Monday, February 22, 2010

Five Things that Will Make You Happier

Scientists prove (part) of what Scripture teaches. This article lists 5 things that are proven to make you happier.
A psychologist from the University of California at Riverside speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said she and colleagues reviewed 51 studies that tested attempts to increase happiness. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Here they are with some more biblical terminology.
  1. Be Grateful (Okay, that one's biblical)
  2. Be Optimistic (Be Hopeful)
  3. Count Your Blessings (Rejoice)
  4. Use your strengths (Use your God-given gifts)
  5. Commit acts of kindness (Give generously)
 Granted the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring these effects (plus guaranteed suffering and trials) but it's cool to me that general revelation confirms what special revelation stated millenia ago. I'm going to count my blessings! Ching!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jazz in My Soul

I thought I wanted my soul to be a rock song. Four-four quick tempo, four chords, a good hook in the chorus cranked up through some ear-bleeding amps. Chorus, verse chorus repeat solo chorus chorus. Big finish, accept applause and then start tearing down.

Now I want my whole life to be jazz. Still steady time, but slower tempo. The chords and solos require more nuance and subtlety. For a season I hated the transitions, but now revel in the change of structure and instrumentation. It gets deep into me. Real analog instruments, less amplification, various forms and far more tasty. Less about how I finish or the applause and more about the Song.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Haiti WIN! Special Webinar for Haiti Relief Done Right

From Chalmers' Center email newsletter here

Special Edition Webinar for Haiti Relief
from the authors of 'When Helping Hurts'
As you know, a massive wave of aid has already been directed at survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 10, 2010. But the aid given must be the right kind of aid to make a difference.

A Webinar Series to Help You Help Haiti
To help churches, relief agencies, and individuals respond appropriately to the crisis in Haiti—helping the Haitian people to take ownership of the rebuilding process—the Chalmers Center will host a three-part, webinar lecture series.

The webinars are scheduled for February 17th, February 24th, and March 3rd, from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (US). They will be presented by Steve Corbett and Dr. Brian Fikkert, authors of “When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself,” a paradigm-shifting book about the causes and solutions to the problem of poverty. The book is in its fifth printing since it was published in July 2009 (

Help Without Hurting
This webinar series is intended for all those responding to the needs of the Haitian people, including churches, missions boards, missionaries, ministries, Christian relief and development organizations, NGOs, individuals, volunteers, donors, and short-term missions teams.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Haiti FAIL Now #1 Story on MSNBC and Yahoo! News

When Helping HURTS gets worse.

Now MSNBC reports here that some groups are urging a complete moratorium on adoptions in Haiti. The exact opposite effect of what well-intentioned FAILed heroes from Idaho had hoped.

Here Yahoo! News also lists this FAILed expedition as their #1 story. Quoting the Prime Minister of Haiti stating that these people knew they were doing WRONG. But wait, they say they were trying 'to do the right thing.' Now a judge will have to decide.

'Trying' and 'meaning well' are not good enough. Even in their captivity, the rich Americans take from the poor and devasted.

Children will suffer more, over-taxed police are not out helping their countrymen, a devastated court system will waste time and money trying them, valuable food and medical supplies keeping the 10 fed and well get spent on people who have homes - in Idaho.

Aren't I Being a Little Harsh? Yes I am.
Why? More people will suffer because these people did not think.

The Yahoo report mentions that the 10 are being kept by police in a concrete room with no air conditioning. Good for them.

When Helping Hurts: Heroic Fail in Haiti

Well-Intentioned Christian 'Heroes' in Haiti FAIL

A friend of mine knows the folks arrested in Haiti for snatching 33 children. Here is part of our dialogue on the Haiti situation, slightly edited for anonymity:
“So the big international hoopla ("Ten Americans Arrested in Haiti...") is folks from our [city]. Three of them are friends, and one of them is barely 18...

“My most visceral reaction was frustration and even anger, that they could have gone in with such a cock-a-mamie plan. They literally planned to find a bus in the DR to charter, drive across the border, fill with the first 100 children they could find, and return across the border to house them in an old motel in the DR.

The intent was honorable and loving, but the logistics were completely of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants variety. Central Valley… financed it to the tune of [a significant amount of money], with the intent of similar funding on a monthly basis. They partnered with another church in Eastern Idaho, which had a dream of building a future orphanage, but without feet on the ground in Haiti [WHAT!], or, apparently even a clue about the correct process, rather than working with an existing mission.

“Apparently none of the leadership thought that planning to be questionable--and even now defend it.

Now the opportunity is lost, 33 frightened children are displaced once again, innocent (if naive and well-meaning) people are in jail awaiting trial resulting in unknown extra costs, and all of that money was wasted.

“Some of that money had been promised to [a local mission in ID], but then rescinded when the emergency trip idea hatched. I am … dismayed at the poor stewardship and lost potential here, and I find myself, uncomfortably annoyed with people who are sitting in a Haitian jail, while I sit at my computer. It does not all add up ... and I wonder at my smug contempt.”
Helping Hurt! Helping unwisely, from the perspective of the ‘all-knowing missionary’ hurt so many people. And who knows the full extent of the damage.

Again, I strongly recommend that we as comparably wealthy Western Christians LOOK HARD at the affects of our well-intentioned mission work. Not all of it will be so disastrous as this episode. But what is 'doing the right thing?'

We (church leaders) have to ask - before we dash to disasters - 'What makes the church response Christ-like or biblical compared any other non-government agency or relief work?'

Answer: Incarnation and long-term development.

The people and nation of Haiti will be no different in the long run without the gospel of Christ preached and lived out - in both relief and development.

Again I recommend When Helping Hurts:How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett. I also recommend their online courses on the same subject. Worth the time and effort.