Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween - NOT in this house!

I was asked yesterday how I was going to celebrate Halloween.

The answer is: I’m NOT. As a Christian, I loathe Halloween and everything it stands for.

And “Yes” I did do trick or treat as a child, and “yes” I decorated the house as a young adult.

But then I grew up… spiritually.

I don't care about the origins of the day waaaaay back when, tho that in itself is bad enough!

What are the symbols of Halloween TODAY? What are the “decorations” you see in the stores? Devils, witches, skeletons, monsters. Scenes of murder, death, torture, blood, … "Trails of Terror", "Murder Mansion" and other such attractions. These are terrible, evil images.

Oh yes, there are the cute little costumes for the little ones. Smiling witches. Dancing skeletons. Dapper devils. And it doesn't matter if the costume is a "not scary one". If you put gold leaf on dog feces it is still feces.

And Halloween is still a holiday celebrating Satan's influence on Earth...

3 John 1:11
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but
what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
1 Corinthians 13:6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

1 Thessalonians 5:22
Avoid every kind of evil.

James 1:21
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

KIVA - a hand up... not a hand out

I've discovered a new outlet for making a difference in the lives of others. Two magazines this month have had mentions of this group (AARP and one of my National Geographic mags). The organization is called Kiva.

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

Kiva partners with existing expert microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified entrepreneurs. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva, our partners upload their entrepreneur profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them. When you do, not only do you get a unique experience connecting to a specific entrepreneur on the other side of the planet, but our microfinance partners can do more of what they do, more efficiently.

Kiva provides a data-rich, transparent lending platform. We are constantly working to make the system more transparent to show how money flows throughout the entire cycle, and what effect it has on the people and institutions lending it, borrowing it, and managing it along the way. To do this, we are using the power of the internet to facilitate one-to-one connections that were previously prohibitively expensive. Child sponsorship has always been a high overhead business. Kiva creates a similar interpersonal connection at much lower costs due to the instant, inexpensive nature of internet delivery. The individuals featured on our website are real people who need a loan and are waiting for socially-minded individuals like you to lend them money.

I made a loan to an entrepreneur named Chhin Sun in Cambodia. Mrs. Chhin Sun was born in 1974 and she lives in Samraong Village in Kampong Cham Province. She is a vegetable farmer who owns 2 hectares for cultivating. In her plantation, she faces a small problem because her field is infertile soil which affects her crop, so she decided to ask for a loan to buy fertilizer to amend her field to make her plants more productive. Her husband, Mr. Chhun Tith, helps his wife in the plantation. Mrs. Chhin Sun has two children who are both attending the local school.

Care to join me in changing the world - one loan at a time?

What others are saying about

'Revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries.'
-- BBC

'If you've got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you've now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.'
-- CNN Money

'An inexpensive feel-good investment opportunity...All loaned funds go directly to the applicants, and most loans are repaid in full.'
-- Entrepreneur Magazine

Monday, October 27, 2008

Can a Christian vote for either Presidential candidate?

As a Christian, I’ve had a lot of people coming at me with reasons I should or should not vote for a presidential candidate from a spiritual view point.

After looking into the core beliefs and actions of both candidates, it is my opinion that if you are voting on a spiritual basis… you cannot vote for either one.

Here is just one example of why I feel that way:

McCain states he is a Christian, a member of the Baptist church. However, McCain carries around a “lucky” penny, nickel, quarter, feather (given by a Native American shaman), compass and four leaf clover. He has a “pouch of sacred stones”.

He also brags that he is superstitious. He knocks on wood and won't put a hat on the bed (bad luck). He refuses to pass a saltshaker from hand to hand. He has lucky shoes, sweater, hat and even food.

Obama states he is a Christian, a member of the Church of Christ. Obama carries around a "lucky" poker chip, eagle pin, and a statue of a Hindu god. The only superstition I could find that Obama practices is playing basketball before a primary for good luck. ??

Charms are defined as: An item worn for its supposed magical benefit, as in warding off evil; an amulet. An action or formula thought to have magical power.

Both men have stated with their words that they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

Both men have shown with their actions of carrying "lucky charms" and believing in superstitions that their faith in Jesus Christ is not strong enough to overcome believing they need to also have faith in a man-made object (called an idol in Biblical days) or ritual over the power of the Living God.

Isaiah 44:17
From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, "Save me; you are my god."

1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Friday, October 24, 2008

MN and WI in October

Back from a quick trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin to see 5 sets of Himself’s uncles & aunts. October is a fabulous time to visit up there!

Roadside asters.

The apple orchards were at their peak, with many varieties that are not available in Tennessee. I have a new favorite apple, the Honey Crisp. It is sooo good and cooks up well too.

Beautiful autumn grasses at the home of Lorraine in Wisconsin.

It so reminded me of 2 poems I had to memorize in 5th grade (yes, Miss Rothing... I do remember them!)
By Rachel Field

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go,
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, "snow."

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, "frost."

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spices,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.



by: Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'T is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.