The Language of Redemption & Grace

20 12 2010

I was watching this video over at Andy Cenci’s tumblr:

Something Makoto Fujimura says near the end…

“We have a language to celebrate waywardness…but we do not have a cultural language to bring people back home…”

And it’s haunting me.

As Christians, we need to engage culture.  And I think personally, that often, we need to engage culture where it lives, using its language and its structures as a way to breed familiarity, a feeling of safety, and to let people know that we’re all in the same boat, and that we all need the same forgiveness.

So I find it intriguing that what Fujimura says is that perhaps, at least in the arts, we need to search for the other voice;  that other language that is so shocking, so amazing, and so different than the current culture’s voice-so we may begin a transformation, rather than a simple engagement.

I don’t know what I think about it, but I present it to you so I can sleep. 🙂

P.S. – Andy is the newest staff member at Parkview.  He is one of the Student Ministries Directors.  He’s awesome.  (So is Alison too!)  🙂





How to REALLY Help in Haiti

14 01 2010

Donated ChangeI’m going to keep this brief, because I know there’s a low signal-to-noise ratio with this terrible disaster.  But I’ve done some research for a friend, and it’s come up with some fairly startling results.  I want to present the facts as best as I can, with organizations that are not only reputable, but forthcoming with their financials.

So, given that preface, the question is:

Where is the best place to donate my funds, if I want the most to come from my donation to help people in Haiti?

Here’s the deal:  Every charitable non-profit organization has operating costs, and costs that are incurred to simply raise money.  So, reputable organizations post this information publicly.  Most organizations do this through the Better Business Bureau, and the IRS.  Some choose to do so privately.  Another factor here is that when funds are given, are they given to a general fund, or something specific to the cause you wish to donate towards?

So, here’s my breakdown:

Samaritan's Purse Logo

My number one choice is Samaritan’s Purse (based out of Boone, NC, USA).

Samaritan’s Purse gives 89% (as of Fiscal Year 2008) towards programs. The other 11% break down as follows: 6% go towards fund-raising, and 5% goes towards general expenses and administrative costs.

There is one higher-profile organization that gives a higher percentage towards aid, which is the Red Cross.  However, the reason I did not choose them, is that unlike Samaritan’s Purse, where you can specify your donation to go only towards efforts to help Haiti, the Red Cross makes you donate towards an “International Relief Fund” which may or may not go towards this effort.

So, 89 cents of every dollar donated to Samaritan’s Purse goes DIRECTLY to work in Haiti.  They are already on the ground, working, helping and assessing how to best organize their efforts in the future.

I still think the Red Cross is doing a great job, and they’ve already pledged to give $1M towards Haitian relief.  That’s wonderful.  And the verbiage of their site seems to say that the “Texting Campaign” (where you send the word HAITI to 90999, and $10 gets donated to the Red Cross, and it shows up on your phone bill), WILL INDEED GO DIRECTLY TO RELIEF IN HAITI.  So, this appears to be the only way to send money to the Red Cross with a specific target for those funds.

Here’s what is most important:

1) PRAY.

There is terrible human tragedy going on, and God can move in amazing ways there.  Pray that God will send the right people, the right aid, with the right timing to help as many people as possible!

2) GIVE.

Give your funds to an organization you trust, and that you know will help folks out.  I suggest Samaritan’s Purse (I have ZERO AFFILIATION with them, by the way, just to be clear), but anywhere you’ve researched and trust with your funds, WILL HELP.

3) SPREAD THE WORD.

Your prayers and financial help WILL make a difference.  But combined with others?  If we’re smart and work together to make sure we’re maximizing our resources in this region, we can really work together to make a difference in these people’s lives, for a positive future.  Let’s educate each other on how charities work.  Let’s make sure people know that not all are alike!  Let’s help more people.  Now.

Thanks for reading.  I hope it was informative.

Note after publishing: The Red Cross gives 90% of its income to aid.  So it’s a 1% difference.  Just forgot to give the percentage for them.  Just wanted to be clear.