Empower Women, End Poverty

"…In my opinion, the single most significant thing that can be done to cure extreme poverty is this: protect, educate, and nurture girls and women and provide them with equal rights and opportunities – educationally, economically, and socially." 
–Rich Stearns, President, World Vision US

Women of Vision is a volunteer ministry of World Vision that mobilizes women to address poverty and justice issues that relate specifically to other women and their children. 

Volunteers are involved in combating female genital mutilation in East Africa, providing counseling services to children in war-torn areas of the Middle East, helping young Romanians integrate into society after growing up in orphanages, and meeting the needs of street children in Cambodia, Mexico, and Mongolia.  All proceeds from the auction, (after fees), will go to projects like these.

Thank you for your bids!

Package #1 includes 2 reversible car seat covers, a light blue knit scarf, a “Robin’s Nest” therapy sack, and a signed copy of Evolving In Monkey Town.

Package #2 includes 2 reversible car seat covers, a green-and-white-striped knit scarf (perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!), and a one-of-a-kind Proverbs 31 sash, handmade and signed by yours truly!

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Doors

Don't open that doorphoto © 2005 Gianni Dominici | more info (via: Wylio)

It's Saturday! Time for a guest post. 

Today's comes to us from Matt Appling, a pastor at Levi's House in Kansas City who blogs over at The Church of No People, where there's always something interesting going on. Says Matt of his blog: "On Sundays I preach. They’re usually pretty good messages. This blog is full of all the messages that didn’t make it. Messages that would make people second guess why I’m their pastor.  So I put them here, in the church where no one’s around to read them. The message changes when a pastor has nothing to lose!" 

***

I don’t get too excited about things. 

My family says I’m the “stoic” one of the group, but then again, they’re all kind of manic. Except my wife. I have to prod and pry and sometimes poke, just to get a rise out of her about anything, but that usually results in her just being annoyed at me. She’s the only one less excitable than I am. 

That’s why I don’t like to go through doors. 

Not regular doors, mind you. Those are okay. I have several in my house, and they do a good job. They’re all very rectangular, with right angles and do a fine job of connecting the rooms in my house. I go through dozens of doors every day. 

I’m talking about those proverbial “doors” that God opens. 

A couple of weeks ago, I met a new friend who moved to Kansas City. He wasn’t sure that he was supposed to move, so he asked God to indicate to him that a door was open. He said he wanted a house within twenty-four hours. Twenty-four hours later, he miraculously had a house lined up. 

I was jealous. When has God ever opened a door like that for me? (Yeah, I know, really great Christian attitude I’ve got there.)

The last door that opened like that for me was not only wide open, but God picked me up and tossed me through the door like Will Smith on “Fresh Prince.” The door was definitely open to start a new house church ministry. It wasn’t even a door that I was waiting to open, but there it was. 

But soon after that, we sensed that another door was open to evolve the ministry. In hindsight, the door wasn’t so much “open” as it was “cracked,” and we were trying to force it open and squeeze through. And God firmly slammed the door on us. It was humbling…and by “humbling,” I mean “humiliating.” It was a lot like being in public and pushing on a door that’s clearly labeled “pull.” 

And don’t tell me that every time God closes a door, He opens a window. Anyone who says God does something “every” time has not spent much time with God. 

So since then, I’ve been afraid to go through doors. I’m waiting for God to slam it in my face. I’ve become a lot like Gideon. God may tell me He’s opening a door, and I’ll say “Where? I want a sign. I want a blinking neon ‘open’ sign on that door. A big one.” And God will give me a sign. Then I’ll say, “I want another sign.” It just seems like if a guy can ask God to give him a house in twenty-four hours, I should be able to have my signs. 

Right now, I’ve gotten my first sign. I’m waiting for number two. And it better be a good one, or I’m staying put. I’m telling God that I don’t really believe Him when He says He’s opening a door. I’m afraid He’s going to psych me out and slam it in my face. And if He wants me to move, I’m more than willing, but He’s going to have to push me through the door. 

Some people might say I’m just being stubborn, or I’m not fulfilling God’s will for my life, because I’m not going through those doors. Maybe I lack faith, because I don’t get super-excited and sell my house and move to another state every time God moves or fidgets in His throne. It seems like every great Christian “success” story starts out that way. But I’ve been working really hard on being content with things until God shoves me through another door. 

Which kind of person are you? Are you the kind that says God is moving at the drop of a hat, or are you skeptical, cautious, reluctant to go through the door

***

If you would like to contribute a guest post to the blog, check out the guidelines.

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What was your favorite movie of the year?

On Sunday night one of these movies will receive the Academy Award® for best picture:  

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are Alright 
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone  

Two questions for you: 

1. What was YOUR favorite movie of 2010? (Doesn't have to be on the list)

2. Which movie do you think will win the Oscar®?

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13 Things That Make Me a Lousy Progressive

A few months ago I shared 13 things that make me a lousy evangelical. Well now that I’ve spent some time with the more progressive crowd (most recently at Big Tent Christianity), I thought I’d share 13 things that make me a lousy progressive:

1. I don’t have any tattoos. 

2. I actually think it’s possible to overanalyze a metaphor.

3. The word “inerrant” may make my scalp itch, but the word “inspired” still rings true. 

4. Sometimes I shop at Wal Mart. 

5. I’ll probably never drop the f-bomb in a lecture just for kicks… I’m afraid my mom will find out. 

6. Voting for pro-choice candidates still makes me uncomfortable. 

7. Sometimes I get tired of “living in the tension” and I long for the days when everything in life fit into neat and tidy categories of right and wrong, black and white, good and bad, us and them.  I don’t want to return to those prideful days of unassailable certainty, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss them now and then.  They were easier. 

8. Thick-rimmed glasses make my face look fat.

9. I think it’s possible that some of the things that go wrong in the world are not the fault of white males. 

10. I talk a big game about going green and saving the earth’s precious resources, but I always leave the faucet running when I’m using the restroom at someone else’s house because I don’t want anyone to hear me pee.  

11. Al Gore still gets on my nerves. 

12. If conservative evangelicals are at times guilty of perpetual self-congratulation, then progressive Christians are at times guilty of perpetual self-doubt. Sometimes I want to shout, “Of course we haven’t included everybody! Of course we’re not saying this exactly right! Of course we there’s more to it than that! But let’s stop hedging and second-guessing and splitting hairs for five minutes and actually just affirm something!”  (Which, I realize, is sort of a self critique in and of itself. Hmmmm…)

13. Hamburgers, bacon, and steak. (No vegetarianism for this Southern gal!) 

Are you a progressive? In what ways do you break the mold? 

Are you a conservative?  How might you differ from your peers? 

Don't take this one too seriously. Have fun with it!

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