Powerlessness Corrupts [Economic Justice is Good]

An inverted and unique argument for economic justice.

"... it is also true that powerlessness tends to corrupt. The more one is abused, the more one can develop a tendency to abuse in turn. The voice of compassion within Jewish tradition acted as a counter-force to this tendency, but in and of itself, it could not always be sufficient to county the psychological power of endless external abuse."

Michael Lerner
Jewish Liberation Theology and Emancipatory Politics, Religion and Economic Justice,  ed. Michael Zweigh (1993)

Interpretation: When continually taken advantage of a person or people develop a learned response in kind.


Mitchell James White [Remembering is Good]

Now that the semester, finals and the work trip to my brothers in Indiana is over I can return to posting somewhat regularly.
This last Monday marked the fourth year since our son Mitchell passed away at birth.
I woke up that day feeling lousy but not knowing why.
I had slept very badly the night before and at first I attributed my feelings to that.
But as the coffee had even less effect than usual I settled in for a tough day.
Then Jaime reminded me what the date was.
I know that May 10 is my sons birthday but the rush of an ending semester, exams, my paternal grandmothers death and a trip to Indiana to help my brother and sister get there new home in working order caused me to loss track of the date.
I was just moving from one day to the next.
At that moment of remembrance it all made sense.
Finally my brain caught up with my emotions.
I never got to experience my sons life outside of his mother's womb, but I had so much hope and joy that his death left an enduring emotional mark upon me.
I felt what day it was, without knowing it.
In a culture that places knowledge on such a high pedestal, this week I was reminded that our emotions can be smarter sometimes.
I remember my son, I remember my hope, and I remember the joy of his life and the pain of our loss.
I remember all of the family, friends and strangers who offered their hope and encouragement during that time.
Remembrance is good.
It has a way of resettling us and refocusing us.
May your times of remembrance be good and may the chaos of your temporary circumstance not make you forget to remember.


Act Justly [Social Justice Rightly Pursued is Good]

I cannibalized the following from Michael Halcomb's blog.
I have known Michael since undergrad but only recently have begun to follow his thoughts.
If you like the following you also can follow his thoughts at Pisteuomen.
For those who desire to "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly" this is excellent incite into how it can be accomplished through pursuing justice in our society.

pisteuomen : πιστευομεν - the weblog of t. michael w. halcomb

One of my favorite deep Christian thinkers of the last century has to be Thomas Merton. Merton's insights regarding the nature of faith, the person of Jesus and life in this world are simply life-altering and astounding; Merton was brilliant. But Merton did not think in a vacuum and he had many mentors and persons who influenced him, one of whom was Christian social advocate Ebehard Arnold. Below is a statement by Arnold, mentioned by Merton several years ago that I believe, places the whole matter of "Christian social justice" in its proper context...

"There are political organizations that stand, as we do, for international peace, the abolition of private property, and full community of goods. Yet we cannot simply side with these organizations and fight their battles in their way. We do feel drawn, with them, to all people who suffer need and distress, to those who lack food and shelter and whose very mental development is stunted through exploitation. With them, we stand side by side with the 'have-nots,' with the underprivileged, and with the degraded and oppressed. And yet we avoid the kind of class struggle that employs violent means to avenge lives taken through exploitation. We reject the defensive war of the suppressed just as much as the defensive wars of nations. We must live in community because we take our stand in the spiritual fight on the side of all those who fight for freedom, unity, peace, and social justice."


Realize [Realization is Good]

http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i31/scpeach 731991.jpg
I spent a better part of an hour writing and rewriting a blog about this picture yesterday.
Today I woke up and realized that I didn't need to say what I thought I needed to say.
May-be the photo worked out its message in me after all...
Found at photobucket.com under user drunksteady.


CRED [Respect is Good]

The UK based CRED Jewellery first came into my view last spring (2009) in Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw's book Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals. [Thought provoking material.]
CRED's vision and stance on the ethical treatment of every worker involved in the process of creating jewelry is inspiring and almost entirely anti-capitalistic.
Capitalism demands the cheapest most efficient way of generating a product.
Respecting human dignity and worth creates higher costs and inefficiencies.
But by respecting there is no thought that, "The gold, silver, platinum and diamonds I use to accessorize came at the cost of another persons dignity, worth and blood."
I would, after law school of course, like to use CRED and other fair trade dealers whenever I buy jewelry for my wife and daughter.
There is something important in knowing that what they are wearing was not bought at the cost of someone else's worth.
Below is an excerpt from their website.

CRED Jewellery is the original Fair Trade jeweller. We do not make 
this claim lightly, but as pioneers we have pursued the dream of Fair 
Trade jewellery and brought it to reality. We were the first European 
retailer to sell independently certified Fair Trade gold, and the first high 
street boutique to exclusively sell ethical jewellery. In 2003 we 
produced the world's first truly ethical wedding rings: wedding bands 
made from gold from a traceable source that was certified as 
environmentally and socially responsible. They remain our bestsellers.

When I started CRED Jewellery in 1996 my desire was to create a 
jewellery company that had the principles of Fair Trade at its very heart, 
as well as satisfying my personal desire for beauty and wonder. These 
two simple ideas are intrinsically bound together, because beauty at its 
most intense is a reflection of the wonder in nature. Jewellery is the 
finest symbol of this when it is sourced with social and environmental 
integrity, capturing, creating and conveying this genius.
“It has been an amazing journey that has taken me to some of the 
remotest regions of our world, met some of the most extraordinary 
people and witnessed some of the best and the worst practices in 
mining. Human and indigenous rights, environmental justice and 
human creativity are at the heart of our Fair Trade company.
Greg Valerio, Founder and Fair Trade Campaigner
At CRED we believe in making beautiful jewellery that has ethical 
integrity. We have travelled the world to understand the complexity of 
our trade – to discern the full environmental and social costs of mining, 
and how these might be mitigated. We have sought out like-minded 
campaigners and with them pioneered the independent auditing 
arrangements that make Fair Trade stones and metals possible. It is 
an ongoing campaign of continual improvement: we will not be satisfied 
until 100% Fair Trade jewellery becomes an industry standard.


Tim Coons: Enter the Worship Circle [Music is Good]


Awesome news! I’ll be doing an album with Enter the Worship Circle- an independent record company that produces amazing worship music. 
I’ll be the fourth artist they’ve had in the series called “Chair and Microphone”. It’ll be an intimate, solo-performance worship album of original music written from the Psalms. The release of “Chair and Microphone Volume 4” is tentatively set for June.
I was first introduced to Tim's music last spring, via KJ Tencza.
I instantly fell in love with his music and bought his album The Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes.
I listened to it countless times on my commute to school over the last year.
Just one week ago I was had the privilege of meeting and working with Tim as we constructed the service for Debbie's funeral (see the post A Truly Good Obituary).
Over the two days I was able to spend with him I found good conversation, shared interests and man who was keenly interested in his friends.
I am excited about Tim's signing with Enter the Worship Circle and look forward to the release this summer.
Also Tim is looking for opportunities to do House Concerts around the country and if it can be worked out I would love to bring him to Lancaster and/or Millersburg sometime this summer or fall. 
Visit Tim's website, become a fan on Facebook, and buy his music, because Tim's music is good!