Sunday, April 30, 2006

Interfaith Prayers for Peace: A Quaker Worship Service

Seen in the calendar of the Columbus Free Press

12 noon - 1 PM. The May 4 prayer service will be a special Quaker worship service led by Jim Clark and Shelby Conrad. All are invited to attend. We gather together as communities of diverse faiths to:
- pray for peace
- promote peace, harmony, restraint, and interfaith understanding, and
- foster unity among people in Central Ohio and around the world.

Sponsored by: Faith Communities Uniting for Peace.

Location: St. Thomas More Newman Center (near OSU campus), 64 W. Lane Ave., Columbus OH 43201.

Email: butalia.1 at

Alternate link for comments

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Panel discussion on hate crimes in Columbus

To take place at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Columbus (on the campus of The Ohio State University) on Tuesday, April 25, from 6 to 9 p.m.

A Panel Dissussion, Hate Crimes as a Social Problem

Hated Crimes a Local Problem: Gloria McCauley, Ex Dir BRAVO

Hate Crimes a Moral Problem: Rev. Charles K Kuck, Senior Chaplain City of Dublin, Division of Police

Hate Crime as a Political Problem and Legislative Options for Responding: Democratic Rep. Dan Stewart and Republican Mike D. Wiles, Candidate for Ohio 25.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it because I'm teaching a class that night, but I would love to hear a report from anyone who does attend.

Alternate link for comments

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Habitat for Humanity Presentation

From the St. Thomas More Newman Center Bulletin

Habitat for Humanity Presentation - Please join us on
Wednesday, April 19 at 7:00 pm at the Newman Center for a
presentation of the Habitat trips to Mexico & Ghana and for
more information about the upcoming Columbus to Guatemala
mission trip in July. Questions? Please call team leader Susi
Havens-Bezaire at 614-210-0840. To see lovely pictures from
Mexico and last year’s mission to Ghana, please visit .

Click here for the Ohio State University Newman Center home page.

Alternate link for comments
The Episcopal Disocese of Ohio
Interfaith Update - April 3, 2006

Contents: Spiritual Sharing Gathering, B.R.E.A.D. rally, Interfaith Prayers for Peace - A Brethren Love Feast April 6, Unitarian Forum on Islam, Meditation Workshops, We Believe Plans, Ohioans Against Tobacco Use, Gubernatorial Forum, Chair of the National CAIR Board in Columbus, Living Peace Institute, Diversity Matters Looks at Films and News, Interfaith Coffee House, Robert Wuthnow speaks in Columbus, Bob Edgar’s Remarks at Legislative Action Day, Biblical Artifacts in Exhibition, UCHAN Training Day, Death and Dying Forum, Living Faith Awards.

Click for more

Alternate link for comments

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Remembering Rev. William Sloane Coffin

I was saddened to learn that Rev. William Sloane Coffin died today. I know that he had been gravely ill for a number of years, and his death is not unexpected. But I'm still sad that I never had a chance to meet him. Here's part of an interview he did with PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly:
Justice is at the heart of religious faith. It's not something that is tacked on. And justice is not charity. Charity tries to alleviate the effects of injustice. Justice tries to eliminate the causes of injustice. Charity is a personal disposition. Justice is public policy. What this country needs, what I think God wants us to do, is not practice piecemeal charity but engage in wholesale justice. And that's not only to erase or greatly reduce the wage gap and the living standards in America, but really to be committed to doing something about the horrible, really horrible poverty of at least one third of the people on the planet. If you want to do something good for national security, and every American should, take billions of dollars and wage war against world poverty. That would have a very sobering effect on terrorism. Terrorism now has a wonderful recruitment policy supplied by the United States foreign policy. If we were serious, with other nations, to engage the war on poverty around the world, that would stem the flow of recruits to the ranks of terrorists.

Alternate link for comments

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The "resurrection of the body"

In the Dispatch Faith and Values section, there was an article about a poll revealing that "only 36%" of Americans believe that their physical bodies will be resurrected some day. I started a discussion about that at Street Prophets.

As I said in that diary, I don't recall ever being taught that we would have the same body in the next life. For those of you who were raised in a Christian denomination, what were you taught about this? If your understanding of this has changed over the years, how?

Alternate link for comments

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sitting on your butt for justice

This is from the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Columbus) newsletter, and the numbers George cites are specific to our church, but the call to get involved in B.R.E.A.D is relevant to all people of faith in central Ohio...

A few Sundays ago we read the story of Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army. ( II Kings 5:1-14) Naaman is afflicted with leprosy and is told to go to Israel to the man of God, Elisha, and he will be healed. When he finally arrives at Elisha's door, Elisha tells him to wash 7 times in the Jordan River. Naaman is offended. As leper he had probably tried to heal his skin disease by bathing many times. And, why in the Jordan River? Why not one of the rivers in Damascus where he lives? Naaman goes off in rage.

One of his servants confronts him and says, If the prophet had asked you do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more then, if he asks such a small thing like this. So Naaman goes down to the Jordan, washes 7 times and the leprosy is cured.

I am writing this by way of confrontation. Let me play the servant and you play Naaman. Once a year, B.R.E.A.D. asks the members of St. Stephen's to come to an Action Assembly where some issue of justice will be presented and some person in authority will be asked to address it.

Such issues in the past have included transportation, affordable housing, education, and access to health care. It all begins with listening to the people in the 48 congregations that make up B.R.E.A.D. Then there is research, contact with experts and best practices, hearing from those most affected by the problem (usually the poor), and then carefully wording the issue so that those in power (usually elected officials) can bring their office to bear on it and bring about justice. The most important part of this is the Action Assembly where hundreds and hundreds of people are gathered. It is the very numbers of people that convince the elected officials that the issue needs to be addressed.

Numbers. In B.R.E.A.D. numbers are power. Two hundred people showing up for an Action Assembly on healthcare would never have gotten the County Commissioners to commit serious money to expanding the Neighborhood Health Care Centers. It is the presence of people from the 48 congregations that brings the victory.

St. Stephen’s does not seem to be able to turn out many people for these Action Assemblies. 30 or less is often our number. 40-50 are numbers we have achieved a few times. At best we bring 1/3 of our congregation. Usually it is more like 1/5. Maybe that means we really don’t care about justice in Columbus? I don’t think so. Maybe, what is closer to home, is that we are afflicted with Naaman’s disease.

I don’t mean leprosy. I mean thinking that such a small thing as committing our presence for 1 evening for 2 hours will really change the situation for poor people in Columbus. It doesn't seem like enough. Putting ourselves in a seat, occasionally chanting B.R.E.A.D. Rises!, and applauding when we get cooperation and staying silent when the officials are uncooperative - this may be just too little to ask of such a multi-talented and intellectually gifted group like us. I know sometimes I wonder with all that I have on my plate, why am I here ... just to sit?

Yet if sitting in a seat for 2 hours, once a year, can bring justice to those who are crying for it (and the track record of B.R.E.A.D. is pretty good at accomplishing this), then I will sit in that seat. My butt can take it! I have sat longer and suffered more for lesser results. So I will be there, will you? We need 100 people from St. Stephen’s to show up. The goal for turnout for the Action Assembly is 2000 from the 48 congregations. This would be the largest gathering ever for B.R.E.A.D.

This Issue is Education and Youth
The Date is Monday evening, May 8th
The Time is 6:30 p.m.
The Place is Congregation Tifereth Israel,
1354 East Broad Street

Yours in Christ,

Alternate link for comments