education removes fear

first off, yes, the introduction made me want to burn my passport in hopes of not being identified with the Americans she was talking about. but thankfully Elvia's humble insistence that I hear her story made me realize that I can't always be embarrassed for what our country has done, but instead need to be an ambassador for the country I am a part of (perhaps one where Jesus really is president? eh? eh?)

Sometimes I forget that education is not just this systematic lofty thing to help people read and become "college ready" whatever the hell that means anyway.... but it is the practical means of passing on generational knowledge which helps us learn from other peoples mistakes and successes. I just kept imagining how different, less scary, Elvia's life would have been if she would have had that basic education. Like- sex leads to babies and girls have periods. And then I think of the freedom that comes with choice and how it not only empowers individuals but lets them plan and save instead of living moment by moment and crisis by crisis. If you know how babies are made, you can choose not to have one until you have saved some money to fed it. Then when only some people have the education they become the power-holders and can keep everyone in the cycle of reactionary living.

This is similar to what happens in uganda as well. I think more people have the very basic education but they are frustrated trying to gasp the next step. Like- I know how I get pregnant, I know I don't want to, but I have to get married at age 15, what choice do I have. This is why I think we need to educate people from BOTH the powerless and the powerful. it's just tricky because I have no desire to educate the powerful. hmm...


An intro to a New Friend...

So the first few sections:
Ok. So we've been introduced to both the character/person and history of Elvia and that of recent Honduras...
What do we think of Elvia's "forward" and story thus far (especially how she was brought-up, ignorant of her own sexuality and lacking in access to education)?
Where else do we see stories such as hers? (all over the world maybe?...)
From our perspective Elvia's early story is the same story of hundreds of thousands of poor hondurans and central american campesinas and campesinos.
How do we feel about this situation/story? And how should we feel?

And what are your thoughts about the "Introduction"? (doesn't it just make you love the US' past hand in foreign relations even more?!)

We're looking forward to your thoughts.
~ Paige & Ty


Er?... third way?!

I've been contemplating how I'd like to engage an entire book in a single entry (I should have been more with it in the first place--oops!)... well, what-ev.
*note: prepare for a jumble of meandering thoughts :)
First off, I love how J for Prez pints Jesus as a radically charged politician, as opposed to Sunday morning pastel colored christianized ancient comic strip hero. From his names to his actions, he was an extremest advocate who didn't base his success on his ability to effectively network and ass kiss.
...but modern church for the most part has been anti-political and yet okay with letting the "politicians" do their thing (almost as if they're an off-breed of humanity, designed for the political)... yet the think that was so beautiful about Jesus' engagement of politics was simply that he was living activism and reform, not writing books and speeches filled with fluff to get people to vote for him... [and here i go. i could carry on for hours]...
Next thought:
There was a spot right in the middle of the book that really gripped my mind and heart. Let me find it.... here it is, pg. 204:
"Too often we learn history through the lens of redemptive violence, memorizing dates of wars and battles. We've ordered history by the reigns of kings and presidents. But rarely do we remember how nonviolent movements have marked history... And we define news as acts of violence rather than the hidden acts of love that keep hope alive."
This truly connects with me, especially now, as I'm in the process of taking steps to participate in education reform... and in that seeking to turn the way we look at history on its head, while also requesting that we look more carefully at the way we engage the present state of our world and our communities (in a more mindful, less violence focused manner).
This too connects to what Shane talks about earlier, when he shares Walter Wink's philosophy of the "third way". The third way is the arduous, exhausting rout that takes more time and effort--that's why we don't often see it. And when we do, it's usually not thrilling. I've been thinking kinda this is what I'm looking to capture in education (I have no idea how that would work on a big scale--maybe it can't... Jesus' way usually isn't big scale-esk... and if it claims to be, for example our "Christian Nation", then it is usually falsified label, faulty advertising to boost sales).
K. The last section I read through reasonably quick (I'm going to spend some more time with it again)... but I do appreciate the methods and ideas for integration and application, especially the concept of creating "NEW" holidays, language, and heros among other things...

peace friends/advocates/shabby-politicians on behalf of Jesus
p.s. again thanks J & H.


some thoughts on enemy love...

Hi friends,
I was reading through the second section of J4P and stumbled across the "Security Plan that Will Never Win an Election" - -

There's just so much in this book to discuss, so it's a little difficult to pinpoint a certain topic...but this one always catches my attention.
Jesus did not teach with the intention of letting people walk all over us, but His preaching did focus on "enemy love" with more of an imagination.

I struggle with this a great deal...when I imagine someone coming to hurt the ones that I love...how do I react? And how do I react as Jesus taught?

What are your thoughts on the 'turn the other cheek' mentality?
Would Jesus' politics really fly in our government today? Or is it more a personal choice? Or...is it only a personal choice?

It goes on to talk about Jesus' war on terror. The "pulling up the weeds with the wheat" can be more harmful than helpful.

How are we doing that today?
It is obvious with our (United States) bombs falling on our innocent brothers and sisters...but what about where you guys are living? How are we to love the weeds with the wheat in each of our society's forms of injustice?

(I found these around page 92 and on...)

Hope you all are well... :)



words escaping me

Hi friends,
Well, Susan, I must admit that I have been right here, trying to think of something intelligible to say. So in an effort to turn Susan's post into a rolling discussion, I think I'm just going to babble incoherently and hope my dear friends understand me. Why do I have friends who are such good writers? I guess that's a discussion for another time...
In reading this section, I am coming from the perspective of someone who has been quite disillusioned with the Bible, God, humanity, and life in general, and yet who remains an idealist who feels like I need to find a way to fix all that is wrong in the world. I think in reading this, I realize that I am essentially the problem that Claiborne is talking about. Human nature is not content to trust, or believe- we are all control freaks. I love how Claiborne tells the story of the Old Testament, because he talks about all these terrible events that God sanctioned that are so freaking hard to stomach, because they remind us of modern genocide. The Tower of Babel seems so counter-world cooperation- to scatter people and create all these language barriers. How much easier would understanding each other be if we could just speak the same language, and we didn't have race dividing us? (Although think of the lost beauty... another subject) But that's the point- WE would be able to achieve global peace and worldwide reconciliation. It would be the most dangerous thing, but as we see with the whole "kings are a bad idea" phenomenon- when we are control, we in general do a shitty job.
What I'm trying to say is that I see this chapter as saying, here is this story of God repeatedly showing mercy and grace and compassion for the people of Israel- this is God rescuing the poor, and the broken. This is God doing things that are counter-human, and that sometimes don't make sense. But when we take control, we screw up, and not just in minor ways. God is trying to teach us to live lives that are set apart, not because it's cool to be a radical social justice hippie Christian, but because the way God does it is over there, rather than here.
That's all. I was hoping like five more people would write before I did so I could sneak in unnoticed, but then I realized that I work 25 hours a week & spend the other half of my week sitting in my pajamas, working out & watching the View. :(
P.S. (Even though he won't save us- Go Obama!!!)


just a question...

where the hell is everyone?! i know that most of you...okay ALL of you, are busy being in love and doing millions of other things, but I am eagerly awaiting your thoughts on this book. that's all. love you all.


my thoughts

First of all, this is a beautiful book, thank you for choosing it. Secondly, For some reason the cafe we go to doesn't let us open anything "google,"
so g-mail and blogspot are a rarity for us. Janna has been e-mailing us some of the posts, but sorry in advance for our lateness.

The attaining of heavenly beauties is definitely a theme I saw as well. The ironic thing with this though it that I feel God created us with a purpose to try and attain these things, to strive for that which is Ultimate Good. This longing, however, can never be fully satisfied on earth, so frustrated, we modify our longing to be instead for the attaining of "more." Once this becomes our measure of success, we begin believing that God is using the same system, blessing those She loves with "more" (and just to make it easier we only count the "more" we can see- humility, kindness, patience, etc lose value).

One way I believe we can be set apart is in letting go the notion that we are always sound in judgment and ruling. Being "right" I think is just another heavenly beauty, something to pursue but in what way and at what cost? American Christians seem to cling to their rightness. I cling to my rightness. On page 39 I love the way Claiborne talks about many things "all being a little right." I need more of that gentleness, along with discernment to know when that leniency doesn't work. (Is there a time when something is not even a little right? Can't murder be seen as a poor replica of God's OT justice?)

When prosperity is our only gospel, then it all our systems act like the ones described on page 43, "dehumanized, no longer [having] life or love or beauty in them, and no longer [doing] anything humans were creaked to do, like love and be loved." It becomes about the ends, not the means.

Anyway those are some of my thoughts...