up to go to school. Clean water is keeping HIV positive Africans alive longer, as they aren’t contracting water-related illnesses, so they are in the stories of their loved ones for longer chapters.

Months ago, I couldn’t really explain these things, as I didn’t really know why Africa mattered to my story. Now I am learning that in giving of myself to this work, even in the simplest of ways, I’m affecting the stories of thousands. Talking about the AIDS pandemic, giving of prayers, time, money, and gifts are the place to start.

What inspires me further, many others are finding the same is true in their story. A high school girl from Virginia talking to local newspapers and having a benefit car wash to raise funds for well-drilling. A college student walking the Appalachian trail raising money through sponsors, or a group of high school students in Tennessee that have a prom fashion show to raise awareness and funds for digging clean wells.

Here in America, we are writing a story together that is affecting the lives of our own communities, not to mention the next generation to come. And believe this - it has implications that reach all the way into the shambled dwelling of 4 African children, orphaned by the AIDS virus. The story you write as you journey with Blood:Water is a global one. Ultimately, as a group of people that has been given so many resources, we can literally see the course of life change for people around the world as we learn how to involve ourselves and then use our gifts. What a powerful, inspiring story to be a part of. A story worth reading and sharing.