Wind Chimes: 10 Dec 2012

U-turn OK

John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …

Luke 3:3 NRSV

How often the chimes sound a call to action. Not like a bugle call, but rather softer, like an invitation rather than a demand. What do you hear?

John, a voice in the wilderness

John’s proclamation, his call to a “baptism of repentance,” is God-focused. It is a call to re-turn to the Lord we have come to love. We are asked to leave the distraction of mountain top and valley and meandering path and travel with intention and directness into God’s immense love.

Through daily examination and “repentance” we keep our focus and walk with directness and strength. I imagine that Marian Wright Edelman “proclaims” in the same manner John did. Let her prayer be your prayer on your journey. ~dan

God did not call us to succeed

God did not call us to succeed,
God called us to serve.

God did not call us to win,
God called us to work.

God did not call us to live long,
God called us to live for Him.

God did not call us to be happy,
God called us to be hopeful.

God did not call us to fame,
God called us to faith.

God did not call us to seek power,
God called us to seek peace.

God did not call us to loot the earth and each other,
God called us to love our earth and each other.

O God take our tiny acorns of service and turn them into towering oak trees of hope.

Marian Wright Edelman in Guide my feet, p. 118

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Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Feed the Children —  which is “a Christian, international relief organization that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty or natural disaster.”  (Feed the Children Mission Statement)

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

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Image: source not known

Wind Chimes: 4 Dec 2012

Good morning

As a new day dawns the chimes sound in greeting and joy. What do you hear?

Preparing for a guest

In this Advent season we prepare outwardly for Christmas: we hang lights and put up decorations, we bake goodies and wrap gifts. How will you prepare inwardly? The coming of Christ means that God will be incarnate: embodied, lovingly present, in the flesh in your life. Christ is coming into your life, into your heart, in a new way. Advent is a time to prepare a way for that to happen. God enters our lives without our planning or arranging; yet there are ways we can open the doors, and as the carol says of Jesus, “prepare him room.”

Imagine that Jesus were actually coming to live with you. What would you want to do to prepare? READ the rest of the “Prepare the way” meditation on Unfolding Light

Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.”

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

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God help us to be …

God help us to be honest
so our children will learn honesty.
Help us to be kind
so our children will learn kindness.
Help us to be faithful
so our children will learn faith.
Help us to love
so our children will be loving.

Marian Wright Edelman in
Guide My Feet, (1995).

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Children’s Defense Fund — “a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for nearly 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children.”

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

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Photo: Nao Sakaki on Indian Country Today Media Network

Wind Chimes: 27 Nov 2012 #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

Mission Statement
Go to the Home Page for #GivingTuesday

Compassion is in the wind that moves the chimes today. What do you hear?

Earlier today …

… I was reminded of the wisdom of Marian Wright Edelman (ht Diane Noble and Gratefulness.org)

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.

Please make a difference today, no matter how small—it really does “add up.”

Let awareness inspire your giving today

To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us. . . and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. . . .

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Photo: YouTube video introducing #GivingTuesday

Wind Chimes: 25 Sep 2012

[Jesus said], “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 NRSV [1]

Introducing Wind Chimes.

A wind chime and sun catcher in North Carolina
Photo by jscalia (click the photo to see more)

When a wind chime catches the wind (even the whisper of a wind) it makes music, it interprets the wind in ways that are always the same and always changing. In regular posts I will share links to news (religion news), reflections and meditations (related to our Sunday readings as often as possible), prayers or prayer starters, resources to help you keep learning and growing (spiritually), and whatever else I come across.

More importantly: I want to incorporate links to items you find interesting as you read, listen, or consider doing the work God has given you to do. You may use the Comments section to leave the link or you may email the link to me for inclusion in Wind Chimes.

Here is the first sampling of the music made by the Spirit. What do you hear?

Room Enough, A Place for Everyone — a sermon based on Mark 9:30-37

“Who is the greatest?” Behind this question is a deeper issue. It is a question of space and place. Is there a place for me in this family? In this church? In this business? Is there a place for my religion, my politics, my race, my lifestyle in this society and culture? Is there a place for my people, tradition, and history in this land? Is their room for me? [Read Room Enough]

3 Quotes. Jesus. Children. Fleas.

Then ]Jesus] took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:30-37 NRSV

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer [2] 1906-1945

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. —Marian Wright Edelman [3] b. 1939

A Commentary on James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a by Professor Sandra Hack Polaski

After several chapters of warnings and vivid illustrations of the consequences of living contrary to the plan of God, James moves in this passage to describe the good life and give some positive guidance for pursuing it. [Read Professor Polaski’s Commentary on WorkingPreacher.org for 9/23/12]

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[1] Here is how the Common English Bible (CEB) translates John 3:8 — [Jesus said], “God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The footnote in both the NRSV and the CEB indicates that the Greek word at the beginning of the verse can be translated as either wind or spirit.

[2] Widely quoted on the internet and attributed to Bonhoeffer, but I have been unable to find the original source. If you know the original source of this quote would you let me/us know using the comments section? Thank you.

[3] Widely quoted on the internet and attributed to Marian Wright Edelman, but I have been unable to find the original source. If you know the original source of this quote would you let me/us know using the comments section? Thank you.

Second Day of Christmas: Dorcas House

Dorcas House

This vital ministry of compassion and hope is supported by the time, talent, and money of folks like you and me, members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. It is not “too far” to go to be Good News. Here is a summary of the needs in Tijuana:

6,000 children live on the street

 80,000 do not attend school

 400 used to live with their parents in prison

 Dorcas House is changing that, one child at a time.

(About Dorcas House web page)

Mission Statement

A ministry of the Episcopal Church to serve and support children in Tijuana. (July 2011 Newsletter)

Dorcas House Home Page

Dorcas House Photo Gallery

The Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar in one place
About the Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar

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For further reflection

What’s with the funny name?

Dorcas is in the Bible—you can look it up. She was known for her kindness to people in need. Plus, it’s a name people remember. [See Acts 9:36-42]

 How many children live at Dorcas House?

We’re raising 40+ kids on $11,000 a month. Mexican businesses supply food, milk, and occasional building materials. American contributions cover the children’s school fees, uniforms, school supplies, and staff salaries.

 Why are they in foster care?

At least one parent is incarcerated. Until 2002, children of prisoners simply lived in the prison with their parents. The prison system was reformed in 2002 but Dorcas House remains the only foster home that will accept children of prisoners.

 Sounds like a rough place.

You’d be surprised. Our children bear scars from the past, but have hope for a better future. Six girls are in college preparatory classes, and two are in university and doing very well. We also have children with severe needs who are treated by a volunteer medical team and an on-staff psychologist.

 Why should I care about Mexico when there are problems here?

Where else can you do international outreach in your own back yard? The world is getting smaller every day, and the child you save today may be your neighbor tomorrow.

 What can I do?

To sign up for a trip PLEASE CONTACT Suzanne Warren: sharp.healthcare@sbcglobal.net

To join the medical team, contact Nanette Jiminez: njimenez413@yahoo.com

To make a donation, contact Chris Harris: harrisc@stpaulcathedral.org

Source: About Dorcas House


Christmas Day: Children’s Defense Fund

Children’s Defense Fund

Jesus entered this world as helpless, defenseless, and dependent as you and me and every child ever born. He was born in a stable and his bed was a food trough for animals. From that humble beginning, he escaped the death visited upon other children by a paranoid tyrant (Herod) and with the protection and nurture of his parents and their village was able to grow to adulthood—and he changed the world. All children, if we understand Jesus, are beloved by God and as God’s children have a dignity that calls forth our best efforts to protect, defend, educate, feed, and nurture them into adulthood.

Quote . . .The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for over 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates nationwide on behalf of children to ensure children are always a priority. (About Children’s Defense Fund web page)

Mission Statement

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.

Children’s Defense Fund Home Page

The Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar in one place
About the Online Christmas Calendar

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For further reflection

What follows is the latest blog post by Marian Wright Edelman. She tells the story of one girl, Britany Lewis, who has “beaten the odds” of poverty, neglect, and abuse and will now go on to college. After telling Britany’s story  she wonders “… how many more of America’s 16.4 million poor children will never beat the odds stacked against them and grow up to reach their full potential the way [Britany] has? How many millions of Britanys have we already lost? How many poor babies were born today who will never win any awards and whose names we’ll never know—but who will instead grow up hungry, homeless, poorly educated, and unloved on the outskirts of the American dream?” Listen to this story and these questions while remembering the birth of Jesus in these Twelve Days of Christmas. ~dan rondeau

Remembering a poor baby by Marian Wright Edelman

When Britany Lewis was born, no trumpets and glad tidings or even balloons and baby showers greeted her arrival. She was just another poor baby. Britany never knew her father, and for the first six years of her life lived in virtual squalor with five siblings and a mother addicted to drugs who eventually went to prison. Britany barely remembers her, though there are some details of her early childhood that do stand out—like the maggots everywhere in their run-down house, even in the refrigerator.

When Britany was six, her then nineteen-year-old sister was awarded custody of her young siblings. But her sister was hardly prepared to be a parent or provider for her younger sisters and brothers, and the family was forced to live for over a year in a two-door Honda Prelude. The deplorable living conditions and lack of parental guidance caused Britany to miss an entire year of school. No one cared enough to notice or do anything about it. Her sister also began a destructive pattern of physical abuse toward Britany that would last for several years. Once, she dealt a devastating blow that forced Britany to miss two days of school while she nursed a black eye. Britany remembers that the physical pain paled in comparison to the disappointment of tarnishing the perfect attendance record she’d built up and determinedly maintained for several years in a row in the midst of the chaos at home. By then, school had become a refuge.

While millions of children have found safe harbor with relatives, Britany did not until she was 16. Her sister kicked her out and left her then in the care of her grandparents. In this current home Brittany has finally found the love, support, and guidance she needs and deserves. Despite the abandonment, homelessness, and physical abuse that permeated her childhood, Britany managed to stand tall against the odds that constantly threatened to destroy her dreams. Now a high school senior, she has a 3.94 GPA and is, according to her guidance counselor, “a proven force” on her high school campus. Britany serves as Associated Student Body President and is a vigilant community leader in programs such as the Youth Commission-City of Lancaster, California and the Teen Builders Community Service Club. Selected as a “Future Leader” by the Valley Press Newspaper, Brittany believes “I overcame the things from my past because I refuse to let them hold me back. My plan is to continue to do my best in school and help others along the way.”

Britany is now also one of the newest winners of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds® awards program, which recognizes outstanding high school students who have overcome incredible adversity to excel in school and display incredible self-determination and a drive toward achievement through the common thread of hard work, academic excellence, and service to their communities. On December 1, celebrities and child advocates joined CDF’s California office at an awards gala honoring Britany and four other extraordinary high school students from the Los Angeles area. Each of them will receive a $10,000 college scholarship and support services including rigorous SAT prep, one-on-one college counseling, state-wide college tours, internship opportunities, educational and life-skills workshops, and guidance and mentoring throughout the high school and college years.

I am so proud of Britany Lewis and the other youths recognized in Beat the Oddsawards programs in eight cities this year. But how many more of America’s 16.4 million poor children will never beat the odds stacked against them and grow up to reach their full potential the way she has? How many millions of Britanys have we already lost? How many poor babies were born today who will never win any awards and whose names we’ll never know—but who will instead grow up hungry, homeless, poorly educated, and unloved on the outskirts of the American dream?

In the afterglow of Christmas when Christians celebrate the birth of the most famous poor baby in history—the miracle of the incarnation and the belief that God actually came to live among us as a poor, homeless child—I hope we can honor this holy baby in our lives today by raising a mighty voice for justice and protection for all the poor babies and children made in God’s image still left behind in poverty and hopelessness.

Originally posted on 12/21/11 on The Huffington Post by Marian Wright Edelman
Meet and hear Britany: Britany Lewis: 2011 CDF-CaliforniaBeat the Odds® Scholarship Recipient