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Showing posts from March, 2010

The Blunt Scholar

The Blunt Scholar: The Riley-Fitch - McKinney Scholarship for Free Thinking, Creative Expression and Independent Journalism
This scholarship is directed toward students with an interest in creative writing and courageous reporting. Established by the Blunt Group of 1976 in honor of their faculty mentors, Noel Riley-Fitch and Michael David McKinney, the scholarship and annual lectureship seeks to foster free thinking and creative expression in the Christian college context.
The "Bluntees" as they were known, were non-conformist, idealistic, cynical yet justice-oriented students who published an underground newspaper called "The Blunt" in 1975-1976 after the official student newspaper, "The Point" was censored and closed down by administration officials.  (More about the views and activities of this "radical student" group can be read in the book, For Zion's Sake: A History of Point Loma Nazarene University by Ronald Kirkemo
Current and past rec…

Shalom Inspiration for Ocean Grove

Today, Annie Allen and I commissioned 25 new Shalom Team members--from Camden, Montclair, Newark and Drew Theological School's Working Group on Race--who together had completed their 30 hours of training in Asset-Based Community Development.   The  Commissioning Service took place at Thornely Chapel of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, Ocean Grove, NJ.   Below is part one of my notes for the Shalom Inspiration I shared: 

How long does it take to transform a community in the spirit of shalom?


There's an old Sufi teaching story of the Watermelon Hunter which may shed some light on this question:


“Once upon a time there was a man who strayed from his own country into the Land of Fools. He saw a number of people running in fear from a field where they had been trying to harvest wheat. They reported to this man that there was a monster in the field. Upon closer observation, the traveler saw that it was only a watermelon. The traveler offered to kill this monster for them, an…

Arrived in Mizak

It was chaotic getting in the Port-au-Prince airport, waiting for and gathering bags among hundreds of passengers, and then struggling to get out to the Tap Tap truck and van that awaited us, which required navigating through the scores of self-appointed red hat baggage handlers aggressively insisting on helping you carry your bags to a taxie wanting your business.  I lost my money pouch in the process.  


I was glad our mission was not in the city of Port-au-Prince which was devastated by the earthquake.  So many homes and buildings destroyed, a million people displaced, thousands now lving in tents--some new that were donated, most hastily constructed with whatever materials were available--on the both sides of the streets or in encampments set up by international NGO's.


I was glad our mission was in Mizak--about 3 hours southwest of Port au Prince, and 45 minutes by motorcycle up the mountain from the city of Jakmel (where Angelina Jollie was reported to have been this week as she…

Heading to Haiti Today

After weeks of working the phones, blogging about the need for relief and development, and raising funds for projects, finally I’m heading to Haiti today to help with cash for food, tents, tarps, meds and a security wall around the Shalom Zone.
Christa White, an anthropologist who speaks Creole and  teaches IT at Drew, is joining me to represent Communities of Shalom at Drew; and together we are joining a mission team from Texas comprised of a doctor, psychologist, nurses, physician assistant, and other United Methodist volunteers totally 20 for a week in Mizak, Haiti.
Mizak, as you may know from previous posts, is a cluster of villages in the mountains with a total population of 35,000.  70% are living under the poverty level of $1 US per day.  63% are under the age of 18.  There's no hospital or doctor.  No educational opportunties beyond High School.  No jobs or vocational training.   There's no electricity, pluming, or water filtration.  There's subsistence farming and a…