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Week in review

June 24, 2011

I’m out at the Wild Goose Festival, but I didn’t want to leave you with empty space! Here are two good posts that I read this week, and a website as a bonus.writing in the journal

  • For those who hurt by Bethany
  • Comparison, Guilt, & Redemption, a guest post on Mary DeMuth’s blog. (p.s. her new book releases soon – check it out, it’s great!)
  • And because this is a scheduled post, I’m just going to point you in the general direction of Sojourner’s Magazine. I realize some of you have never heard of Sojourner’s, so I’d like to introduce you.

I’ll be back here on Monday with a newly designed blog space. Note to email subscribers: you should still see posts next week, but if by some technical error that you don’t, I hope you stick with me and I’ll fix that error right away.  I also hope you’ll swing by here on Monday and check out the new design.

See you Monday!

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Blog update + Wild Goose Festival = Don’t miss this post

June 22, 2011

I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled posts to bring you a little update.

Earlier this year, I decided to make an effort to blog at least once per week, no more or less, to give myself a little blogging strength. Apparently, the tactic worked. I now enjoy writing for you so much that I don’t plan to stop any time soon. In fact, I’m bumping it up a notch!

A great team of people steadily contributed their time and energy to help me redesign this space. Thanks to them (and you will definitely hear me singing their praises in the next few weeks) beginning Monday, Kyla’s Joy will have a new look. It’s true. Spread the word – you won’t want to miss the unveiling!

The more, the merrier. The more you read, comment, and share my posts, the more I am encouraged to write. In turn, I discover more ideas to make this website a community space, not just a space for me to preach what I’m learning. I hope you’ll benefit from the site just as much (or more) as I benefit from creating it.

Next up: This week I’m off to the Wild Goose Festival, where conversations about community, faith, and loving people, will flow like music. It’s not too late to change your weekend plans, if you are at all interested in attending. I will be there because I know that the festival will generate conversations that will be like food for my soul.

When I have an opportunity to see and hear how others are tangibly and purposefully acting out their beliefs, I am strengthened in my own decisions and actions. Speakers such as Shane Claiborne, Jim Wallis, Matt Pritchard, Richard Rohr, Bart Campolo and dozens others, have greatly influenced my faith journey. I’m looking forward to some good blog posts as a result, so keep your eyes open. I’m so excited that my eyes are glowing.

Please send me a message here, or on twitter, if you’re going to be there. It would be a great joy for me to hug you in person! If you’re not going to be there, send me a message anyway. I like mail; it makes me feel all mushy inside.

I think that wraps up the updates for now. Thanks for sticking with me.

Keep watch for these great posts ahead:

  • Friday: Week in Review – I try to post these every Friday. There are a lot of great reads on the web each week, so here’s your chance to glimpse what I’ve been reading.
  • Monday: Redesign unveiling – Let’s hope nothing goes awry.
  • Wednesday: How to spot a fake: Nonprofits you don’t want to give your money to
  • …And more to come!

Week in review

June 17, 2011

Wow – Great reading this week! Here’s what I’ve been reading on the web.writing in the journal

What posts did you enjoy this week? Send them along!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Don’t let the spirit of fear destroy you

June 15, 2011

The spirit of fear comes to destroy us, if we let it.

Learning how to choose peace instead of fear takes practice. Where do you start?

Today I’m writing about my most recent fearful experience, and how I dealt with it. It’s a 2 – for – 1 Wednesday!

This spirit slowly built inside of me until I was unable to think of anything else.

My heart and emotions used to live in a guarded stone castle with a moat and hungry alligators.

 To hear the story, follow the rabbit to my friend Andy’s blog:  Andy in Progress.

How to give extravagantly, when everyone is asking.

June 15, 2011

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There are days when I’m overwhelmed with financial requests. From Facebook, Twitter, news networks, snail mail, email, radio, or word-of-mouth, not one single day passes when I don’t hear of some amazing organization that needs money.

By organization, I also mean church and my six friends at any given time who are fundraising for a great cause. Sometimes I’m that friend who is humbly asking for funds. On this blog alone, there are at least ten social justice organizations worth supporting.

I never have enough money or time to give to everyone that asks, unless I give only $1 or sometimes 50 cents. While I’m sure that if every person in the world gave just one dollar to your cause, you’d be able to save the world from its terrible misfortunes, I do not want to give one dollar to everyone that asks.

Call me stingy, call me un-Christ- like, call me whatever you want, name-calling is fine with me as long as you aren’t being hypocritical.

So what can I do? What can YOU do when you’re being shouted at from all sides with requests?

Narrow it down.

Here’s how:

Choose what topics, what issues, are most important to YOU. Not to your mom, not to your neighbor (those people are important to you so please support them and love them by supporting what they love, but know that you have my permission not to give your life savings to save the pandas just because your mom once saw a panda cough in the zoo), but figure out what is that thing that makes YOUR heart ache the most.

Do you have a heart that all children should have a father figure in their life because you grew up without a dad?

Do you want to take down companies that are controlling our food growth because you don’t want to eat chemically grown food?

Do you want to find a cure for cancer because your grandfather died from cancer?

Do you want to sponsor children so that they can eat fruits and vegetables because you believe that all children have the right to be nourished?

Do you want to protest corrupt government because you have seen its effects?

What issue screams at you, hits your buttons, makes your blood boil, makes you cry, or gives you such great joy that you can’t imagine saying no?

Go, and do that thing. Go, and give extravagantly to that thing. Leave the other great causes for the people who hear those issues shouting at them from the rooftops.

You can’t do everything, but it would be a great shame if you did nothing because you didn’t know which thing to do.

Social Work and Social Justice, Repost

June 10, 2011
These animals bite!

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The following is a repost from 2008, updated. I’m still asking the same questions, but my questions have more depth and experience within them. Am I the only one who asks these questions, and do you think there are answers?

In my process to figure out my calling I’ve thought much about becoming a full-time social worker. Although I’m realizing that social work takes many forms. So what is social work exactly? It is the same as social justice?

Just last week I heard about a woman whose Dad taught her to smoke crack. That ticks me off. She hates him for it, yet she still smokes with him on occasion. It makes her miserable because she doesn’t like the way she views herself because of doing this. So why does she still make the decision to use the drug? Is it because as much as she believes that her dad is a terrible dad, she still wants some sort of love and respect from him? Things that he will never give her.

I translate for the John School, a court-ordered program for men who have been arrested soliciting prostitution. Now that brings many stories, but the one of interest is the woman who talks to them about her former life as a prostitute. She will tell you that she would do whatever it took to fulfill her need for drugs. Then she continues to say that what she was really looking for was love and acceptance, which she thought came from drugs, then men, but those didn’t fill the emptiness in her life. She wanted to be needed, and her transition out of prostitution taught her that she could find love without using drugs or giving her body.

Then there are those who have mental illnesses and can’t care for themselves,or those who have been abused so badly they don’t have the physical ability to trust, and those who have made so many bad decisions in their life that their choices leave them always wanting.

How many stories are there? Too many too think about. Where is justice for people whose lives have brought them experiences that many of us don’t want to consider? Can I as a social worker bring justice, or is it just a Band-Aid?

If Christ brings true justice, and I do my best to love people in a way that brings Christ to them, I believe that is pursuit of justice. But quite often I will be doing no more than allowing certain people to make it to the next day in their lives. Where is the justice in that?

Safety is relative

June 8, 2011
This Path is Uneven

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We spend a lot of time thinking about our personal safety.

It’s not safe to play with matches.

It’s not safe to drive over the speed limit.

It’s not safe to get on an airplane without screening passengers through a metal detector.

It’s not safe to ride a bus alone at night.

It’s not safe to park drive in that part of town.

It’s not safe to hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers.

I wonder if we are confusing safety with wisdom. It’s sometimes less dangerous for me to fly into the middle of a war-torn country than it is for me to drive my car on the interstate. However, wisdom would mean not walking through a war-torn country without a guide or driving without a license.

We take risks with our lives every day. Sometimes simply climbing out of bed is a risk. If you’re living and breathing, you’re taking a risk in your personal safety.

Doing your best to keep yourself personally safe is fine, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your ability to love well. If you are more worried about taking a risk than loving a person well, then you’ve missed the point. As a follower of Jesus the Christ, I’d say you’ve missed the point of the gospel. If you don’t follow Jesus, then I’d say you’ve missed the point of a full life.

We can use wisdom and instinct when it comes to personal safety, those are good things. However, I challenge myself and I challenge you to think a little deeper the next time you say the words “that’s not safe”.

Is it really unsafe, or are you letting fear control your chance to love well?