Showing posts from 2013

Longing for God in Advent

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I." (Isaiah 58:6-9) 
For four days last week I fasted and prayed in Solana Beach in solidarity with Fast for Family on the National Mall in Washington, DC. This created an opportunity for me to celebrate Advent in a new way. Advent is a time of waiting, of longing for God to appear as God-With-Us, Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. 
In the pa…

Why I'm Fasting This Week for Immigration Reform

Today I'm restarting my a fast in solidarity with Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration and Citizenship.
Last Tuesday I finished two days of water-only fasting in the Fast for Families tent on the National Mall. I was compelled to fast in solidarity with the five core fasters who began November 12 and to join them in person. 
I began fasting after worship and lunch on Sunday in Solana Beach and caught a red-eye to DC that evening. I arrived at the tent Monday morning with just my backpack with a change of clothes. We began the morning with an orientation: putting on the brown ACT FAST hoodie, introducing of core fasters of Rudy, Eliseo, DJ, Lisa and Christian and telling stories why we all were fasting.

The tent is set up as a memorial shrine to those who daily die crossing the desert (1-2) or are deported (1100). There are pictures of immigrants posted on the wall, and a shoe found in the desert from an immigrant who didn’t survive the trek to America. At the entrance to the ten…

The Cross and the Cause: Back to the Tent

Sunday night. I am sitting in the terminal in SFO awaiting my third DC red eye since July. The first was to attend the Pray4Reform Day of Action and Prayer, the second was my visit to the Oval Office. Somewhere along the way I need to change my handle from "accidental" to "intentional" advocate. 

It's been seventeen days since my unexpected meeting with President Obama and faith leaders to discuss the moral urgency of immigration reform. After that meeting I visited the Fast for Reform tent, a group raising awareness for immigration reform by fasting, praying and telling their stories. They were barely a day into their 20 day fast.

We spent about thirty minutes together sharing stories. Then, Patrick the Franciscan Action Network leader, handed me a cross on a lanyard, and asked me to lead in prayer.  I assured them we (the President and faith leaders) were each working hard in our own way to see immigration reform passed sooner than later. 

Since our meeting I ha…

Good Rest and Good Work: God’s Shaping of Christian Life Through the Gift of Sabbath

(written by Brendan McClenahan)
Teach me work that honors Thy work, the true economies of goods and words, to make my arts compatible with the songs of the local birds.
Teach me patience beyond work and, beyond patience, the blest Sabbath of Thy unresting love Which lights all things and gives rest.
Wendell Berry, Given

In 1967, futurists testifying before a senate subcommittee predicted the rise of technology in the 21st century would cause a problem: too much spare time. According to their calculations, the average American workweek would be reduced from 40 hours to 22 hours by 1985.  It doesn’t take much research to discover that they were wrong. As American culture became increasingly global, connected, technological, and consumer-driven, busyness of Americans rose through the roof. In 2004, studies showed that Americans worked 2 more hours per day than Italians and Germans.
Not only are we working harder, we are resting less. Americans are sleeping an average of 2.5 hours less than we did 1…

The Power of Telling Our Stories: Part Two of My Unexpected Meeting with the President of the United States

I left the West Wing of the White House and immediately called my wife. "Amy, I found out why I was asked to meet with the President." And I told her the story of my op-ed, and the opportunity I had to tell the story of our church and immigration reform. 

Before the meeting in the Oval Office I heard about the Fast for Families group camping on the Mall in view of Capitol Hill. I wanted to see their commitment to immigration reform expressed in fasting and praying until the House brings something to the floor to vote on immigration reform. 
I hailed a cab, and discovered the driver emigrated from Ghana over 30 years ago. I mentioned I had just met with the president. I told him I was a pastor and I met with the president to discuss immigration reform.
Surprised, he said, “I’m a Christian. And I’m a Presbyterian.” I took his hand and prayed a short blessing for him.
Ali took me to a row of tents on the Mall in front of Capitol Hill with a banner that read, “Fast for Families: A C…