Tag Archives: faith

Stories of Creative Nonviolence

2592509250_f5f4b0eae1 Most people I talk to about pacifism and non-violence lack any knowledge of true stories of creative non-violence. We’ve seen literally hundreds of movies and tv shows of redemptive violence (good guy kills bad guy, everyone lives happily ever after) by the time we are adults, but we’ve seen little if any examples of nonviolence. We know it took a World War to stop the holocaust, but we know little more then the name Gandhi when it comes to nation-wide nonviolent movements.

I’m going to begin collecting and telling true stories of nonviolence that I have read or come across online, and share them here. The idea is to create a central collection of evidence that nonviolence “works.” Stories and examples that you can point others to so they are at least exposed to this idea.

I’ve talked about doing this in the past, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. This weekend though, while celebrating a wedding and gathering with old college friends, the pacifism conversation came up yet again, and I found that many of the guys I’d had these same conversations with years ago still didn’t really know of many examples of creative nonviolence. So, I want to put them together here.

I’ll post stories for the next couple weeks on Thursdays. I’ll probably start by reposting one’s I’ve gathered before, and then start posting new things. The stories will be tagged Stories of Nonviolence.

This post here is basically a call for submissions and tips on stories you’ve heard, either personally or read online somewhere. If you want to share your own story comment below or send me a post. Otherwise, if you’ve heard a story and can send me the link or a brief description so I can search for the story, I’ll be happy to give you credit.

Let the story telling begin.

Economy Straight Talk

So, the economy stuff has been on my mind lately. Both the big picture of the effect on our nation, and the local picture as it affects our community, neighbors, family, friends, and us. Often though, what I think about is the church.

I realize I often cast pretty radical and extreme visions for what I think the church and/or ‘Christians’ lives should look like. I’ll be the first to claim hypocrisy in my inability to carry it out at times as well. But, I can’t help but look at the current state of our country and feel like we as a faith community have again missed an extreme opportunity to be a radical “set apart” community that the world couldn’t help but recognize.  Instead, our churches are facing the same economic slump as everyone else. For all our “Christian” financial planning and preaching, we, on a whole, have been living beyond our means and far beyond our basic needs, just like everyone else.

I also find it ironic when Christians choose to speak about on the political front. I received no emails of concern or outrage when the government threw together a 1 Trillion dollar bailout in October, but now I’m getting emails left and right. I see two possibilities: 1) after seeing the first ones dollars disappear in thin air we are a bit more skeptical, or 2) it has something to do with the political party of the current administration. Who knows, I just find it ironic when we choose to jump into the political ring. On that related note, I was extremely convicted when I came across my xanga post after the 2004 election (sorry, you’ll have to dig up the link yourself), let’s just say I was as shocked as some of my conservative friends in ’08.

Seeing and hearing about people around me lossing jobs, others being let go, foreclosures and the rest, I can’t help but wonder what is the churches response. Or, what is my response? We are pretty secure in our job and home position, so how do I live out my faith and convictions in these times? What role do I play? I think I have the same tendency as everyone to start stockpiling for safety and thinking only about me and mine. But, I think our faith challenges us to live differently, but I’m not sure myself what that looks like.

Any Ideas?

Two Things I Do That Are Right For Me

Here was the writing prompt:

what’s right for some, is not right for all. I’d love to hear your thoughtful analysis of

2 things you do in your life because of your relationship with jesus that you think is right for all


2 things you do in your life because of your relationship with Jesus that is right for you, but not right for all.

I’m starting with the second question because it’s easier to address, I hope I understood the prompt right. These are two things that I do in life that are Right for me, but not necessarily right for all. This is not an attempt to make anyone feel guilt for not choosing the same for themselves.

1) I don’t drink alcohol at all. Besides a sip or two from my parents glass before I entered high school (and maybe at a communion were they tricked me with real wine), I’ve never consumed alcohol. There are a couple reason I can recall for this, none of them really being all that noble. I went to an Fellowship of Christian Atheletes soccer camp the summer before my freshman year of high school and I signed a pledge that I would be alcohol and drug free. That pledge, and the fact that I wasn’t cool enough for anyone to want to pressure me into drinking, kept me from ever even really having the temptation to drink before I turned 21.  The reasons I’ve continued not to drink are multiple, and again, none is some ‘holier-than-thou’ vow of soberness. I’ve never really had any desire to drink alcohol (nor coffee for that matter). Not ever having had alcohol, I don’t know how susceptible I would be to over-indulging or alcoholism, and I don’t want to find out. I already have enough vices, I’d hate to add one. Alcohol is expensive and is not a need (which means I’d have to use my fun money, and I don’t want to). Finally, people I know and care about have been hurt because of the misuse of alcohol, and so it is a small sacrifice on my part to simply avoid it all together. Maybe when I’m 50 I’ll try a glass of wine, but for now, this is right for me.

2) We own a house (actually the bank owns it). In a number of ways I’m an advocate of not being in debt, I think there is a Biblical precedent for it, I believe it’s a viable option for many people in the USA (instead we choose credit driven consumption), and I think it will makes us happier freer people. However, my wife and I chose to buy a house last year and with the mortgage and our student loans will be in debt for about ten years. I don’t think buying a house is for everyone. Even if you can buy a house with cash it will tie you down and will continue to require your time and energy. I don’t think going into debt for a house or school is for everyone. Many people can and will work their way through school, and have no chains to Aunt Sallie when they graduate. However, I believe it was the best financial stewardship decision for my wife and I to buy a house last November, and though there were things I did not expect, I’m still satisfied with our decision. Going into debt to ‘own’ a house is not for everyone, but I believe it was right for us.

I think I’ll get around to the other question eventually, about what is “is right for all”, but I’ll leave this part open for discussion first.

(photo credit)

We Created God in Our Own Image

I was listening to Saturday’s with Mark and Tony and Tony Campolo mentioned the quote, which you’ve maybe heard before:

“God created us in his image, and we decided to return the favor.” -George Bernard Shaw

He was acknowledging that we tend to have churches divided by race, socio-economic status, political views, etc. because we each make God in our image. This made me think about another thing someone once said to me when we were talking about politics and I was saying that the best way to vote is to vote find out how the poor vote and he said:

“Well, the poor are selfish too.”

He was acknowledging that, just like everyone else, the poor wouldn’t do what was in the best interest of everybody, but rather what was in their own best interest. So, the poor have created a god who cares about the poor, the rich have a god who cares about the rich, the liberals have a god who cares about liberals, and so on. But this is what struck me, while God does care about all humankind, if you look at Scripture, God does seem to care about a certain group quite a bit. So, as flawed humans, that create god’s that selfishly serve our own interest, I think the god that most accurately (though still flawed) aligns with the God I encounter in Scripture is the god of the poor. God cares about the poor and oppressed. I think we usually give a knowing nod to the mention that there are literally thousands of verses in the Bible that talk about the poor, but then somehow we spend maybe a few hours a year actually reflecting on those verses or discussing their implications for our lives. This is a long way of saying that I think I’m going to focus (as I probably already have) my Sunday post to be devotional thoughts, specifically though, reflecting on the wealth of verses in the Bible that talk about the poor.

An Open Letter to The Wells Church in Minneapolis

Dear Greg (or Gary, sorry I can’t remember) and others,

I met you briefly at Peavey Park in South Minneapolis last Wednesday. I was hanging out with some punk-rocker anarchist folk, eating dinner with homeless and having an all-around good time. You came by and politely offered us flyers to an event for youth you were having in October. You were kind and cordial and I appreciated listening to the conversation between some church-goers and anarchist, two groups I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with that tend to have some nearly polar opposite values.

The flyer you handed out was impressive. Glossy on both sides and well designed, it advertised a big event for middle school kids and their parents. If the gloss wasn’t enough, the flyer was even more enticing by offering free hoodie sweatshirts for every kid that came and $6 for every parent that brought their kid. Free money and clothes, my initial thought was it’s brilliant marketing. Credit card companies offer free stuff all the time to get people signed up, and you were giving the exact types of things the people your targeting actually want. I was impressed because you had said you surveyed people in the neighborhood and the largest response you had was that people wanted something safe and fun for their children. Your are meeting a need of the community. Meeting the communities needs with brilliant marketing and large events, I have to say I was impressed. But, then I started getting uncomfortable.

I wasn’t quite sure what this discomfort was, until you left and the folks I was hanging with started talking. They were on to your scheme, they were skeptical of your ‘evangelism’ and ‘preaching’ tactics, and they hadn’t even been to your event, just had seen many others like them. That’s when it occurred to me, you weren’t sharing the ‘gospel,’ rather you were treating Jesus like a commodity, you were in a business venture.

Someone once said, “What you win them with is what you win them to.” The means (your party) are inextricably tied up in the ends (believing in Jesus) that you hope to accomplish. Your desire to have this event and ‘win people to Jesus’ will more then likely win them to a Jesus other then the Jesus I see plainly in the bible. If someone chooses to sign-up at your event, they are more then likely going to be choosing to follow the ‘jesus’ you’ve displayed to them. They’ll choose to follow the Jesus of free hoodies and free money. Jesus, from what I can tell, never enticed people to follow him. It wasn’t ‘come follow me, and I’ll give you a free pair of sandals.’

I worry that those you entice to following ‘Jesus’ at your event, will start off with such a skewed picture of what this ‘Jesus’ character is about that they will never really be able to see clearly the real Jesus we meet in the gospels. I worry that when the free money and clothes stops coming, they’ll get tired of following this ‘Jesus.’ They’ll stop following your Jesus, which I don’t think is the same as the real Jesus we encounter in Scripture; and my fear is that if they stop following that Jesus, like so many, they’ll stop looking for or considering Jesus all together.

Please consider your event, your marketing, and your Bible, I think you’ll find there is some tension there that needs to be reconciled. I think you all are doing a great thing, listening to the community, trying to meet the needs of the community, pointing to Jesus as a source of hope and truth; I think your hearts are in the right place, which is why I felt it was worth the time to encourage you to think hard about how your are bringing people to the faith. May God be with you and may your efforts be blessed.

in Christ,

Ariah Fine


While talking about the computer software, there are two types, application and system software. Different software tools are being used in development of application software. Now days, large number of companies is working to develop mobile phone software and anti virus software, as demand for these software are very high in market. A large variety of software data is available on different sites as well.

Back and Better Than… Well, Just Back

Alright folks, today officially marks the end to my blogging break here at Trying to Follow. I wish I had some grand insights to share with you about my experience, but I don’t really. Mainly, we’ve gone through some major transitions lately (baby, moving, job and home searching) and so I figured a break from this would help me to sort of focus on those other things. I did make some cool post banners though.

I had a plan to continue to write daily, in hopes that I could begin to build an honest collection of thoughts on faith. I figured this would be a good thing to do for a couple reasons. One, writing down your beliefs is good practice in general. Two, with a new child and the responsibility of parenting, I figured collecting my thoughts would better prepare me for intentionally instilling my values in my children. Three, not that I have all the answers, but having been on a faith journey for a significant part of my current life, my thoughts might prove useful to others on their journey. I say all that, and yet I failed miserably at doing that consistent writing and only really got started about a week ago. I’m still plugging along, but I needed to start writing here again as an outlet for all the other thoughts banging around in my mind.

I mentioned trying to change the format of this blog, but I’m not sure that I will yet. At the moment, this is simply my personal blog that serves as an outlet for me to write and dialog with others about a wide range of topics. I do think this will become a bit more ‘faith’ oriented in nature as I’m really making an effort to flesh out what I believe in a way that makes sense to others. That isn’t to say that you need to be on the same ‘faith’ journey as me, I would really appreciate the dialog from others who don’t share my faith beliefs. I think what I might do, especially when I cover topics that might not seem related to my belief system, I’ll try and add a little blurb that makes explicit what Bible verses or values compel me to care about this issue or that. If I start slacking on doing that, just ask me and I’ll respond.

Asides: Just a quick note of some additions. Be sure to check out my ‘Who I Read‘ page. It’s a long list but I subscribe to every one of those websites and I highly recommend most of them. If your not on there let me know and I’ll add you. Also, I’m going to take down Comment Love for a little while. I’ll keep you updated on our donations, but I don’t think it was really helping facilitate further conversation. Also, I’m adding my YouTube channel to the sidebar and I’ll be posting more ‘asides’ exclusively at the website, not on the feed. Alright, peace.

Ethical Living: Trendy Guy vs. Hippie Gal

trendy guyA Day in the Life of Trendy Guy

  • B-fast: Double Mocha from Starbucks
  • Transportation: Ford Excursion
  • Day Job: Corporate Elite for Walmart
  • Home: High rise Condo in recently gentrified neighborhood.
  • Dinner: Fancy Steakhouse
  • Nightlife: Regularly volunteers at a soup kitchen.
  • Summer: Missions trip in the 3rd world.

hippie galA Day in the life of Hippie Gal

  • B-fast: Free-range eggs from local CSA
  • Transportation: Bike and Public Transit
  • Day Job: Barista for local fair trade coffee shop
  • Home: Commune in the city.
  • Dinner: Potluck with Community Garden.
  • Nightlife: Late night concerts, anti-corporate protest, and other leisure activities.
  • Summer: Road Trips, Music Festivals, and wild parties.

What I would suggest is, a healthy combination of the two. Basically, I would suggest that everything from Breakfast to Summers be made from a thoughtful and ethical standpoint. Below is a brief combination that I think might be ethical (certainly subject to further discussion).

A Day in the life of a World Changer

  • Breakfast: Dumpstered and purchased from a local CSA.
  • Transportation: Biking, Public Transit, Carpooling, and driving less.
  • Day Job: A job that does not contradict your ethics and values.
  • Home: Modest living, shared if possible.
  • Dinner: Community Garden shared with friends and neighbors.
  • Nightlife: Community movie nights, craft nights, scrabble, soup kitchen, playing with the neighborhood kids.
  • Summer: Ethical summer ventures.

Now, it’s time for discussion. Does your life line up with Trendy Guy, Hippie Gal or World Changer? If so were and if not, what areas do you need to change? Or, what areas do you think I’m way off base on. Let the discussion begin.

Getting Ready For Baby and Birth is Biblical

So, you might all think this is sort of backwards, but I’m officially on paternity leave, though the baby hasn’t come yet. Mindy, on the other hand, is still working and plans to right up until the baby is born. Before you laugh, I’ve got good reason to be off, caring for Mindy and preparing for the baby to come. I know there is a ton to do, I just am not that sure what some of it is. So, I’m making a list, and I’m gonna try and do as much of the list as I can before the baby arrives. But, seeing as I’ve never done this before I could use some help knowing what things I need to do that I might not have thought about yet. Any ideas?

Alright, the other thing I thought I’d ramble about, since today is Sunday and I try to be a little more spiritual in nature on Sundays, is about Birth. I’ve appreciated the conversation that struck up when I mentioned the idea of birth being a sacrament. If you missed that feel free to check out my post, but mostly check out the comments on the post, The Sacred Page, and this CT article Melissa directed me to a while back.

Mindy and I discussed this a little bit the other day and one thing we talked about is that conversation about birth, pregnancy and childbearing as biblical is nearly absent from most churches, and seemingly taboo in sermons. Our initial thought was that maybe it’s really not talked about in the Bible much, but I’m not sure that’s the case. One of Christian’s most celebrated holiday’s is concerning a Birth! We tend to focus on a pristine, angelic like baby Jesus, rather then labor pains and placentas, but that’s how God incarnate came into the world. I’ve never heard a sermon about pregnancy being sacred, but we annually read that Mary has found favor with God and her reward is nine months of pregnancy. And lest you say this is a unique occurrence reserved for immaculate conceptions only, don’t forget Elizabeth and Zechariah are blessed with the pregnancy of John. I could go on, but I’ll stop.

I guess my point is just this, I think we’ve neglected a large part of our faith, sacraments, community and more by not valuing pregnancy and birth as a gift from God and a part of our faith and spirituality. I’m not the one going through the physical changes, so I’m not really one to talk or be any kind of authority on this. Instead, I feel it’s important for me to step back and say, ‘wow, there is something special going on here and I am excited to have an opportunity to observe and come along side this experience.’

What Is Essential to the Gospel?

This is more question time for the readers then me giving answers.

In a discussion at the house the other day, and a couple email conversations with some readers, I’ve started to rethink what topics, facts, concepts, etc. are essential to the Gospel.

There’s all kinds of cliches and sayings about the gospel: “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” There’s all kinds of things we spend far too much time talking about and others we simply neglect. So, take a minute to think about this. I’m wondering, if someone were to come up to you and ask you write now, “What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

What would you say?

Shane Claiborne on NPR: The New Monastics

I like to say Shane is my friend, though he’s becoming quite the name and face in the big media, he’s very personable and committed to the faith. His story is a wonderful one and he explains well a lot of the values and truths I hold in my faith. I haven’t even listened to the whole podcast above (it’s 53 minutes) but I promise you it will be worth your while.


I also have a couple copies of his book, Irresistible Revolution, if anyone is looking for one. It’ll change your life. Three of the guys I currently live with were so impacted by Shane’s story and convictions that they ended up moving in with us (a little nuts I know). Anyways, be ready for your life to be changed if you take the time to read or listen.

And before you think I’m too much of a Shane fan, I wanted to point out a couple quick things. I think what Shane has to say is valuable for the masses to hear, and since he does it better then I do I’m gonna pass his writing and speaking on. However, I’m not a fan of Shane and I don’t see him as a ‘guru,’ but I see the danger of that being the case. Mark, addresses this quite well in a recent post over at Jesus Manifesto so I thought I’d give you a quick excerpt:

In fact, Jesus (while he certainly accepts our worship) seemed WAY more interested in having people follow him than he was in people worshiping him. I don’t think Jesus is pleased with our worship, given the atrocious state of our discipleship. And he certainly doesn’t like it when we elevate people like Shane Claiborne as exemplars, but fail to follow their example. Shane has gotten a lot of attention, and for some good reasons. He is living out a radically Christ-centered life that is worthy of imitation. But he’s gotten WAY more fans than imitators. And the way the “machine” has gotten a hold of him has saddened me, because it is turning him into a saint instead of into an “ordinary radical.” I know so many people who love what he has to say but feel like he’s in a special class of holy person.

Read the rest here.