Sunday, April 30, 2006

So ThaAAAt's how they get started...

I have written some posts recently about what I call "being present" with my kids throughout the day. My initial thoughts were sparked by Meagan's comment on this post over at Shalee's blog. My last post about this was just a simple list of things I do (or want to do) to improve my "presence" with my kids.

After reading it, Sarahgrace suggested that I tag some people and ask them to list their ideas for being present. I sat on the idea for a while because I thought I had to somehow qualify what being present means. I did, after all, just kind of make that up... and so who's to say that it really even means anything. (This is how I think, y'all. If I am going to ask people to make a list of things they should do with their kids, I think I should be able to defend why it's worthy of pursuing in the first place. Unfortunately, I can't. I am just too tired to think.)

So, before this topic gets too old, I will tag Sarahgrace and she can list all the things that she does or would like to do to be present with her kids. If you want to do the same, you can leave a link to your list in the comments section. Or, if you don't have a blog, you can post your list in the comments. As far as tagging other people, that is completely up to you.

I love some of the ideas that have been left already. Mary suggests listening to our kids with "smiling eyes." Robin comments about putting down the phone. Go crazy, ladies. Maybe someone could even DEFINE what being present means. Or find some scripture that applies. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

(And now, I know how these things get started.)

My apologies to those who subscribe to the feed. I am having trouble getting these links to work.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Republican Party: Part II

I was sitting down at the computer reading the comment from PWS on my last post. I was a little confused. So I turned around and asked him to clarify, saying that I was not sure of his point.

"I knew you would say that," he replied.

But, now that I have been able to discuss this with him, I think I understand things a little bit better. This is usually the case with us. We once tried communicating via blog comments for a brief period of time, but ultimately decided that discussion worked much better for us.

So, here are some clarifying thoughts:

Education is not a cure-all. Neither for societal ills, nor for personal success. My point was not that education in and of itself is more important that other things. My point was that Ohio school funding has been unfair for a long, long time. Kids in Cleveland (the capital of Ohio, by the way) and in rural areas, are not getting the same opportunities as kids in places like Oakwood, Dublin, and Lakota. That isn't right. And the fact that they don't get the same opportunities AND that no one has done anything about it is just as much a moral issue as abortion is.

What bugs me is when Republicans imply that abortion, gay marriage, and gamlbing are the only moral issues. Well, I disagree. And regardless of whether I agree with their position on those issues, I am getting a little tired of messages on my answering machine and ads on TV that speak only of these issues. As if they are casting their hooks into the sea of idiot Christians, hoping to see whose lip they can snag, and drag them to the polls.

Maybe I shouldn't be mad at the GOP at all. They push these issues only because enough Christians have watered down the gospel to a few hot-button political issues. But those, while important, just don't seem like enough to me. And I guess I feel offended that they think that's all I care about.

Now, off the subject a little bit, my discussion with PWS reveals his feelings about school funding. He says that funding alone will not make schools effective. And I tend to agree with that too, but that is another post altogether.

Enough of this.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Dear Ohio Republican Party

I am so glad y'all are duking it out over here. Nice to see a hotly contested primary for once.

I just wanted to say thanks for keeping us all focused on the real issues, which ARE (of course) gay marriage, abortion, and gambling. (Did I even need to say that? Everyone knows those are what's important.)

I mean, everyone in Ohio knows education isn't important. We wouldn't want to talk about that, right? Heck no. School funding was declared unconstitutional back in, gosh... it's been so long I can barely remember... uh, was is 1992?

But, no matter if I got the date wrong, cuz it's been, like 14 years now, and it isn't really worth counting anymore is it. Especially since this isn't one of the important issues.

Just wanted to say thanks.

You're doing a bang up job.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

So, I'm wondering

just how much longer it will actually take to get Bao's social security card*. I requested prayer about it (again) at Bible study today. We really need that card.

And, like most days these last few weeks, I have been hopeful, as I go out to get the mail, that today will be the day.

So, today was no different.

Well, it was a little bit different. Because today, her social security card was actually there.

In an envelope.

In my hand.

And it was issued in her English name, not her Chinese name. Which is a bit of a gift, being that I would have had to go change her name on the card later if it was issued in her Chinese name.

And I still have to check on how they filed her immigration status - as an alien or as a citizen.

But right now, I am so profoundly pleased that we have a social security card for her.

Thanks to all who prayed.

And praise God, from whom all social security cards flow.

*Answer: it takes 4 months

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Write on!

Well, Shalee has a nice post up about turning off the TV for the week. It's got me thinking about more than one thing. But at the end of her post, she lists a few suggestions for things to do instead of watching TV. One of those was writing a letter. Hmmmm.

I have been thinking lately about how much I love to write letters. When I was a freshman in college, I came back from class every Friday afternoon and I wrote 3 or 4 letters to my high school friends. Occasionally they would write back to me. And I LOVE getting personal mail. But really, that didn't matter so much, I just liked to write to people because I knew they'd enjoy getting a letter.

I haven't been writing letters much lately. But I I did write one a few months ago to an old friend. She expressed that she really enjoyed getting the letter.

So, I started looking around the internet for some way to hook up with a pen pal. I found a bunch of online pen pals, but that just isn't the same. (For the record, I STINK at finding things on the internet. I bet there are six hundred sites where you can sign up for a pen pal, but I can't find them.)

I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, but reading Shalee's post finally flipped the proverbial switch in my brain. Maybe some blogging buddies would liked to matched up with a pen pal.


Before I go through posting all of the details, I thought I might see if anyone is interested. Leave a comment and let me know if you are, or tell me what questions you would want to have answered before committing.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Being Present

Processing. Processing.

So far, here are my thoughts about what it means to be "present," with regard to my kids.

- Hearing what they say the first time they say it. Paying attention when they speak and responding promptly.

- Letting Boo push the cart at the grocery store even though she is in my way. Not complaining about it. Not getting exasperated and communicating to her that being near her is annoying or unenjoyable.

- Saying "yes" when Bug asks me to play baseball with him... even though Bao won't let me put her down without screaming. Finding a way to play with him and encourage him as he plays.

- Being silly with them.

- Playing along when Boo asks me to babysit her doll.

- Overall, communicating by my words and actions that what is important to them, is important to me, even if it ISN'T important to me. And I know you know what I mean.

- If they ask, letting them help me. Finding a way for them to help with cooking (this one will be hard for me, people) or my cleaning, or gardening. Letting them come with me when I have to run an errand.

These are my initial thoughts. And I don't expect to do these things all the time, every time. These are just things that I am not so hot at right now, but I am trying to improve.

Is this resonating with anyone else? I want to hear what other things you think might fit here. They can be things you are good at or things you want to be good at.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006


A few weeks ago I asked Mr. Bug to pick up one of his toys that was in the middle of the kitchen floor. He didn't. Then I explained to him that if he was not willing to put his toys where they belong, I would have to throw them out.

You know what that turkey said?

"You can frow it out, mom." And then he walked away.

So, naturally, I threw it out.

But it pained me. If it was some silly McDonald's toy I wouldn't have cared. Or even if it was another one of his "stand alone" toys, I wouldn't have batted an eyelash. But this was not a stand alone. This toy was just one piece to a larger toy. And now, in my mind, that toy is forever ruined. He can never put the whole toy together again.

And I don't like this.

Lest you think this is just another one of those "weird things about me" posts, I should tell you that I had always had a reason to be picky about keeping pieces to sets. They make the toy more likely to sell at a garage sale.

And I say that I HAD a reason. Because, while it may be true that "complete" toys will sell at a garage sale, I have made up my mind that we won't be selling much of our stuff anymore. At least never enough to make an entire garage sale. The reasoning is simple: almost all of the stuff we have has been given to us. 95% of the kids' toys and probably a greater percentage of their clothes have been given to us. Something just doesn't feel right to me about selling stuff that was given to us. So, if we are going to get rid of it, we are going to give it to someone else.

And the only reason I mention this is to say that I no longer have my standard reason for wanting to keep toy sets intact. So why did it bother me so much to throw out that toy?

Well, I didn't think much about it until yesterday when my kids went to a birthday party where there was a pinata. The last time I was at a party with Ms. Boo where there was a pinata, I had to push her into the swarming mass of kids to try and get her to put some candy in her bag. She was kind of timid.

I figured the same thing would happen again. But, I was tending to Bao, so I was not able to give her any gentle shoves.

As it turns out, Boo has wised up quite a bit since I last saw her collect pinata treats.

She came back with a favor bag FULL of candy. "Look mom! Look at all the candy I got."

And my only thought was we'll just add that to all the Easter candy...

Then, Bug came bounding up, with the same joyful expression and thrust his bag into my hands. With that high-pitched voice he reserves for moments of sheer excitement, he said, "look what I got mom!"

I looked in the bag to find a whopping three pieces of candy.

I gave Bug the same expressions of excitement that I gave to Boo. But inside, my heart felt sad. Why?

He was the littlest one there. Could it be he got pushed around a little? Then again, he is sort of in his own world most of the time, maybe he just didn't get clued in fast enough. Either way, I felt so sad. Sad that my son didn't get more stuff.

Though I have seen the opposite to be true in my own life, I think that when it comes to my kids, I have bought into the lie that they won't be happy unless they have enough stuff. And when it comes to that toy - he would never remember the toy again if it had been a "stand alone" toy. But somehow I am believing that he will be so disappointed the next time he wants to put that whole toy together, only to realize that he can't. I think this is one of the things that makes me want to hold on to stupid stuff.

The interesting thing is, Bug was playing with that toy the other day and didn't seem to notice that a piece was missing. And you know what? He didn't know any better that he did not have as much candy as everyone else. He was just excited to have what he got. (And Boo has been happily sharing hers.) Yet when I should have been overjoyed that he was content, I was sad for him.

And frazzled too. Because in addition to candy we had masks and blowers to bring home as favors. And I found myself almost frantic over the thought of one of them leaving without their stuff. Because I knew they'd get home and be upset if they didn't have it. But instead of helping them to develop some basic coping skills and "get over it," I would only know how to be sad for them too! So, because I can't help them deal, I make the problem worse by teaching them that they should be frantically chasing after their stuff. This way I don't have any upset kids to deal with. (Does that makes sense?)

Now, I am not a major lover of stuff in general. Clothes, shoes, home decor, TVs, stereos, cars... none of them have allured me to any great degree. But that doesn't mean that I am totally free from "stuff love." I also don't know how to teach my kids to be content with less stuff, and to hold on loosely to what they have.

Any advice out there?

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Today's Final Praise Score:

Ms. Boo 3
Mr. Bug 2
Ms. Bao 2

Sad, but I need reminders

Last night I was up thinking about some things. Mostly the kids. What they see in my (and Paul's) life that is worth emulating. What we do that positively and negatively affects them, their growth, their understanding of God, etc.

I think, for reasons I can't yet explain, that I need to be better at being "present" when I am with my kids. I need to spend time with them even when it isn't time for them. Does that make sense? Like, I know I need to spend time playing with them and with each of them individually, but that isn't what I am talking about. I'm talking about sitting at the table with them when they are eating lunch... something I don't normally do. I need to be tuned into their questions and not have to shake myself out of my thoughts every time they ask for something (only to hear me say "what did you say?") I need to have conversation with them that doesn't involve me correcting something they are doing or speaking with a tone that makes me sound like I am constantly exasperated with them.

And part of that will mean getting over my exasperation. They want to be part of my life and part of what I am doing. But my first response to that is to be annoyed at their intrusion. Really, I should welcome them to spend time doing "my" stuff with me instead of viewing it as an intrusion. Goodness knows who they will turn to in a few more years if their mom doesn't start stepping it up in this way.

But part of this will also mean training myself to see the positives... something I am not very good at.

I have been asking God to show me which stuff really matters. I am seeing changes in my demeanor. But I still make mistakes. For example, it didn't matter that Ms. Boo was "wasting" glue this morning. She was playing. It's glue. I don't need to jump her case about it... especially since she was having fun by herself, even though she asked me if I would work on the craft WITH her.

Anyway. I don't know where this is all going. What I do know is that I am SOOO critical of my children. I have had to WORK at speaking to them like normal people, without a "tone," if you know what I mean. So, now, realizing that these things to not come to me naturally, I have also decided that I need to try to give each of them specific praise each day. Three times.

And, since I cannot be trusted to just let this happen when the mood strikes me, I have created a chart. It has all three of their names on it and three boxes under each name. I will display this chart prominently, so that I will actually remember to praise them. And then I will check off the boxes to make sure I get in three a day.

I have also hung a reminder over the sink to "Praise, Praise, Praise" and another one that says "Be present" and "involve them."

So sad that I need to do this. But I do. I hope that after a while of this, it will begin to come to me more easily, and I won't need to be reminded as much... I will just begin to see that my children have qualities that are worth praising.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

I've said it before

and I'll say it again.

If God chooses never to bless me again, I will still be infinitely blessed.

The blessing of having a relationship with God is - having a relationship with God. The "stuff" he does for me, or what I commonly refer to as "blessing," is just icing.

God himself is the cake. (And I have determined that he is chocolate cake.... Not the sweet kind either, the RICH kind. And moist too, great with a cup of coffee... okay, am I going to far here?)

My point is that God IS the blessing, yet he chooses to do so many other great things. I have been counting them, as some of you know. My goal was to count ten each day. It was hard at first, but is getting much easier. I guess that when you get into the habit of looking, it is a lot easier to find things. I am even starting to see blessing in the "yucky stuff" too.

If you asked me to sit down right now and name 1000 blessings from this year, or from the last ten years, I am not sure I could do it. I would be certain they existed, but the specifics would escape me. So, I have tried to consistently look for a few blessings each day. Reaching the 1000 mark on my blessings list is exciting. I can say for certain, to anyone who asks, that God has blessed me AT LEAST 1003 times this year. It encourages my spirit, and I hope it encourages others too.

Praise God. Praise God. PRAISE GOD.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Six Weird things about me

Okay, well, Addie tagged me to do a meme - six weird things about me. I often read these lists and I think, "well, that's not so weird" because I know that a lot of people do the same things. So, I am trying to think of things that I do that few others could say they do too. But, in order for it to be considered WEIRD, I imagine that it must also be something that doesn't have a good explanation.

There are a few things that I do which I think would gross people out. They are definitely weird, but I don't think this would be the best place to share them.

Here's what I thought of:
1. I do this thing every (and I mean EVERY) time I eat cereal. While I am chewing, I hold the end of the spoon handle so that the tip rests in the space between my index finger and my middle finger. Then, I shake the spoon so that it alternately hits the first knuckles of said fingers.

Why I do this, I have no idea. I do it without even thinking. Why I only do this with cereal is totally beyond me. And I only do it with the silverware we have here at our house, I guess because it "fits" in my hand right.

2. I talk to myself*. I haven't noticed myself doing it much lately. But, when I was in college I would walk around campus (alone) and realize that I had been talking to myself for the last 5 minutes. (No wonder I couldn't get any dates, eh?)

3. I can't sit still. My hands have to be doing something - and it usually involves sticking something underneath my fingernails. (Nothing painful) For example, I can think of times I have gone to a bridal shower at church where there is confetti on the tables. If I get to talking with someone for a while, I will, without realizing it, pick up a piece of confetti, and continually fit it under a nail, remove it, do it again. It works during church with the smooth corners of my Bible pages or the edge of a bulletin too. (I think this is why I am always picking at my lips too. Oh, wait, is that gross? Sorry. But I do that without noticing most of the time too.)

4. Any small finger food that is "countable" is eaten only in even numbers. (I am not obsessive about it, though I think I was moreso at one time. I don't feel frazzled if it doesn't work out in even numbers, but I do prefer it that way.) And I have to give equal chew time to each side of my mouth.

5. I speak nonsense to my children. When I say "nonie noons" they know exactly what this means.

6. When I am chewing cereal (what is it with cereal?) and reading the box at the same time, I chew the syllables of the words. Like one chew is one syllable, or if I want to read faster, I allow a syllable for every time my jaw opens or closes. (Does that make sense?)

7. Hey, I'm on a roll. I see things around me and I often think that there must be a mathematical equation to describe it. Sometimes I even try to figure it out. Sometimes I just try to figure out the gist of it. Like the time there was a truck driving in front of me with tires that were obviously too big. So as I drove along, I had to try to figure out if that would cause his odometer to read too high, or too low. And in that case, it would have bugged me if I didn't figure it out right then and there.

8. I go absolutely stark, raving mad if I have to wear shoes with laces for too long. I have one pair of sneakers and I can't wear them an entire day. I wore them for about 4 1/2 hours yesterday and by the end of it I could tell I was fast approaching my limit. All my other shoes are slip ons.

9. Sometimes I count my steps. I'll get up to some ridiculous number before I think "why are you doing this?"

10. If I am really paying attention, I will occasionally count the number of stairs in a flight. I don't do this very often though, because if the number ends up being odd, I feel "lopsided" for a while. If I notice that I am doing something like starting a repetetive task with my right foot, I will often start doing it with my left to give it equal time.

11. Sometimes I try to name all fifty states. Just to see if I can.

You can read about some of these and a few others in this post from long ago.

*see comments

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Maybe I'm the Weird one

I was reading Boomama's blog last night, and I really enjoyed it. The title of her most recent post had me loving her before I even read it. If you don't know, or remember, the song "OPP," well, then you are probably a much better person than I am.

Upon reading her post last night, I was shocked to learn that there are people out there who actually use liquid fabric softener AND dryer sheets. I do not mean to imply that I am intimately familiar with the laundering processes of everyone, or even anyone, I know. But, I just ASSUMED that you use EITHER liquid softener OR dryer sheets, but CERTAINLY, gasp,not both.

So I frantically clicked on her comments link to see if I could join the throngs who were making fun of her for her over-softening neurosis. (Yes, it was my first time reading her blog, and I know making fun of someone in your very first comment is poor netiquette, but she SAID we could make fun of her... and besides, with a title like that, I just knew we were kindred spirits and she would OF COURSE be able to hear my sarcastic tone...)

But, much to my dismay, no one thought anything of her double-softening practices.

Scracthing my head.

Not LOL.

Furrowed brow.

Horror movie music crescendos in the background.

Glancing up from my computer in wide-eyed panic.

Is it ME that has the weird laundering habits? Those Downy commercials really ARE true? People are living that "rub your cheek on your husband's sweatshirt, gleefully emerging from the shower to embrace yourself in fluffy towel softness, sheets so soft you actually ENJOY making the bed" world after all?

Why didn't anyone tell me?

But wait. Things are actually worse than I originally thought. Because not only am I not using liquid softener, but I also STOPPED USING THE DRYER SHEETS!

Remember? The dryer balls?

Here they are:

I am now using these istead of a dryer sheet. I like them better because:
- there is less waste
- they don't smell like anything... and I don't have to think about "scent-matching," as Boomama points out (believe me, I've thought about that too)
- these reduce the amount of chemicals that get on our skin, and I am all for that.
- they make great back-scratchers (so not kidding, here)
- in the long run, they will cost less than continually buying fabric sheets
- oh, and they really do make the clothes pretty soft.

The things I don't like:
- they are louder than dryer sheets... but only a little. And we put up with it just fine even though we live in a small house where you can hear noise coming from any room no matter where you might be at the time
- if the kids find them, they think they are balls and throw them all over the place. Then they (the dryer balls, not the kids) get lost and I can't find them when I need them. Of course, if we'd stop using them as back-scratchers, they would never be within the kids' reach in the first place. A real catch-22, isn't it?
- they aren't great at reducing static cling. But I have only had problems with a few particularly static-y (is that a word?) pieces of clothing. Nothing major.

I know you were dying for the dryer ball update. So there you have it folks. I'm pretty sure we aren't living in a Downy commercial, but, so far, we are making due quite well.

You can all go back to your plush-toweled bliss now.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Some things are sacred.

I had been reading the headlines all day about the tapes from Flight 93 being played at the Moussaoui trial. I didn't really think much of it. Meaning, I wasn't surprised by it. Necessary, I suppose. I'm no lawyer.

But I imagined, for a moment, what it might be like to be sitting in the court room and hearing that tape. Are there words for what you might feel? I wondered if the families of the victims were allowed to hear those tapes. I wondered if they wanted to.

Then, I stopped wondering. Because, while resting on my bed after dinner, I heard the news coming from the living room. And I heard actual snippets of that horrible tape. And, I thought, "is nothing sacred?"

"Public information," Paul explained to me.

Maybe so.

But it just doesn't seem right. Broadcasting that for everyone to hear. Anyone who wants to. Even people who might find joy in hearing it. The utter fear and panic of a someone's tragic last moments. Is that really something we all need to be privy to?

Sunday, April 09, 2006




Romans 7:15

Sipping a cup of cold coffee.

A host of interests yet to prospect;
books to read
thoughts to flesh out.

An overwhelming desire to visit my thoughts.

A fear that they aren't really there.

a computer
a donut.


At least I like cold coffee.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Ring Update

Thanks to all who prayed. I found my engagement ring. Praise the Lord!

Would anyone like to guess where I found it?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I know you were torn

I can't even imagine what it must be like to be in the situation. You sit down at the computer and you think, I don't know what to do first, check the Masters leaderboard or check Lori's blog!

Well, I knew this would be a dilemma for many of you, but you did the right thing by checking here first. So let me help you out:

After the first round, Phil Mickelson is in a four-way tie for fourth at two under.

(He was the only one you cared about, right? Of course.)

P.S. If anyone feels like praying that I find my engagement ring, I'd appreciate it.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Just wondering

I have been thinking more about my cleaning habits since my CHAOS post, and I was wondering if anyone else does this:

When you put away your silverware, do you make sure that each piece is nested neatly in the piece below it?

I was just wondering. I used to do this, because it annoyed me to see them all "messed up" and out of order. This is hilarious, considering my other housekeeping habits... or lack thereof. But it was just so annoying to me.

In the last year or so, I have given it up. I try to get them nested when I put them in, but if they fall over, I don't try to fix them. I suppose I realized what a waste of time it was.

But, anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else does that... and would be willing to admit it.

Edit: I can't believe I almost forgot this:


Sunday, April 02, 2006


These are my notes from the talk I went to on Tuesday. Jim Wallis spoke. It was basically the Cliff's Notes from his book God's Politics. Here are some of the things I thought enough of to write down. (And this is what you'll read about in his book if you pick it up.)

- There are two hungers that seem prevelent today: a hunger for spiritual integrity, and a hunger for social justice. These are both biblical.

- Good religion pulls out our "best stuff." Bad religion pulls out our hatreds, fears, and prejudices.

- We are told to love our brothers: Half of the world's Christians are living on less than $2 per day, yet we are not fighting to get them on our political agenda.

- For the religious to affect real change, they must be part of a movement that is nonpartisan, one that is not ideologically predictable, and one that holds all sides to a moral standard.

- Changes in the rates of abortion will happen when we give support to low income women.

- There are 2000 verses in Scripture about poverty. That makes it a moral issue. The environment is God's creation. That makes it a moral issue. Yet these kinds of things are generally overlooked by the political working of the "Religious Right."

- The "politics of complaint" is not effective. God responded to Habakkuk's complaint by giving him HIS vision. We need to be in tune with God's vision.

- Protesting is good, but offering alternatives is BETTER.

- Hope vs. Cynicism: (Or, addressing those who say that nothing can be done to change the way things are.) His response is: that's exactly what faith is for - the really big stuff that seems impossible. Cynicism is a way to make ourselves feel secure so that we can avoid the commitment to make a change. Hope, on the other hand, is "believing in spite of the evidence and watching the evidence change."

- On restoring the nation to the days of our forefathers, Wallis said something that I have been trying to articulate for a long time. (I have never liked "that's how the forefathers intended it" as a way of determining what laws we should support/oppose. To me it seems a blatantly obvious conterargument to simply say that they were mere men, no more immortal than we are. So if their intent is worth adhering to, so is anyone else's. Really, it isn't THEIR intent that should matter, but what God desires for our country.) Anyway, Jim Wallis gave this kind of reasoning a name that made me chuckle at first, but I can't say I disagree with it. He called it "ancestor worship."

- Patriotism is not in the Bible. (Then he said something about the bible being invoked only in judgement of a nation, which I was a little lost on...) He said that Christianity knows no national bounds. When the Bible is used to invoke the rights or power of one nation over another, it is being used incorrectly... but that's my paraphrase.

- People are entrenched in poverty because of public policies AND personal choices.

- Faith based ministries are great. But we "cannot keep pulling bodies out of the river without ever going up the river to see who is throwing them in." In other words, while we need to do things to help those who are hurting, we also need to work towards changing our socioeconmic structures so that the injustice won't occur in the first place.

- The biggest scandal in American education, according to Wallis, is not whether to teach evolution, it is the state of poor, innercity schools.

- A real religous movement is one that engages in the moral argument and "changes the wind" of society, rather than striving for political power.

Comments, questions, clarifications welcomed.

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