Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Well Said

OK, so it's been a while. I knew this would happen when I became a nerd blogger. Not that I don't have a lot to say. Just time. But I read this and wanted to broadcast it a little more. Someone else's thoughts, but certainly some that have echoed between my ears more than once. Check it out....

Mark O's Blog

I promise I'll get back on the horse soon.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Our Tsunami?

Not sure who said this, or if it was a headline in some newspaper. I'm not underestimating the tragedy - I want to help and am looking for ways to do just that and mobilize others to serve. However, a couple of thoughts...
  1. Latest death tolls for the most recent Tsunami are somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000. As of February 2005, almost 2 months after the Tsunami, they were still finding 500 bodies a day in Indonesia (which lost some 160,000 people).
  2. There was no advance warning for people to evacuate, unlike every hurricane we'll ever experience. Sure, the structural demolition is comparable, but think of the human lives saved because some did hear the warnings and evacuate. Just thoughts.

I think our country is learning a lot right now, and I'm excited to see so many people put others first.

BTW, if you haven't seen Hotel Rwanda yet, you should. One intersting quote from the movie that's worth discussion: there is a clip where a reporter says that Americans will just watch the news and see the tragedy and then go back to their dinners and say "Oh how awful."

I think we're guilty of doing that with disasters and famine and political genocide that happens in "other places." Well, we're getting a firsthand taste this time. I hope our hearts & eyes remain open.

Where Was God When Katrina Hit?

"Where Was God When Katrina Hit?"
Maybe you've asked that question. Perhaps you've heard that from others from time to time. Here's an interesting link with articles that address that question. One in particular to read and pass along was written by Luis Palau shortly after 9/11. It's very appropriate and addresses the conversations we're bound to have. Check it out here.

Ways To Help Churches In the Gulf States

Here's a post from IDES website,, where you can go to donate funds that will be distributed through local churches. Here is the latest bit of interesting stuff from their site:

URGENT NEED! Thank you for caring. It is heartbreaking to see the destruction that Katrina has caused. The hardest part for all of us will be waiting until it is safe enough to begin helping. We have been in contact with Rick Grover of Journey Christian Church in New Orleans. Rick Grover has been told it may be two months or more before they can get back to their church and home. You may get current information about this church by going to ( or( You may donate online by going to IDES website: Click on the 'PAY PAL' button and follow the directions. IMPORTANT: Please put your address in the SHIPPING ADDRESS box so we may send you a receipt. Checks should be made payable to IDES and sent to -P.O. Box 60, Kempton, IN 46049. Write 'hurricane relief' on the memo line of the check. 100% of funds designated in this manner will be used for hurricane relief. The following ministries are currently providing food and other items for evacuees/or relief workers. We recommend you contact these ministries to coordinate delivery of goods. 1. Garry Jones, minister, Real Life Ministries of Louisiana, Pineville, LA 71360. Telephone: Home – 318-640-3635; Shop – 318-443-0029; cell – 318-613-0416. 2. Jason Corder, minister, Forest Park Christian Church, Crowley, LA. Telephone # is 337-783-2754 or 337-581-9230. They could use the following items: Baby wipes Tissues Disposable diapers Blankets Pillows Air mattresses Tooth brushes & tooth paste Shaving cream, razors Feminine hygiene Bottled water Underwear T-shirts Shorts Towels, soap Please do not gather anything until you first contact one of these ministries to coordinate delivery. IDES does not have the resources to collect or store these items. IDES is considering sending $10,000.00 to -Bay Area Christian Church, Houston, TX to provide food for evacuees. At this time they do not have room for more items. MATCHING FUNDS OF $25,000.00 COMMITTED – Fern Creek Christian Church, Louisville, KY is taking a work crew to Sunbelt Christian Camp which is south of Jackson, MS. The crew will begin doing “clean up” work. Some from this church will be on the field for the next several months. If you want to take a work crew to Mississippi please contact – The communication person will be able to tell you what to bring etc. TEMPORARY HOUSING FOR SURVIVORS Many have offered their homes for evacuees. IDES does not have the resources to facilitate this kind of program. The following information was sent to IDES by Doug Delp. Doug was trying to organize our Christian Camps as shelters for survivors. “I have just been contacted by a V.O.A.D. director (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster s from Dallas, TX. He has said that a decision has been made to not encourage secondary temporary housing for hurricane Katrina victims. Secondary housing is no longer encouraged. They need roots to begin not “reshuttled.” He encourages us to promote the Red Cross’s program for relocating Katrina victims in homes. BUT THE FOLLOWING IDEAS ARE CURRENTLY WORKING. 1. Communities that have private or government apartments available with families, churches, or organizations that can help defray 1 – 6 months rent should sign up with the RED CROSS. 2. American and Southwest Airlines have free plane tickets for Katrina victims to relocate to other area of the country. 3. Any homes where Katrina Victims would not be left in the home during the day with your children can sign up to have them stay with you. 4. Katrina victims need to be incorporated into our communities, e.g. children in school, adults finding work and/or establishing an address. CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE FOR MORE RESOURCES: (

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Benefit Concert

My friend Allan Rhodes has coordinated a benefit concert that will be held this Thursday from noon to 9 pm at the Anderson Town Center (across from the Paramount Theatre) in beautiful downtown Anderson, Indiana. If you're around, hope you'll come.
  • Bands performing include:
  • Souled Out, a rhythm & blues horn band
  • Little Wing, classic rock
  • Dan Daugherty, variety
  • Mud Eye Joe, blues
  • Bob Stephens, gospel
  • Gregory Rhodes, country
  • Gordon Brookes, saxophone jazz
  • John Rinfrow, country rock
  • Allan Rhodes, acoustic rock/gospel
  • Dave Coplin and the Coptones, acoustic mountain punk

All donations will be accepted by the Anderson Fire Department and will be distributed to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross. Several food vendors will be set up as well, and some have committed a portion of their proceeds toward the effort. Plenty of ways to contribute - here's another. Come enjoy some music and food on Thursday and show your support!

Top 10 Signs Gas Prices Are Getting Too High

10. Can now swap farm animals right at pump as barter for fuel
9. Putting "kick me" sign on back of car as alternative way to get down road
8. Super heroes now car pooling to fight villains
7. Wildest police chases videos now reduced to about a block and half, then "Adam 12" reruns
6. Construction begins on giant, downhill Hotwheels tracks
5. Church tithes hiked for third time in four weeks to keep church bus going
4. To reduce drag, Jethro drives under low bridge, cleans Granny off top of truck
3. Blood conveniently taken from arm right at pump
2. Mortgage bankers set up tables at gas station entry for easy funding of fill-up
1. New hybrid vehicle, "Schwinn Prius"
Copyright 2005 Dave Tippett (

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Grassroots Gettin' It Done

This was an email from a church in Louisiana. Making it happen without asking for government handouts. Read...

Greetings from Crowley Louisiana,
The first loads of your supplies rolled into Acadiana this weekend from two different directions. A group of six students and professors from Johnson Bible College brought a truckload of donated supplies from campus and ministered in one of the areas larger shelters, the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. As with everyone who comes face to face with this disaster they were amazed by the numbers and needs of the refugees that have flooded into our area.

In addition to the Johnson group the Indian Creek Church in Indianapolis Indiana sent a truck loaded to the max with water, medical, and everyday hygiene and cleaning supplies. They were immediately unloaded at a local distribution point and put in the hands of refugees. Medical supplies were also delivered to a very thankful refugee nursing home and med center that are constantly in need of supplies.

The Forest Park Church currently has undertaken a number of ministries to help those stranded indefinitely by this disaster. We have since last Tuesday been helping to feed a thousand or more refugees here in the immediate Crowley area. Each evening we, along with other volunteers in our community, work to provide a hot meal and pass out supplies to all in need.

We are working to help fill the enormous gap left by the Red Cross by distributing your aid to those in great need all around Southern Louisiana. The Red Cross appears more interested at this point in assessing than they do in helping many areas around the State.

Even as I write this letter a team of our Church members are traveling to Bogalusa LA to meet a truck of supplies from Pineville Christian Church in Winston-Salem NC. This small town, near New Orleans hasn’t received any aid from FEMA, and only a few meals from the Red Cross, and are in great need of simple supplies like water and food.

A Church member’s step-mother is the mayor of Eunice a town to the North of Crowley. Their community has set up 15 shelters housing over 3000 refugees without receiving any outside aid from any of the relief organizations. We plan to funnel some of your help in their direction. The list goes on and on, but you get the idea.

Mrs. Priscilla is working with the Ladies of the congregation in what we call the "Laundry mission" an effort to provide washing machines at the local Laundromat free of charge so the refugees can wash what clothes they brought.
The students are working to organize school supplies for kids from kindergarten through college who have been forced by the situation to enroll in area schools.

If your Church would like to help financially we would appreciate that as well. We have ever growing expenses with the distribution of aid. The wide area of devastation and even wider area of refugee dispersion causes us to spend a lot of time and fuel to keep supplies going. We are also involved in buying food for meals, and laundry expenses as well.

Thanks to all of you who are working so hard to help us by gathering supplies and financial help. Below will be a list of needed supplies as well as addresses to send financial help to our relief fund (see the website listed below).

Before I wrap up this note I want to make a plea. For Christians it should be second nature, and yet sometimes we all need reminded. This weekend the load of aid from Indian Creek contained a few Bibles, as refugees got boxes of supplies the workers there told me that more than anything the people remarked "look they put a Bible in here". In this time of disaster many are turning to God and his Word. Before you close the doors of your trailer see if you can make some room for some Bibles, maybe take your Church stamp and mark the cover, or maybe let members write a short note inside. Let’s let them know that these gifts are to the glory of God.
Please continue to be in prayer for the work, and safety of those carrying out these tasks!
Jason Corder
Forest Park Church

So Much To Say

OK, so I've got so much on my mind, I'm going to let a few others do the talking for me.

Is anyone else just sick of the self-appointed social psychologists out there who seem to have figured out all on their own all that has gone wrong with the Katrina disaster? My first thought is "Why are they continually putting these people on TV?" Followed only by my second realization, "Because the people putting them on TV seem to be members of the same club!"

Not that its the case with all involved. Lots of objective reporting, people who care, those whose first concerns aren't to assign blame but help their fellow human beings. But the idiots are attempting to run the village. Just a few...

  • Kanye West, a rapper who for some reason we assume has something to say so we let him speak (?). He speaks out on a benefit concert on NBC and shows his ignorance: " George Bush doesn't care about black people" and went on to say that America is set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible." I guess Kanye thought instead of pulling people together during the worst natural disaster in the history of our country, why not just add some race fuel to the fire? Unfortunately, there are others who really believe this nonsense. I'm thankful that its a minority.
  • Celine Dion. I'm not sure I should say any more, but it must be done. Her interview on Larry King Live had a lot of gems, including 'How come it's so easy to send planes in another country, to kill everyone in a second, to destroy lives," at a time when Americans need to serve their own country, she said. Hey Celine, that's a good point. So why don't you go back to CANADA? BTW, Celine did pledge $1 million to the relief effort. (not bad...that $832,500 she made per week at Caesar's Palace in 2004 should more than cover that...don't get me started on her wedding costs and her vow renewal extravagance).
  • Of course Michael Moore. He writes " Dear Mr Bush: Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in
    New Orleans and need to be airlifted, Moore tells in a letter published on his website.Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?" I just hope Michael and his cameras do their homework a little better. The hurricane hit on Sunday. ABC News headline on Monday night was "New Orleans Saved." The flood wall broke Tuesday and the waters came in. In less than 48 hours, the place THE SIZE OF GREAT BRITAIN was engaged with federal government support. Is there some way Moore can move in with Celine and what's his name in Canada?
  • Jesse Jackson. Showed up just in time to get his face on TV. Jackson says the change needs to come in the form of more food, more water and more rescues. He says there also needs to be a change in the way the world is viewing those hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. "The imagery of blacks as refugees and blacks as thugs and blacks as a threat has complicated the relief efforts," said Jackson.
    The Reverend Jackson told supporters they should consider holding off on making donations to the Red Cross -- if that agency refuses to set-up relief efforts in areas it deems too dangerous.
    "For the Red Cross to use as a reason for not going in at all 'fear..." they're reputation is for going into war zones! There is no evidence of a mass riot in the mud in New Orleans," said Jackson.

Well, Jesse, we all are very aware that New Orleans and other major cities are home to an unfortunately large number of urban poor. They also happen to be disproportionately black. Oh, and TV cameras captured a lot of them with guns, shooting at people who were there to help. Get your facts straight. Oh, and I hear there's room up at Celine's place in Manitoba.

  • Last but not least, Oprah. She's apparently there doing her show today, so now we can all rest easy knowing that O is in NO. I'm sorry, but that just seems distracting, doesn't it? I'm sure she's one of many ("real" news people are all over the place and necessary). Isn't there a makeover somewhere that needs attention? Shouldn't she be in Paris shopping? Anyway, came across this gal for whom I'm unfamiliar. But I liked her blog. Read her stuff on Oprah, Kanye West, and others. It's hard hitting, amusing, etc. Her name is Debbie Schlussel, and apparently she takes on Bill Maher a lot on his show, and is a frequent guest on Bill O'Reilly (please don't confuse this blog entry with anys sort of commendation for his show...) Read Schlussel's take on Ophrah, Celine, Kayne, Jesse et all....

I'm extremely bothered by all that has happened, and my heart breaks for the people there that are affected. It's a time for our nation to unite and work together. The stories of how that is happening on a grassroots, no-red-tape level are very compelling (read my previous blog). But this will last a long, long time. So far, I'm very proud and pleased of what I'm seeing from God's people and how they are responding. Looking to put the serving towel over my arm and make a difference too. Hope some of these high-profile people will do the same, and stop dividing our country.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dumb Things I Heard This Week

I guess I'm sort of glad I don't have cable. I'm addicted to the coverage of what's happening in New Orleans and surrounding regions. It's hard not to have your heart grabbed and squeezed by what has happened. I can't begin to even imagine what people are experiencing.

I've listened to a lot of commentary about the situation, some of which I agree with, some of which I don't. But there have been a couple of comments I heard that were just plain dumb.

#1 - Heard a guy in the locker room sort of flipantly say "Ah, they've been through it before." OK, so it was the first day, when we thought it was just another hurricane passing through. I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn't say that a few days after the storm hit. But so what? So what if they've had their lives uprooted and their houses destroyed once before? So what if its not the first time that dead bodies are littering their neighborhoods? Again, I can't imagine what the whole thing must be like for those folks. But for some to go through it multiple times? Like its supposed to be "old hat?" Sure, they live in an area where it can and does happen from time to time. And there are some who chose to live there that could move elsewhere (not true for many of the urban poor in most cities in the US). Nonetheless, its a calous attitude to have to off the cuff say "they've been through it before," as though somehow they're old pros at having their lives completely rearranged.

#2 - Guy on a talk show who asked "So where are all of the countries that we're constantly helping? Why aren't they stepping up to help us?" The absurdity here is rampant...
  1. most of the countries we've helped are poor anyway;
  2. we're only a few days into this tragedy - who's to say some countries might not help down the road?
  3. we're the richest country on the planet - we have EVERY resource we need to help make this relief effort the biggest in history - IF and only IF we can see past "me" long enough to have our hearts engaged in what's going on with people in the region

If you want to help, there are many ways. World Vision is a good one. Our church is working mostly with International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES), a long-standing worldwide organization that works through churches in affected regions all over the world. Check them out and get involved.

If you want to see some amazing pictures, try this: