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by Staff 01.22.2010
Posted In: Green living, Sustainability at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

ReUse-apalooza Tonight at Building Value

The nonprofit Building Value organization (which recycles and resells building materials) hosts its first ReUse-apalooza tonight to celebrate the benefits of reuse through art. The fun will include live music from Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, an opportunity to participate in a permanent installation of a community sculpture by Northside's Paul Lashua, step performance by the Allegacy Girls Step Team of W.E.B DuBois Academy, simultaneous chess exhibition by Douglas Dysar, an opera singer, a juggler and much more.

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by Bart Campolo 10.20.2009
Posted In: Spirituality at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bart Campolo on Fear and Bitterness

It is Sunday night, and I am suddenly awake at the crack of too-close gunfire. I creep to the window without turning on the light, more curious than afraid until I remember I don’t know if my daughter and her friends are home from their movie. Looking out, I see three men spread out in the backyard we share with our neighbors, one moving slowly past the patio furniture where we had a child's birthday party that afternoon, the other two crouched by the trampoline my son and his football buddies slept out on last week. Strangers in our space, clearly visible in the moonlight, probably carrying guns.

My wife, Marty hands me a phone and the 911 operator keeps asking how many, what color, how old, how many shots, until I hiss at her to hurry up and send a car because they're still out there, calling back and forth to each other, pointing at the apartments on the other side of our back fence. They move into the side yard, where they regroup for a moment, and then they walk out our gate and down our front steps, cross the sidewalk past three women they seem to know, and get into a gray, late-model sedan parked behind our minivan, where my daughter was supposed to have parked. God, don't let her come home now, I think, as I keep narrating to the 911 lady, both of us knowing the information doesn't really matter. The police always come too late. Sure enough, the gray car slowly pulls away, coming to a maddeningly full and legal stop before turning the corner and blending back into the city night. The three women’s loud voices trail off in the other direction. It is quiet again. I am not afraid anymore. I am furious.

Those lousy ghetto bastards—my exact words at 2 a.m.—brought their ignorant violence into our yard on purpose. They weren't running away from anything. They had a plan. They brought an audience. I don't know their names, of course, but I know them just the same, because once they get that careless, they are all the same. Before I can stop myself, I hope aloud that they drive themselves off a bridge before they make any more babies. Across the room, Marty wonders aloud what happened to the kind and hopeful man who brought her to this place four years ago, in the name of Love. Finally, we turn on the light and call our daughter. Until she gets home, there is no use trying to sleep.

Hours later, everyone else is safe in bed, but I am in the bathroom, sitting, thinking, wishing I could pray. Beside the tub, Marty has left a book of poems. Reading them, I gradually forget who and where I am. And then I find this:

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn,
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
To buy me, and snaps the purse shut,
when death comes
like the measle-pox
When death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
And I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
And each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

And suddenly, just as suddenly as those gunshots awakened me, I too don’t want to end up simply having visited this world, or even this neighborhood. I don’t want to end up angry or bitter. No, I want to believe in my heart that each life, and each name, and each body is indeed something precious, both to God and to me. I want to remarry amazement.

I sit alone for a long time, silently thankful for Mary Oliver, the poet, and for Marty Campolo, my conscience in many ways, and for Grace herself, who gives us all our second chances, and then I go back to bed. Tomorrow is Monday, and we in the fellowship will be eating our supper together.

I wrote this up the day after it happened, early in the summer. Honestly, two days after that, life on Hemlock Street went back to normal, which is to say, life for us and our friends here went back to being pretty terrific. We might be more fearful if such thugs came that close again, or if they were aiming at us, but they haven’t, and they aren’t, so we’re not. If you really want to scare us these days, forget bullets and focus on that force of evil which truly threatens to destroy the good life we share here in Walnut Hills: Bedbugs. Think I’m kidding? Read next month’s letter.

BART CAMPOLO is a veteran urban minister and activist who speaks and writes about grace, faith, loving relationships and social justice. He's leader of The Walnut Hills Fellowship.
by Hannah McCartney 06.08.2009
Posted In: Wellness at 03:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

This Is Why You're Fat

Over the past several months, Senate leaders have been contemplating imposing an obesity tax on non-diet sugary drinks in an effort to help pay for a renovation of the country’s health care system and lower consumption of a product presumed to be a crucial contributor to obesity in the U.S. Congressional estimates state that a tax of 3 cents per 12-ounce drink could potentially raise up to $50 billion over 10 years.

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by Stephen Carter-Novotni 05.13.2009
at 05:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free Breakfast for Cyclists Thursday-Friday

This is "Bike to Work Week," the happiest time of year (next to Halloween of course) in my book. If you're on two wheels this week and the weather turns dry, you're in luck.

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by Bart Campolo 04.14.2009
Posted In: Wellness at 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Killing the Old Self, Birthing a New One

I often tell people not to ask me for statistics, because in the work I do all the statistics are bad. Ask me for stories instead, I say, because even in the worst of times I always have a good story. Whether it is one of my own or comes from someone else doesn’t really matter to me anymore. What matters is that it rings true. Like this one I picked up on a visit to Philadelphia last week, which was first told to psychologist Jack Kornfield by the director of a nearby rehabilitation program for violent juvenile offenders:
One fourteen-year-old boy in the program had shot and killed an innocent teenager to prove himself to his gang. At the trial, the victim’s mother sat impassively silent until the end, when the youth was convicted of the killing. After the verdict was announced, she stood up slowly and stared directly at him and stated, “I’m going to kill you.” Then the youth was taken away to serve several years in the juvenile facility.

After the first half year the mother of the slain child went to visit his killer. He had been living on the streets before the killing, and she was the only visitor (in jail) he’d had. For a time they talked, and when she left she gave him some money for cigarettes. Then she started step-by-step to visit him more regularly, bringing food and small gifts. Near the end of his three-year sentence, she asked him what he would be doing when he got out. He was confused and very uncertain, so she offered to help set him up with a job at a friend’s company. Then she inquired about where he would live, and since he had no family to return to, she offered him temporary use of the spare room in her home. For eight months he lived there, ate her food, and worked at the job. Then one evening she called him into the living room to talk. She sat down opposite him and waited.

Then she started, “Do you remember in the courtroom when I said I was going to kill you?”

“I sure do,” he replied. “I’ll never forget that moment.”

“Well, I did it,” she went on. “I did not want the boy who could kill my son for no reason to remain alive on this earth. I wanted him to die. That’s why I started to visit you and bring you things. That’s why I got you the job and let you live here in my house. That’s how I set about changing you. And that old boy, he’s gone. So now I want to ask you, since my son is gone, and that killer is gone, if you’ll stay here. I’ve got room and I’d like to adopt you if you let me.”

And she became the mother he never had.

Honestly, for a man like me, in a place like this, a story like that is more precious than any amount of money or any amount of praise.

Lately I’ve been asked how long I can relate to such badly broken people in this particular way, and the truth is that I don’t know. However long it is, I think, will be determined less by the number of healed lives I see, and more by my ability to sense the depth of the compassion and forgiveness that is trying to heal them. Today, with that good story in my heart, it feels like I may last a while longer than it felt like before I heard it. I hope the same is true of you.

BART CAMPOLO is a veteran urban minister and activist who speaks and writes about grace, faith, loving relationships and social justice. He's leader of The Walnut Hills Fellowship.

by Trent Hamm 03.30.2009
Posted In: Organization at 03:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Book Review: Detox Your Desk

My desk is a mess.

It’s not so much a factor of having too much stuff - virtually everything on it has a purpose. The problem is that I collect too many little pieces of paper and various other items and I tend to not spend enough time organizing them and dealing with them in a constructive fashion. My desk usually winds up being a mess of notes jotted on pieces of paper, magazines, photocopied articles from the library, books, photographs, and various correspondence that I need to attend to or file away somewhere.

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by 03.11.2009
at 09:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Glaucoma and You

by Stephen Carter-Novotni 03.10.2009
Posted In: Money at 08:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Get 25 Free Resumes from Kinko's Today

It's not exactly a stimulus package, but every little bit helps.

Today only, FedEx Office (a.k.a. Kinko's) will print up to 25 copies of your resume for free.

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by Sara Beiting 02.12.2009
Posted In: Science at 03:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Got Diabetes, Get Inked

I think I'm in love. Just think: Instead of pulling out my gear at the bar to test my levels, all I'll have to do is check my skin. So in love.

Fantastic research has developed a ink using nano technology that can be used in tattoo and will change if blood sugar levels get outside the normal range. Of course this is all still experimental.

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by Trent Hamm 01.14.2009
Posted In: Organization at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Update on Reselling Used Clothing

After my recent article about new restrictions on used children’s clothes from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), I received a flood of correspondence from angry and confused readers who were quite upset with the proposed changes. I compiled a number of these emails and forwarded them on to a few email addresses at the Consumer Product Safety Commission and to my local congresspeople.

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