Monday, December 24, 2007

Dream of Flying

When will the moment be when we pick up and fly? Like a penguin who has the means, but cannot take wing we sit here still on this earth with the means to take flight and find what we are looking for and yet the glorious burden of what we are supposed to do acts as the hurricane, the rainy day the dreary weight upon our shoulders that keeps us from reaching our fullest potential.

At this place we stand weighted by the rain, and like the penguin we go through our lives looking for that gust of wind that will one day allow us to take to the air. We lust for it, we daydream about the day in which we will have the financial stability, the time away from work, the completion of the mortgage, and yet while we wait, the sun rises and sets smiling at us each and everyday, begging us to come and join in the fun of God's great wonderland. The wealth of this life cannot ever be realized until this mediatative and beautiful journey can take place.

That is why I plan on taking a trans-american bicycle tour upon completion of my year a Cap Corp. If life is meant to be lived, what are we waiting for? I write this blog more as an accountability to myself to actually do this than anything else really to put it forth into the world to say that something so seemingly crazy will be completed.

Through this trip I hope to find meaning, I hope to find a deeper understanding of whether God is really calling me to the ministry of the Church, I hope to find a deeper understanding of what the plan for me and all of God's children here on earth, I will never find the complete answer, but to be in pursuit of it must be to some extent our calling on this journey.

Just wanted to share the lyrics to one of my favorite songs in the whole world and I hope that the meaning that I have found out of this prose maybe also inspiring to you.

Dream of Flying
Alexi Murdoch

"Pale light this morning

Woke me
Slow pain I feel
Will not let me be

So much work to do
I don't know if I can
Trying so hard, so hard, so hard
But I know that I'm just one man

Five years old I climbed up on the wall
My mother warned me but I took no heed
Like all creatures great and small
I took a fall and found out I could bleed

These days I'm afraid of everything
Suppose cause everything will die
Thought it was to love what they will lose
So much easier to lie

Sometimes I fell like I'm drowning
Actually it's more like most of the time
But every now and then when I'm sleeping
I still have a dream that I'm flying

And I wake up crying"

Be a flying penguin!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Onto 2008

They say that the revolution of the new world will never be televised. These beliefs are founded in mountains of evidence seen on the broken streets of Milwaukee that pass under my bicycle wheels every day on my ride to work. News Release! The corporation, George Bush or the American Idol will not save us from the jobless cities, minimum wage jobs, under-funded schools, violent gang wars, racial segregation lines, and blatantly unequal access to opportunities in the social structure. For it is only by OUR hard work in which the seeds of justice will be sewn.

What have things come to? When the streets of Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago are divided so staunchly that the only thing we hear about each other comes from the mind draining visual plastic opiates that sit in our living rooms. We are not simply mindless consumers of propaganda and ridiculous garbage that advertisements convince that we need.

We are people and as people, we are members of families, communities, neighborhoods, churches. Yet we have become so isolated! When did we give up on getting to know people that are different than us? Did we ever have this?I know that we have, and amidst the muck we see community built at places like the Catholic Worker, the Lions Club, Town Hall Meetings, neighborhood organizations, the examples of small seedlings bursting and poking out to rear their faces in the desert are too many to number and these seedlings certainly have the potential to grow into flower and fruit. Recently, I've been reading the book of Acts and I am convinced that the community that was formed then around the body of Christ might be one of the great examples that we have of a human world community family, when we give everything up and follow the prophetic word of God, great community has the opportunity to arrive. I don't mean to be preachy here, and I apologize if I come across that way, but instead I wish to point out the optimism and great movement of a committed group of individuals that share a vision of "the way that things should be." This is not to say that the way in which the church has acted recently is any indicator of this, but community is certainly evident in our religious movements, our civic movements and only when we can unify in solidarity can a new world be possible.

This God gives us the power to go into the streets of Milwaukee, Detroit, and Chicago with word and action that says we are not going to put up with this corporate domination and exploitation of this human community for any longer. This God is a God of Peace and God that speaks to us. When our streets look like bombed out Falajuah and Baghdad where is the freedom that George W says were spreading to the world in our own communities? To what do we have freedom to we ask? Freedom to access dingy minimum wage jobs that leave us homeless on streets, that leave our children's mouths at the mercy of food shelters, that put our teenage brothers and sisters with no other choices except for hustling drugs, violence, and eventual incarceration, freedom to house our families in burnt out urban homes? And yet each and every one of us in our human community is valuable. We are valuable to be active participating individuals working in the Kingdom of God's community to enact real social change. Each and every one of us, every welfare mom, every homeless beggar, every drug addicted burnout, every Wal-Mart sales associate trying to get by has human dignity.

This is not about charity, this is not about simply feeling sorry for the least of us, this is about empowerment, this is about realizing the great abilities and talents that each and everyone of us has to be an important, positive member of our community.This empowerment has to be evident! Who are we?! What do we stand for? For if we stand for nothing, we will truly be defeated. We all know that when the current structure of power is not challenged, it will certainly take its stand and bulldoze all the concepts of equality, democracy, comradely and love. At the disposal of this structure of power is the money that was stolen from our brothers and sisters; the profit to coerce and allow members of our community to be paid large sums of money to work against their own families. But we must live in hope; this hope is one of the only things that we can cling to in 2008. Because there are so many voices, so many brothers and sisters that feel the same way as I do about our broken communities. And although it sometimes seems hopeless, this is a battle that we can win!

The power of the corporation is powerful, but the Lord's power of justice that inhabits all of our souls deep down inside is so much stronger. The power of love knows no boundaries and when that power amasses, the constructs of social inequality will collapse on their own fallacies of justice.

So go into this New Year with great love, great hope and compassion knowing that the struggle will be hard, but certainly is doable.

God Bless Everyone!


P.S. I didn't know where to fit this in, but on a boarded up door of a burnt out door of a once vibrant Detroit business was spray painted "Where are the 200 thousand troops to protect this city?" It had quite an impact on me and I thought I would share it.

*"Surviving Decay" Graphic was drawn by my favorite visual artist ever. Eric Drooker, please check out www. to see more art from Eric.

Monday, December 3, 2007

International Human Rights Day-Dec 10th

Why hello computer/cyber world! I hope that the holidays are filling people's lives with love, grace and the values of community.

Things at the Faith Community for Worker Justice are going very well. Robin, my volunteer student from Alverno College has committed to helping out 20 hours a week next semester to advance the mission that the Faith Community for Worker Justice is working on through 2008. With that said, things are looking up!

The Capital Returns Campaign is going much better now thanks to the work that the Faith Community for Worker Justice put into it. Thanks to the protest at the plant and panel discussion that were organized by FCWJ, the United Steelworkers, the labor union that is working within the plan has stepped up their internal organizing at the company and has sent an organizer all the way from Philadelphia to work specifically on this campaign until it is won. Way to go for making sure that we advance human rights for low wage workers at Capital Returns. Hopefully soon we will have a union organized at Capital Returns and the ridiculous health and safety issues that were and have been making the folks who work there choose between their jobs or their health will be alleviated and the workers at Capital Returns can labor with dignity.

Dec 10th is just around the corner and with this date comes International Human Rights Day. A day that Milwaukee will celebrate along with the rest of the world in conjunction with the United Nations. The event in Milwaukee is being organized by me, but not really sponsored by FCWJ in the same way that most events are. The idea around international human rights day this year is to highlight the work that all sorts of area non profits are working on around Milwaukee.

Sponsoring organizations in include:

9to5- the working women's organization
Citizen Action- a direct action community organizing group in Milwaukee
Good Jobs Livable Communities-a community based labor group
Milwaukee Network for Social Change-who organizes the "free market"
WISCOSH-the Wisconsin Committee for Occupational Safety and Health
Running Rebels- an inner city youth empowerment organization
Democracy Matters- a organization committed to spreading democracy through education
Lutheran Human Relations Association-a Lutheran based social justice organization
United Steelworkers- a labor union supporting the workers
Faith Community for Worker Justice-a interfaith religious/labor group
Greater Milwaukee Human Rights Council-dedicated to advancing human rights in Milwaukee

At this event we should also be having Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Mayor Tom Barrett, Senator Spencer Coggs discuss the importance of human rights. Other speakers will include Pastor Tim Berlew from Greenfield Memorial Methodist Church and Rose Daitsman-Greater Milwaukee Human Rights Council who will release the executive summary of human rights in Milwaukee.

Human Rights are important to all of our organizations, each of our organizations works on addressing these different issues that fall under the veil of human rights and yet so much of the time we don't get the chance to recognize that.

International Human Rights Day will address Human Rights as they relate to all of us and our struggles to make sure that people are treating with dignity, love and compassion in the world. This event will highlight the commonalities that we all have in our passions to create a better world.

If you can make it, please join us at the City Hall Rotunda at 3:00 pm on Monday, Dec 10th.

Hopefully everyone has a super happy holiday and enjoys their time spent with friends, family and loved ones.