Tuesday, October 10, 2006

love is the movement

i really enjoyed reading the irresistible revolution by shane claiborne. well, perhaps enjoyed is the wrong word. i "enjoy" films like tommy boy and big momma's house, the clearance section at target, unplanned trips to best buy. reading the irresistible revolution was definitely unlike any of those experiences. i often felt a serious sense of discomfort - at the desperate situations shane and his friends encountered and at the realization that serving the poor might mean more than sending a check every month to world vision.

being a nerdy t-shirt collector, i had been meaning to buy a shirt that i once saw with the slogan "love your enemies." today, i came across this design (to the left). it is being printed as part of a micro-business venture by the good folks at the simple way, a community of which shane is a part. here is a pretty neat story behind the shirt. according to their description, each shirt is "Printed on a recycled, blank t-shirt purchased at a local thriftstore. Colors and brands will vary but all will be good quality." i think this diy approach is very encouraging as a model for other micro-enterprises - for example, this setup does not require elaborate distribution contracts or large printing facilities, which might be out of reach for many people. plus, it reminds of of the mid-90s diy punk scene, when bands self-released 7" singles with hand-screens sleeves and printed their shirts on whatever they could buy from the thrift store.

there are other stories like this. perhaps you've heard of the folks over at to write love on her arms. they're also proclaiming a hope beyond our current desperation, that rescue is possible. i love that shirts like this can be more than just an ad for a designer label or another cool band. i was wearing my twloha shirt when i took my family out to eat at the local red robin when one of the waiters asked me about it. he said he had seen lots of people at local concerts wearing the shirts and didn't know what it was. i explained a bit of the story to him - the hope, rescue and redemption that is possible...

i have a friend in dc who left his very nice job at a law firm to follow his conviction to serve God wholeheartedly. he now works for the millenium challenge corporation, whose work is to build a "new compact for global development...in which development assistance would be provided to those countries that rule justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom."

love is the movement. may we each discover and dance to the heartbeat of God.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

it'll end in tears ('84 remix)

i didn't realize it until my wife pointed it out to me, but there are some strange things all michiganders tend to do. for example, whenever i meet a michigan native out here in california, we always do the "make your hand into the mitten-shape of michigan and point out where you're from" ritual. we've even had some of our college students test it out on their out-of-state friends, always with the same result...

it also took my wife's outside perspective to show me how strange it is that many michiganders are stuck in a 1984 timewarp. this has nothing to do with orwell's 1984. no, '84 was the magical year our beloved (and since beleaguered) tigers won the world series. gibby, trammell, "looouuuuu...", morris, petry, lopez... many restaurants in southeastern michigan still proudly display newspaper clippings and other '84 memorabilia as if it were yesterday.

that's why this season has been particularly painful for me. i don't mean to be a defeatist - i know that tonight was only one loss and they can still win this series against the mighty yankees, but i don't want to get my hopes up. the tigers started the season so strong... and then trailed off... and then, despite being called flukes by baseball pundits, led their division for most of the season.... until the very last day, that is. a five game losing streak against the woeful blue jays and royals put the tigers (and me) into their current predicament.

in other news, i have a new article up over at relevant.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

it'll end in tears

i love when npr covers sports. it's kind of fun to get a non-meathead-type perspective on sports from time to time (whenever i can tear myself away from sportscenter). they had a piece the other day about a new rule for high school football in connecticut. the rule basically states that if the margin of victory in a game is more than fifty points, then the coach of the winning team will be suspended for the following game - presumably for displaying unsportsmanlike conduct for running up the score on a weaker opponent.

i'm not sure that legislating sportsmanship will actually teach it - but, given the current climate of youth sports in america today, it's probably good that people are at least thinking about it. after all, you've got "adults" who are bribing their own players to bean a disabled teammate, intentionally walking a player in a pony league baseball championship game in order to get to the next player - a nine-year old brain cancer survivor, and rushing the field to assault a 13-year old during a football game. all of these incidents involved adults who were supposed to be coaching the teams.

regarding the connecticut football mercy rule, i've heard people argue that losing develops character, that kids should learn to take the good with the bad, that life isn't always fair, etc. and i agree to a certain extent. however, while these are important life lessons (like this important life lesson from tlc displayed on the left side, "the all you can eat buffet is not a challenge"), i think it's also important for the adults involved in these sports to maintain some perspective. namely, that no matter how seriously folks around town take their football, baseball, etc., that these are still games. sure, kids need to learn that losing is a part of life, but they also need to hear - and see - that winning isn't everything.

certainly, a level of competition can make a game more fun. i don't think a game of kickball would be much fun without keeping score (although it might be - you never know!) but i'm not sure i'd want my daughter playing on a team where the coach took the game too seriously.