Love and Politics and Oscar Romero

I'm serious... go listen to some India.Arie.

I am loving my time spent in Oscar Romero's The Violence of Love. I personally think it is a must read for every person of faith (whether or not you are a political activist) or political activist (whether or not you are a person of faith). This is not my first read through his book, and each time I find something new. His words are so expressive of his love for the El Salvadoran people that he was serving, but remain so powerful for every Christian even years after his death. This impresses me because so much of what he writes about is political, and the politics of his day came in the form of an oppressive government. Today, some may argue that we face the same problem. Whether that is true or not is up for debate (and I don't really care to engage that discussion), but in the aftermath of so much political tension caused by a historical election, I thought I would share some words of his that I recently read. Pay close attention if you (or better yet, someone who knows you) label yourself either "conservative" or "liberal." Moderates can just nod along...

"The church is a lamp that has to give light, and therefore it must involve itself in tangible reality and thus be able to enlighten the pilgrims who walk on this earth. This concern of the church does not mean that it leaves its own sphere but that it perseveres in its difficult duty of shedding light on concrete affairs.

"Out of this concern, the church defends the right of association, and it promotes a vigorous activity of raising consciousness and of organizing among the poor in order to bring about peace and justice. The church, from its commitment to the gospel, supports the just objectives that the organizations likewise seek, and it also points out the injustices and the instances of violence that the people's organizations may commit. Therefore, the church cannot be identified with any organization, even with those that call themselves and feel themselves Christian. The church is not the organization, and the organization is not the church.

"If both faith and political vocation have grown in a Christian, concerns of faith cannot simply be identified with a specific political concern. Still less can the church and the organization be identified. And no one can say that only within a certain organization can the Christian demands of the faith be developed. Not every Christian has a political vocation, and political activism is not the only activity that implies a concern for justice. There are also other ways to translate one's faith into work for justice and the common good.

"One cannot insist that the church or its ecclesial symbols become instruments of political activity. To be a good political activist one need not be a Christian, but Christians involved in political activity have an obligation to profess their faith in Christ and to use methods that are congruent with their faith. If a conflict arises in this area between loyalty to the faith and loyalty to the organization, genuine Christians must choose faith and demonstrate that their struggle for justice is for the justice of God's kingdom and no other."

Does anyone see where he is going with this? I, for one, love it. Thoughts, musings, notions anyone?

By the way, I finished Persepolis, and am presently resisting the urge to go buy all sorts of current affairs books regarding the United States' relationship with Iran. Not because I don't care, but because I am broke. Thank you very much Marjane Satrapi and Jared Cohen.



Love and Politics

Everyone needs to go buy India.Arie's new cd; Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics. Her music just speaks so much to my soul and so far I am LOVING: Pearls, Yellow, and A Better Way. K... that's all for now!



Israel - or lack thereof - update

Israel update anyone? Well, I've decided not to pursue Israel at this time. In June, about the time my life started to go haywire, I really felt that God was speaking to me through his word. I read Psalm 37:7: "Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him." When I first started to pursue going to the Middle East, God was opening doors like crazy! It was amazing to see what was coming my way. The second I arrived back in California, all those same doors were shut pretty swiftly. In light of understanding - or trying to understand - what it means to be still before God and wait patiently for him, I've decided to wait. And when God makes it as clear as he did the first time around that I should be going to Israel, I will go. In the mean time, I don't have a peace about it, and I don't have not a peace about it.

Interestingly enough, when I was reading through my journal last night, I ran across some entries that seem very appropriate. A couple: Isaiah 64:4: "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." And on December 2nd I wrote, "Jerusalem is so surreal. People ask me how I feel and I feel almost apathetic because it doesn't seem like it's actually gonna happen. It seems like something is in place to thwart my plans. But Lord, You are faithful and so I believe you will bring it to completion in your way - whatever that may be... Beyond going to Israel, I don't know what you're asking of me, but I pray that you would bring clarity and light to my desires and yours. Open doors, shut them, please get my attention so that I can really, really hear you." Be careful what you pray for!

In other news, I am so grateful! After many, many bouts of phone tag, the server manager at the Thousand Oaks PF Chang's and I are meeting tomorrow to get my paperwork done and get me up and running on the schedule. I can't even begin to explain how wonderful it will be to a) have some cash flow, b) have something to do, and c) potentially meet some people my age in the area!

Lastly, I just finished a book called Illegitimate, by Brian Mackert. It's about a guy that grew up polygamous and became a Christian. So interesting and such an encouraging work. If this subject interests you, I definitely encourage you to pick it up. I'm also almost done with Children of Jihad, by Jared Cohen, which so far I really like! And I just started Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. It is a graphic novel about Satrapi growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I'm especially interested in reading this in light of what Cohen had to say about meeting youth in Iran. Good reading material these days!

Well, I guess that's it for now! Off to watch some Biggest Loser!



Incredibly random...

I went to my local PF Chang's whose manager told me with no remorse, "We're all maxed out on servers, but you can try calling us back in a few days..." then practically shoved me out the door. Great. I didn't even want to work at Chang's out here, and now I have to beg for the job. We'll see what happens.

I realized last night that everything I've planned out for myself since last June has fallen through the cracks. Seriously, everything! I know all you God fearing friends of mine will remind me of Proverbs 16:9. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." I know... I get it. But allow me just one moment of frustration. K, there. I had my moment.

Chin up, I'm remembering that God is sovereign. And guess what? I'm fresh out of plans! This is good because I'm actually going to try to open myself up to what's coming next, whatever that may be. My pastor stopped by the other day and advised me that I should just keep moving because "God can't steer a parked car." Man, I really hate that metaphor. But I get what he's saying, and I think he's right. So I'll keep moving even though I don't know where I'm going.

Because I've been griping to everyone about how much I miss Utah I figured I'd make a list of things about California that I really, sincerely LOVE: my parents, sunny weather, my extended family (cousins, aunt, cousins' babies, dad's cousins, etc.), the pool and hot tub down the block, H&M, Golden Spoon, In N Out, daddy long legs instead of wolf spiders, my very own bathroom, not paying rent or utilities (thanks Mom), unlimited supply of Diet Coke (thanks Dad), cable (and those House, Psych, Man Vs. Wild and What Not To Wear marathons that come along with it - man I love Stacy and Clinton), Trader Joe's, the beach, Ducks hockey, and last but not least the occasional nostalgia that occurs when I visit APU or drive by my high school; it's strangely comforting.

I'd like to end this post with a shout out to Robyn: I've been sick all this past week, but my Hannah Montana tissues are taking good care of me! Thanks!