From Linda Naranjo-Huebl  on Sunday, July 14, 2013 — a day after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in Trayvon Martin’s death

After discussions with my African American friends and a morning of intense prayer and tears, mingled with despair, a prayer:

God of the Universe, come to us in our despair and broken heartedness, and minister life to your children. God of Justice, reach us in our mourning over our African American brothers, fathers, and sons who are not safe on our streets. Stepping outside their homes–as objects of hatred, suspicion and fear–they face the very real threats of harassment, molestation, assault, and death by both police officers and citizens. Let me stand with my sisters who are mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters of black boys and men in the United States. Forgive me when I have let my own privileged position keep me at a safe distance from the fear and heartache that weighs on their hearts and souls every day. Let their despair, fear, anger, and heartbreak be my own. Help them as they struggle to support their sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers as they walk in this hostile world, as they try to encourage them to trust in a God who calls them beloved when the world will not, who will never forsake them in their trials.

Oh how hard it is right now to believe with our brother Martin Luther King Jr. that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We cry out with the prophet, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24). Holy Spirit, grant us faith; help us believe that your justice reigns, that you record all our tears in a bottle and write them in your book (Ps. 56:8), that you will judge the unrighteousness, that you will one day wipe every tear from the eyes of the victims of injustice. Keep us from falling into hopelessness, cynicism, and despair. Take our anger and hopelessness and turn our energies into the work of justice and reconciliation between God and humans and among our human family, for this is the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Regards,

Linda Naranjo-Huebl
Associate Professor of English
Calvin College

—————-

Also see:

  • This video that the Howard University School of Law posted last year.

 

  • Lament From a White Father — from huffingtonpost.com by Jim Wallis
    Excerpts (emphasis DSC):
    It’s time for white people — especially white parents — to listen, to learn, and to speak out on the terribly painful loss of Trayvon Martin.  If my white 14-year-old son Luke had walked out that same night, in that same neighborhood, just to get a snack, he would have come back to his dad unharmed — and would still be with me and Joy today.  Everyone, being honest with ourselves, knows that is true.  But when black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin went out that night, just to get a snack, he ended up dead — and is no longer with his dad and mom. Try to imagine how that feels, as his parents.

    Listen to the stories from Saturday and Sunday nights, of 12-year-old black boys who asked to sleep in bed with their parents because they were afraid.  If black youth in America can’t rely on the police, the law, or their own neighborhood for protection — where can they go?

    Finally, there is a religious message here for all Christians. If there ever was a time that demonstrated why racially and culturally diverse congregations are needed — that time is now. The body of Christ is meant, instructed, and commanded by Christ to be racially inclusive. If white Christians stay in our mostly-white churches and talk mostly to each other we will never understand how our black brothers and sisters are feeling after a terrible weekend like this one. It was the conversation of every black church in America on this Sunday, but very few white Christians heard that discussion or felt that pain. White Christians cannot and must not leave the sole responsibility of telling the truth about America, how it has failed Trayvon Martin and so many black Americans, solely to their African-American brothers and sisters in Christ.  It’s time for white Christians to listen to their black brothers and sisters, to learn their stories, and to speak out for racial justice and reconciliation.  The country needs multi-racial communities of faith to show us how to live together.

 

 

The future of jobs and work — from futurist.com by Glen Hiemstra

 

GlenHiemstra-The-future-of-jobs-and-work-June2013

 

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Also see:

 

 

 

 

Five lessons about the way we treat people

 


1 – First important lesson:  The Cleaning Lady


During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely, ” said the professor…” In your careers, you will meet many people.  All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

 


2. – Second important lesson: Pickup in the rain


One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960’s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.  It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits.  Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s’ bedside just before he passed away…God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole

 


3 – Third important lesson: Always remember those who serve


In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.

“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

“Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

“I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.  When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table.  There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.

You see,  he couldn’t  have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

 


4 – Fourth important lesson:  The obstacle in our path


In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway.  Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.  Some of the King’s’ wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.  Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road  After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.  The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

 


5 – Fifth important lesson: Giving when it counts


Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease.  Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.  The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.”  As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

 

 

Michigan district fires all teachers, closes every school — from takepart.com by Suzi Parker
A funding crisis caused the Buena Vista School District to close its schools for the rest of the year—and perhaps permanently.

 

From DSC:
This is not right.

If the State of Michigan can’t resolve this…
I hope that a corporation or two — or a major philanthropist or two — steps in here to insure that all these students have Internet access. Then provide/allow these students to go online.  Let these students take any class that they want to — and help them enjoy learning as much as possible. They will learn things along the way — without even knowing that they are learning (along the lines of what Sugata Mitra has been saying).

Are there issues with this idea? You bet. I can think of several off the top of my head:

  • Parents out at work, kids at home…
  • Online learning works best with disciplined students…
  • The students may take courses that are not STEM-related
    (However, if they are interested in another discipline or topic, these things could be brought into their learning along the way.)
  • The students may not take courses related to the Common Core standards
    (However, this is not a big concern for me; as pounding everyone into a similar “mold” goes against the reality that each of us is different.  We each have different gifts, skills, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, passions, interests, and preferences.)

But we’ve let these kids down — and make no mistake, we will all pay the price for this type of thing — one way or another. We need to help these kids discover the joy of learning…before it’s too late. 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Charting technology’s new directions: A conversation with MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson — from mckinsey.com
A leading expert explores the new relationship between man and machine and the challenges that emerge when innovation is decoupled from growth in jobs and incomes.

STEM cloud pilot could level technology playing field — from by Tanya Roscorla

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Because of differences in lower-income and higher-income schools in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, not every student has access to identical technology — and both government and education leaders are working to change that by partnering with the private sector on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and communication pilot in the cloud.

The county’s IT office and school system worked with the Maryland-based company Lockheed Martin to tackle this unequal access challenge creatively, something that the global security and aerospace company does for a living, said Vennard Wright, director of the Office of Information Technology and CIO for the county. This is the first step in the county’s quest to work with industry on different problems.

 

 

Tagged with:  

At the heart of the Internet of Things lies a trust revolution — from Business Leaders Network by Mark Littlewood
Interesting article by JP Rangaswami in CIO magazine about the trust revolution that is required for the Internet of Things to have context and therefore value for consumers.

As the Internet of Things evolves, trust, becomes more important and valuable, not less.

Romans 14:11-12 (NIV)

11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

From DSC:
Steven VanderLeest maintains a blog called Deus Ex Machina (Latin for “God in the Machine”). The other day he wrote the words that I remember singing at First Prebyterian Church of Evanston many years ago. This morning, those words come back to me and I can’t help but post something in light of the situation that occurred last night and continues to occur this morning in Boston — an event which is all over the American media, but the type of event that regrettably occurs all too frequently throughout the world (bombings, killing, violence, hatred, evil, and more).  My soul is troubled, heavy, and cries out:

Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison!

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

…and then the words come to my mind…”We are all in this boat together.”

 

 

 

Tagged with:  

Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV) says:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
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TheStateOfTheHeart3

Looking at a sampling (below) of the emerging technologies starting to hit the landscapes…

I am struck with the thought that, we need as many hearts of flesh out there as possible! 

I hope that these types of very powerful technologies are used by people who care about each other and who respect the dignity of others; those who lift up and value life.


But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

 

 

MaundyThursday-March2013

HeIsRisen

 

 Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)

Jesus has risen
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

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From DSC:
Check out this very cool news from my friend and Bible Study fellow — Mr. Patrick Mohney, President of SEA Biofuels, LLC

 

SEA-BiofuelDotCom-march2013

This is really amazing.

First of all, people in the developing world, even today, use either campfires or some other smokey cooking system.  This type of cooking is the norm for three billion people today, this leads to millions of deaths per year, as well as a leading contributor of greenhouse gases.  Also, I learned that in some parts of the world, women that normally collect the cooking fuel, are the subject of physical violence and rape as they collect fuel in a territory that another clan, family or tribe feel belongs to them.  I hear these things and think, “Seriously, we have to fix this!”

We could fix this, if we had a clean and environmentally friendly alternative fuel that they could afford.  Now we have just that.  We make fuel from excess agricultural waste like rice husks, coconut shells or almost any woody bio-material.

The stove-fuel combo is the most efficient in the world, but the reason that I am excited about it, is that it is less expensive to operate for the consumer than the alternative fuels.  As it turns out, people that use wood or charcoal to cook with, usually pay for it, and it is not cheap.  Our fuel is usually half to three quarters of the price of the status quo fuel at retail to the consumer.  This is why our stove and fuel is presently the only option that is scale-able and can help millions, or billions of people.

I know you are busy, but we can solve this for half of the worlds people, if you could just pass this on or make some noise.  Like us on FB.

Our mission statement is, “Be a Blessing to others and you will be Blessed”.

God Bless you and your family.

Patrick Mohney
President
SEA Biofuels, LLC

 


From DSC and Patrick:
Contribute something today — make the world a better place to live in.

 

What is Maundy Thursday?
What do Christians celebrate on Maundy Thursday?

Excerpt:

Maundy Thursday is observed during Holy Week on the Thursday before Easter. Also referred to as “Holy Thursday” or “Great Thursday” in some Christian denominations, Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. In contrast to joyful Easter celebrations when Christians worship their resurrected Savior, Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions, marked by the shadow of Jesus’ betrayal.

What Does “Maundy” Mean?
Derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” Maundy refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice (emphasis here and purchased/modified graphic below from DSC).

 

 

MaundyThursday-March2013

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8 — from Bible Gateway’s Verse of the Day

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

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