Quote of the Week

From 30 Rock:

“God, I want to kiss you on the mouth to stop you from saying such ridiculous things.”

– Jack Donaghey

The Ninth Year!

Today is the day!

I joined the Bering Drive church and staff 8 years ago today.

Tomorrow I begin my 9th year serving this church.

Who woulda thought?

The church’s best years are ahead of her.

———

One of my favorite lines from 30 Rock:

“The Black Crusaders are a secret group of powerful black Americans. Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey are the chief majors. But Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell and Gordon from “Sesame Street,” they’re members too. And they meet four times a year in the skull of the Statue of Liberty. You can read about that on the interweb!”

Christmas Conspiracy – Ten Thousand Villages

At my house, we’re in Christmas mode! No trees decorated or stockings hung by the chimney, but when you’re on a budget you have to get started before the Thanksgiving Day starting gun goes off.

As always, Rochelle, Malia, Katharine and I, are looking for ways to make our dollars go farther. Not just in the “more-for-the-money” sort of way, but in the “bless-the-world” kind of way, too.

Rochelle discovered, Ten Thousand Villages, while reading through Will and Lisa Sampson’s book, Justice in the Burbs. Ten Thousand Villages supports the work of tens of thousands of artisans in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, making them one the largest fair trade organizations in North America. Working with more than 100 artisan groups, they purchase fine pieces from craftspeople with whom they have longstanding, nurturing relationships…helping to bring dignity to people’s lives.

Basically, people in poor countries can make a living by selling cool, handmade stuff. This is a great place to look for gifts to share with the ones you love!

One of the things Rochelle and I have learned in our journey to become more righteous and just people is this: Serving others does not preclude living your life! It does mean, however, is that you learn – over time – to think and do the some things differently. Ten Thousand Villages is simply one of the places that’s making that easy! Merry Christmas

Books and Tina Fey

The Writer’s Guild strike is under way. I’m not looking forward to January, should the strike continue, when there won’t be any new episodes of 30 Rock. But I’m surprised by the people who are truly worried about their soap operas, late-night talk shows, and prime-time addictions going away.

I typically don’t like strikes, but this one seems to make sense. I think if people make money off the work of other people, the originators of the work should get paid too.

Anyway, I have a suggestion for a country where an astounding number of people spend exponentially more time in front of the tube than they do flipping pages: READ A BOOK!

Trust me, you’ll be better for it — unless you read The Secret!

– And a memo to TV executives: Give Tina Fey whatever she wants!!!

Voting Time

Yesterday was an “election” day here in Harris county. It was a strange election because no one was up for election – at least out in Katy where I live. The ballot was a list of bond proposals and propositions. I was interested primary interested in Prop 15 which created $3B for cancer research.While I was in my local polling place, a young Hispanic woman came in. She has recently passed a citizenship test and registered to vote. The only problem was that she hadn’t registered soon enough to vote today. The volunteer had to tell her that she couldn’t vote today, but tried to get her excited about the fact that she could vote in the next primary and the next election.The young woman left disappointed!It was amazing. I felt bad for her. At the same time, I thought what an amazing country we live in where we get to vote. And for all the political nonsense that we have to deal with, there are still people who are excited about the promise of America, and look forward to voting.

In the same way, my wife and I interviewed a woman to become our house-keeper Monday (We’re not rich, just busy with two kids and a house we can’t quite keep up with). She, too, is Hispanic and doesn’t speak much English. She brought her 9-year-old daughter with her to translate. We found her through the Christian Community Service Center, a ministry that is a partner with our church. At CCSC, people are offered job training and learn skills that move them toward independence. The woman we interviewed brought her graduation certificate from CCSC with her. Here she was, an independent contractor, making her own hours, working with whom she wants to work with and is, in some ways, her own boss.

I don’t typically get Star-Spangled-Banner-Eyed, but both these events reminded me of the opportunity America can provide. Yes, there are problems in our country, but I can’t think of many places, that with a little help (and we ALL need a little help), just about anyone can follow their dreams and make a life for themselves.