calling for the common good

September 26, 2008

I appreciated this discussion on NPR a few days ago …

Neal Conan with Jim Wallis & Russ Roberts


evening prayer

September 18, 2008

You might live in America if you’re tempted to pray this prayer.  (It’s probably still a good idea.)

May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor.


–Franciscan Benediction

Chris & Tammi Jehle (& The Hope Center) … residing in KC.  I finally had the chance to listen (again) to a couple of sessions Chris taught to our faith-community this past April.  I highly recommend them to anyone interested in learning more about the poor & vulnerable in our city (and how deeply God loves them).  I hope & sometimes even pray that I will begin to love this demographic with more sincerity.

(We were sponsored this year!)Bust the wallet, that is.  I confess: I’m a bit of a cheapskate to begin with … so that doesn’t help matters.  But there’s something about paying $50 bucks for a simple activity (I usually do for free on Saturday mornings).

My griping may be due to the fact that I’ve still got a “bad taste” in my mouth from Olathe’s (1/2) Marathon … what with all of it’s road-kill and portapotty-lines.  I mean line.  (There was just that one portapotty at race-start, right?!)  Note to self: NOT ALL fun-runs are created equal.

I’m incredibly partial to my very first fun-run experience: Wichita’s Riverfest Run ’92.  To this day, it’s gotta be one of my favorite fun-runs (challenged only by Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle).  The RiverRun – annual tradition for the past 15 years (give or take a year or five) – was on it’s game once again this Spring.  (Which is why I’m smiling so big in the photos taken here – two weeks ago- just after Jenn and I pushed ourselves near nausea.)

We neared our personal best: a 9 minute mile/pace.  (Which pretty much nails the coffin on Boston.  But who cares?  As long as we’re aiming to puke at the finish-line; isn’t that what it’s really all about?!) Loren, Jenn, Jt, & Renee on RiverRun race-day

In the end, I’ve had many ocassions (during many great RiverRuns and several lousy others) to think about the “must-have” elements of any race-day.  (They’re pretty simple, actually; you’d think more festival committees could get this.)  And there aren’t a ton; but the few are, indeed, essential.  Here’s my short-list:

  • A gun at the starting line (some things one feels even silly mentioning, until …)
  • Helpful volunteers (why else did you choose to volunteer; surely you’re not in need of honor’s student comm-service hours).  I’m okay if you pretend to cheer
  • Potty spots (I mean: race-day or no … this is quite simply a must)
  • Race-time chips (as in digital time-keepers).  You pretend to volunteer; I pretend to race
  • Live music (I don’t need Frank Sinatra; the highschool sax-player will do … and he’ll distract me for a moment from your bored and worthless volunteers)
  • Post-race water & refuel (A banana & a hershey kiss; what’s that … 60 cents?)

The equation is not complex.

And some (cheaper-than-me-race-planner-skates) might be surprised by the number of participants who linger in the streets to celebrate & talk with strangers and old-acquaintances.  Then cough up the dough to come back again and do it all over again the next year.  That’s why I pay $50 bucks.  Or (in the case of Wichita’s RiverRun) $20.

Here’s hoping Hospital Hill’s got this one figured out …



Tonite … during a discussion with those from Beggar’s Table.  Jon Bowles – facilitator of the conversation – described the seamless faith on display in this film (entitled Sophie Scholl: The Final Days).  I’m excited about adding it to my cue …

immigration in kc

March 8, 2008


Today I attended a summit on immigration in KC.  Maybe the most profound statement of the day came from a middle-aged, white, suburban woman whose family had felt deeply & personally the pain of deportation.  She urged the gathered community that educating our city, rather than drawing battle lines, was an important strategy in finding a way forward.  Many of us simply do not understand the issues in tension and up for discussion.

Also represented at the Summit (by an acquaintance of mine, Sarah Pierce, who works for Catholic Charities) was Kansas City’s refugee population.  Our community has been given some unique opportunities to support individuals & families who come to our very city with stories beyond imagination.  Our lives will only be the richer for investing tangibly in these neighbors.  (Sarah’s put together some great opportunities; please e-mail me to learn more.)