Four years ago, when we were expecting our daughter, I knew I was about to begin a major shift in my priorities. It would still be a high priority to live out my faith and values, but above all else, the top priority is now to lovingly raise my children and instill those values that are so central to my life in theirs as well. In addition to simply loving my kids, I wanted to help them to see the world the way I had grown to see it. A large community where we are all intertwined and where our decisions impact others.
My kids are 4 and 3 now and, as concrete thinkers, reading books with them is one of the most tangible ways to expand their world, next to actually experiencing things in real life. My journey to find children’s picture books that discussed topics like poverty and homelessness, clean drinking water and lack of education, was fruitful, but sparse. It was a genre with books few and far between. And so, I set out to write my own.
Clean Water for Elirose is a children’s picture book about what kids drink and how four young kids make a difference in fifth child’s life, Elirose. My goal with writing the book is two-fold.
To provide parents with a meaningful way to discuss a global social issue with their young children.
To use the book as a tool itself for fundraising for clean drinking water.
My hope is that it reaches those goals, if even on a small scale. If your interested in ordering a copy you can do that here. Anyone is free to buy a “teachers copy” for $5, which is the same book, but doesn’t cover the total costs ($3.65 per copy of the book, ~$2.10 for shipping plus envelope). Or, you can order a $15 copy and about $10 if your purchase will go directly to supporting a clean water well project (currently with Charity:Water).
I’d love your help getting the word out if your willing. Review the book on your blog, ask your local parenting mag or paper to write a review, purchase a copy for your library, tell your friends or use it as a fundraiser for your next missions trip. Oh, and let me know what you think with a comment below.
I figure a lot of folks are doing their taxes these days, so it might be a good time to ask a budget and spending question. I’m curious as to how your annual spending compares to the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Here are the 2008 stats, find the number of people in your family and look at the column on the right.
I don’t know how many of you keep close track of your monthly spending, have a monthly budget or anything like that, but if you do, follow the steps below and fill out the survey questions.
Find the Poverty line for your household size on the chart.
Take your monthly or annual budget.
Subtract from your monthly or annual budget any school loans.
If you have a mortgage, subtract the Principal and Interest portion, and only include the taxes and home insurance. (Anything you’d continue to pay even after you no longer had a mortgage and completely owned the home).
No compare your budget and the Poverty Guideline.
How do they compare? Fill out your answer in the survey below (it’s anonymous).
I know, kind of a bizarre question. I’ve posted on this topic before, but I’m working on some more financial related posts/articles and wanted to do a quick reader survey. Thanks for humoring me. Definitely post comments if you have any on the topic.
“…ending poverty is essential to God’s mission in the world and our task as the people who participate in that mission. The fact that we carry on our ordinary lives consuming and participating in injustice must make God weep.” –Lucas
“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.
Once during the winter, prompted by my friend Peter’s experience in China, I turned off the heat in my apartment and tried to live life as normal, but without the modern convenience (and privilege) of heat. Here is a bit of Living without Heat:
I wondered about how much the quality of your apartments building layout affects your expenses to keep it warm. Can you imagine living in a low income housing situation where not only was your rent high for extremely low quality, but you had to leave the heat running constantly to keep it at all warm.
Friday night I went to sleep with a sheet, a comforter, a blanket and then a sleeping bag (rated to 20 degrees) on top of me. I was warm, but it felt like being outside. Saturday at about noon I stepped outside and realized it was considerable warmer out there then it was in my own apartment and it was only 46 degrees out there. I tried to open the window shades to let the sun in, but the angle our house is at didn’t allow for much direct sunlight coming through.
After it got cold enough that I had to put on a shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt and sometimes a vest I was starting to get miserable. I don’t have a hat or gloves and so I had my hood on and I tried to keep my hands in my sleeves a bit. My hands where getting quite cold which didn’t feel good. I tried to think of it like camping outdoors or something, but I couldn’t break out of the fact that this was my home! I feel like I should be comfortable in my home. I thought in my mind that maybe I should try and make it through Saturday evening, making it a full 48 hours. I sort of made that up on the spot cause I think I wanted to feel like I had achieved some sort of goal, or survived through something. Truth is I just wanted to turn the heat back on.
Could you imagine actually living without the ability to control the heat in the winter and the air conditioning in the summer? Would we be angrier and more difficult people just because of that inconvenience, or would we learn how to cope?
I reposted about this topic in December, but I wanted to highlight the podcast, which I think is worth a listen. A while ago I chatted with my friend Nate about simple living and some discussion we had had on our blogs and others comments. It was quite interesting.
Global hunger is a global problem. I don’t know that there was a time in the history of the world that we were better equipped with the resources, technology, power and money to be able to solve world hunger then we have today. It’s so obvious we have the resources and ability to do this that the UN’s first Millennium Development Goal is to:
Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
We, as the human race, have agreed to accomplish this goal within the next 8 years (2015). It doesn’t look like we are on track. It seems we can talk the talk, but we can’t walk the walk. It seems we need to do something more drastic to make this goal a priority in the world.
What if we (meaning the human race) collectively took a ‘hunger strike’ of sorts and refused to eat out until we figured out this issue of global hunger? Could you imagine the implications something like that would have?
First of all, just in the USA we spend 354.4 billion dollars eating out each year. Just that, without the help of any government could solve world hunger. If we stopped eating out an entire sector of industry would suddenly be crippled and can you imagine the outcry from the CEO’s to the burger flippers? If there was no demand for beef overseas, we might suddenly free up enough livestock and grain to feed the people who need it most.
Blow up a building or start playing with nuclear stuff and we’ll hope in multi-million dollar jets, mobilize thousands of troops, and unify a whole country to zero there energy and hatred on one man. Thousands dying every day is the same story that was happening before I was born. It’s the same dull, unexciting, situation that was happening as relatives bought me cute little baby outfits when I was little, friends bought me cheap plastic toys, as pizza and breadsticks were enjoyed at Showbiz, and it’s the same story now as I take my fun money and go for a night on the town.
It should disturb us today, it should have bothered us ten years ago. Could you imagine a collective hunger strike and the implications that would have?
The name Se7en might be cheesy, more so maybe because it was a complete rip-off of 5ives. I thought it would be fun though to start making brief collections of verses on various topics (ones I like to talk about). This might be a weekly thing, or maybe not. Let me know what you think
Luke 12:15 — “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ ”
Mark 12:43-44 — “Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’ ”
Luke 6:24 — “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”
Matthew 25:34-40 — “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ”
Mark 10:21 — “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ ”
Matthew 6:19-21 — “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [cf. Luke 12:34]
Luke 14:33 — “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
I found this article, about a town not to far from the town I went to college in, a place where there are supposedly a lot of practicing Christians…
From Daily Southtown: Residents oppose shelter for immigrant children
The children rarely leave the federal immigrant shelter, a former nursing home near the city’s lakefront that houses undocumented children found alone in the United States.
Teachers and doctors are brought to them. And aside from occasional field trips or visits to a nearby park, the children spend almost all their time indoors — although it may be months before they know whether they will be deported or allowed to stay.
But plans to provide more room by converting a 2.5-acre estate near Naperville — with an 11,000-square-foot house, tennis court and swimming pool — into a first-of-its-kind shelter for undocumented Indian and Chinese children hit a snag:
Neighbors in wealthy Lisle Township don’t want them.
They say the shelter, which would house as many as 30 children, could create traffic problems, lower property values and strain water and sewer services.
But some also worry that the children could escape and pose a threat to their own children. A flier circulated throughout the neighborhood said the shelter would be “WORSE than a halfway house!”