Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From Huffington Post on Greece

Until I went over and witnessed what's happening, I too had become convinced that the real issues were the ones the media were obsessively covering: the effects of a potential sovereign default on the Euro and worries about the crisis spreading to other European countries.
But here's the bigger issue: Can a truly democratic movement break the stranglehold of corrupt elites and powerful anti-democratic institutional forces that have come to characterize not just the politics of Greece, but most Western democracies, including our own? Greece is only an extreme example of an unfolding seismic social shift that is challenging democracies the world over.
Ms. Huffington looks at the issues and reminds us that more is at stake in Greece and in the Western nations than austerity.
The wealthy want tax cuts, so that more cash can flow into their coffers, so they can fund their corporate jets and lavish life-styles.
But taxation is what makes nations work well. 
Adequate revenue insures medical research, education for our children, fighting wild fires in Texas, helping folks who've lost their homes in flooding, building and maintaining our roads and water-delivery systems, and a million other things that only a nation can offer. 
Democracy is clearly at stake in Greece and throughout the Western world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

America's Love-affair with Conversion

From a recent message:

We don’t know when the disciples were converted.
The Bible says nothing about it.
Even someone as distinguished at the Apostle Paul is reticent about his “conversion” – he says almost nothing about it.

Because human beings love the spectacular.
In America, “conversion” is big business.
TV preachers and traveling evangelists.
From the tents of old and the sawdust trails, to the latest book telling us how to get close to Jesus.
Lights, camera, action.
Dwight L. Moody and Billy Sunday and Aimee Semple McPherson … Paul Crouch and TBN … and a multi- billion dollar publishing industry.
Conversion is big business in America.
Sadly, the business of conversion has only added to our spiritual confusion and religious division.

The kinds of conversion we see in the Bible are very different.
They’re quiet and slow and no one truly knows the moment.
How about Abraham and Sarah?
Or Jeremiah?
Or Jonah?
We read their stories, and there are lots of odd moments, and wonderful moments, and hard moments, but there’s no one moment, no singular moment, nothing all that splashy or profound … just the slow road of faith … a little here, and a little there, two steps forward and one step backward, and it all adds … a God who walks slowly with us, maturing us in the faith, bringing us along the way, like a fine bottle of wine!

The disciples leave their nets to follow Jesus, but do they understand him, in the fullness of God’s revelation?
Of course not!
Matthew leaves behind his ledgers to follow Jesus, but does he have a full grasp of the message, the glory, the love of God?
Not at all.
At the end of the gospel, Matthew 28, on the mountain in Galilee, the writer notes with accuracy, that some worshipped Jesus, and some doubted … and the language could also suggest that while they all worshipped, they all had some doubt in them, as well.

It takes a lifetime to grow into Christ, and then some.


The "conversion" method popularized in America with Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday and most spectacularly by Billy Graham has done enormous damage to America's spiritual psyche, adding to our confusion and intensifying religions division.

The message of conversion is a "Southern" phenomenon based upon faulty interpretations of the Bible; it's pure Americana, with little to do with the reality of God's mighty work to create a people on the face of the earth who know and love and serve the Lord as we see God's work spread out before us in the Bible.

Conversion tactics rely upon fear and the threat of eternal damnation, with lots of emotional manipulation to move people out of their seats and toward the front.

This is no way to reach anyone for God, and no wonder so much of the fundagelical church is full of angry people who are quick to condemn and slow to welcome. They've been manipulated and ripped off, and, guess what? they know it, but without the wherewithal to do anything about it, and lacking the courage (which has been whipped out of them) to challenge the authority of their tradition, the soldier on, bitter and vengeful. 

I have always had positive regard for Billy Graham, and still do, but his message has caused untold harm. His refusal to allow segregated crusades speaks to his integrity and vision, but the Southern phenomenon of conversion that he popularized and injected into the American imagination has left us with us a serious mess that will take several generations to clear from our system.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Son's Peace Corps Swaziland Project Is Validated!

And your help is needed!

To complete a Community Center for preschool children, for health-care workers and their supplies and community events. Doors, windows and water are needed. Since dollars go along way in Swaziland, your gift will make a big difference.

Monies have already been given, but work begins on the project ONLY WHEN ALL of the funds are secured. Please consider a gift to help this project get up and running. It's vital to the wellbeing of the community in which my son lives and works. He's carefully chosen the work and developed the plans. Everyone's excited to see it get underway.

Remember, this is a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation when made through the Peace Corps Website.

In the following letter from the Peace Corps, be sure to note the possibility of an employer's matching grant.

Thanks in advance for your kindness on this matter.

Tom Eggebeen
Los Angeles, CA

My email:

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 

Dear Friends of Josh,

We are excited to tell you about Josh Eggebeen’s Peace Corps Partnership Program project.  Since its inception in 1964, the Peace Corps Partnership Program has helped thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers implement community-initiated projects worldwide.  Now Josh is taking on a new Community Social Center project in Swaziland that needs your support.

This project, developed to address a pressing community need, will be implemented by both Josh and local partners.  This project will benefit the people of the community for many years to come. 

In order to begin implementation, Josh must raise $5,741.96 from friends, family and other interested donors.  Josh and the people of the community are asking for your assistance to turn this project into a reality.

The easiest way to donate is to use this link, 645-088Although, the web site is the quickest way to make a donation, you may also make a check payable to Peace Corps Partnership Program and send it to:

Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters
Peace Corps Partnership Program, OPSI 
1111 20th Street NW
Washington DC 20526

Be sure to indicate the project number, 645-088, on the check so it will be applied to the correct project. 

Also, if you’re looking for ways to make your donation go even farther, check with your employer to see if they have a matching gifts program; many companies match donations dollar for dollar. Furthermore, consider forwarding this email to anyone else who may be interested in supporting Josh.  Remember that gifts supporting this project are tax-deductible!

Please feel free to contact our office directly at 202.692.1682 or 1.800.424.8580 x2170 with any questions you might have. Your support will go a long way to aid Josh’s efforts in Swaziland.


Melissa Becchi

Keep in touch with the Peace Corps Partnership Program by signing up for our e-newsletter, Building Bridges.

Melissa Becchi, RPCV Namibia
Program Support Assistant-Peace Corps Partnership Program
Peace Corps
1111 20th St. NW, Washington DC 20526
Voice: 202-692-1682
Fax: 202-692-2171

Peace Corps 50th Anniversary 2011
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