What I hope we have learned:
We all love those OK GO videos. Here is a little of the backstory. This is from Peter Sagal’s blog. Peter is best known as the host of NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me”:
Some design students in Germany created this. It is a full room of furniture in one little box.
[Full Casulo details | via lrm]
From Here and Now by Henri J. M. Nouwen
Ever since that time, I have become aware that wherever God’s Spirit is present there is a reverse mission.
When I marched with thousands of black and white Americans from Selma to Montgomery in the summer of 1965 to support the blacks in their struggle for equal rights, Martin Luther King already said that the deeper spiritual meaning of the civil rights movement was that the blacks were calling the whites to conversion.
When, years later, I joined L’Arche to live and work with mentally handicapped people, I soon learned that my real task would be to let those whom I wanted to help offer me — and through me many others — their unique spiritual gifts.
This “reversal” is the sign of God’s Spirit. The poor have a mission to the rich, the blacks have a mission to the whites, the handicapped have a mission to the “normal,” the gay people have a mission to the straight, the dying have a mission to the living. Those whom the world has made into victims God has chosen to be bearers of good news.
The spell checker in my e-mail application doesn’t have the word “spam” in its dictionary, but the application does have a spam filter.
Engineers at the University of Michigan have discovered a new way to generate energy.
If you can generate that much energy by having an adult walk 2.2 miles an hour (which is not brisk at all), we could end the energy crisis if you hooked every middle school boy in the US up to one of these.
[Full story at Science Daily | via Scientific American Podcat]
One of the questions I asked the group near the end of our time in Chimbote was, “Is it fair to bring people down here?”
Most of them looked at me dumbfounded. Thinking, “Of course it is a good idea to bring folks down. I am glad I came down.”
I am wondering how they would respond if I asked them now after having to transition back.
I love the trip. I love the people. I love how the place stretches and challenges me.
But I know it is hard and I know it isn’t for everyone. It is a lot of work to get to Chimbote, the food is different form what you are use to, you share large dorm rooms with people might not know, and you will be emotionally and spiritually challenged.
At this point the tentative plan is to go back Easter time 2009. If you are interested, just fill out the form below. By doing this you will get occasional e-mails from me as the details come together.
WALKING THE LINE
It is very easy to talk about the neighborhood we visited in statistical terms.
- 50,000 people served by one church
- Average income one dollar a day
- 2500 fed in soup kitchens each day
- Weekly collection at mass $80
- average drop out age
- percent of kids who use drugs
- Number of people who don’t have medicine they need
When speaking in these terms it doesn’t do justice to the people we met.
There was joy. There was happiness. There was deep faith. There was active participation in mass. There were hugs and kisses on the cheek. There was a warm smile at every turn.
But just as easy as it is get caught up in negative stats, it is just as easy to get caught up in the joy we did experience. It is easy to fall into the trap of, “Oh they are the happy poor. They may be materially poor, but they are so spiritually rich. They are blessed to have this burden because it has made them so close to God.”
The picture is so much more complicated than either of those points of view. There is lots of suffering, but there is also lots of getting over suffering. Some do respond well the situation they are in, but it is an unjust situation that deserves to be changed.
The question then comes, how do we walk that line? How do we meet others where they are? How do we do this by providing help and love, with out coming in to fix? How can we approach others knowing they have something to teach and share with us?
It is very cool when you find a quote you really like.
It is really weird when you find out you are the one being quoted.
I guess I said this: An absurd love