this week’s roundup (april 2)

TreeHugger has a post on High Speed Rail, while I’m not the train nerd my friend Rudy is, I do enjoy taking the train when possible (i.e. family trip to Chicago and a couple trips back to Iowa). Making a serious commitment to improve the rail infrastructure and introduce a real high-speed system is a good thing in my mind, but, as the article notes, if you going to do it, it needs to be done right.

Making Light has a nice summary of the Hutaree situation that happened in Adrian last weekend. Having not lived in Michigan during the first wave of militia activity, I find myself fascinated by this, as well as a little nervous, Adrian is just a 10 mile drive from my home – and also happens to be the location of my denomination’s Annual Conference. (Note to my brothers and sisters in the Detroit Conference: Please leave the camo and automatic weapons at home this year).

Donald Miller’s blog continues with it’s solid output – today he shared a short meditation on what Peter might have written to fellow believers immediately after Jesus’ crucifixion. I love the line:

“Perhaps he was a fool, perhaps he was mad, but he was mad with a love emboldened by an unseen authority that I simply cannot explain.”

He also showed pastors a little love this week (and yeah it feels a little self-indulgent to post that… oh well).

Miller also hit on a theme that has been a big part of my thinking in the last year or two – the whole idea of finding a common ground, the “radical center”, or the “third way” that moves beyond the divisive attitudes that are so prevalent right now. Miller’s article addresses the problem of “black and white” thinking. In a similar vein Mike Slaughter this week offered some thoughts on “The Way of the Cross vs the Political Divide”. I’d consider Slaughter’s article a must read, for thoughts like this:

“Christ compels us to tear down the barriers that create religious, ethnic, gender and national conflict. If it’s not about healing and reconciliation, it’s not the Gospel.”

I’ve also been slowly working my way through the book Follow Me To Freedom by Shane Claiborne and John Perkins and in there Shane writes:

“We can’t just write people off because we disagree with them. we need to start thinking ‘What is behind that?’ – even when we disagree [with] them or don’t particularly like their style. Even the Religious Right has leaders, albeit leaders some folks may disagree with. But if we aren’t careful we will write off all their followers if we don’t engage their message and the reasons that folks followed and are still following them. Jesus was always inviting dialogue with His critics. He was able to draw together a pretty eclectic dinner conversation. Look at His followers. He was able to bring to the same table a zealot revolutionary and a Roman tax collector. Zealots killed tax collectors for fun on weekends. What a mix… and all of them were being transformed into a new creation in Christ.”

I also stumbled upon this video (via Seth Godin). There is one word, as well as a gesture some might find objectionable, but if you aren’t easily offended check it out – the message of Taylor Mali’s poem is a great – and it’s always good to send some love to my teacher friends.