Monday, December 15, 2008

A Homeless Man Changed the World

During this season in which significant portions of the world celebrate the birth of a carpenter's son in Bethlehem, Israel, more than 2,000 years ago, I've been reflecting on the life and a few of the core teachings of this Jewish rabbi named Jesus. The story of his life is recorded by four first century historians named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and can be found in the Bible in the section called the New Testament (testament = covenant). So, here are three things I've learned:
  1. Jesus claimed to be God. He used the Hebrew phrase "I AM" to clearly communicate this to the people who were listening to him. They understood this so well that they tried to kill him for blasphemy.
  2. Jesus said that the two greatest commands are (1) Love God, and (2) Love one another. He didn't just say it: His life was a visible demonstration of these beliefs. Even as he was dying on the cross to which he was nailed, he forgave those who were responsible, saying, "Forgive them. They don't know what they're doing."
  3. Although he claimed to be God, Jesus did not consider himself too holy for even the lowliest of jobs. At dinner on the last night of his life, he washed the stinky, dirty feet of his followers, a job typically done by the least of the servants. And he didn't complain! He even washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, the one who would betray Jesus later that same night.

I'm fascinated by the life and teachings of Jesus. This simple homeless man, born in a stable to an unwed mother, has impacted the world like none other before or after him. Maybe during this season you'd like to learn more about the life of Jesus. If so, you might enjoy reading or listening to the story that Dr. Luke (he was a physician) wrote (the third book in the New Testament). Even if you don't conclude that Jesus was who he claimed to be, his pervasive influence on the world is undeniable.

Further listening: Luke - Audio Bible (download in wma format)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Access to Credit

Last week, I received a letter from a credit card company that said it was reducing my credit limit to my outstanding balance. Effectively, this eliminated any emergency funds that our family could access in a serious situation. In the course of this realization, I thought of the several billion people around the world who live in this reality every day and have never had the luxury of a credit cushion for unforeseeable events. What do these people do when something unfortunate happens? Probably the same thing I'll do should the need arise: Call my family. Ask. Plead. Borrow.

Access to credit is an amazing privilege. When the DOW falls almost 800 points (as it did today) and access to credit is significantly restricted (as it is currently), we gain an understanding of the importance of credit. Thanks to all the MFIs (micro-finance institutions) who are making credit available and affordable to people around the world.

[Further reading: Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus]
[Website recommendation:]

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Our awareness of the challenges facing the world is greater than ever before in history. I've decided to write so that I can remember how I feel and what I think when the faces and voices of disadvantaged, marginalized, oppressed, persecuted, and forgotten people invade my comfortable existence. Otherwise, I would probably end up pushing these people out of my mind, never participating with others in shaping a reality that much better reflects the existence intended for mankind from the beginning of time.