Number 10

Well, Gordon Brown is officially in. A refreshing perspective on the UK's new leader is offered here by Jim Wallis, renowned politically involved evangelical. (Props to the Illuminate Blog for highlighting it.) Wallis replaces the common description of "dour" with "passionate" and believes Brown could be the man needed to help in the fight for global economic justice.
It's easy to swing from skeptical to excited and I don't think we have enough to go on to have our hopes fly to high, but it is a relief that there is one very on to it person out there who has faith in Mr Brown, eh?!!
Here is a bit of a Gordon speech, quoted in Jims article:
Because we all want to address the roots of injustice, I can tell you today that we will strengthen and enhance the work of the department of international development and align aid, debt relief and trade policies to wage an unremitting battle against the poverty, illiteracy, disease and environmental degradation that it has fallen to our generation to eradicate.
That is a ripper promise, and lets pray he's not just talk.


To drink or not to drink

Bummer, that last question of that last post was meant to stir debate between the Starbucks Moccachino lovers and the staunch "Starbucks still sucks completly because such a tiny percentage of their coffee is Fair Trade and they take away from organic community life" crowd (thats me.)
I think our family has decided that we will have one Starbucks coffee in order to celebrate and encourage them in this step towards justice, but then after that continue to boycott them on the premise that they can do a whole lot more (or maybe just shouldn't exist!) Hehe.
More on Coffee and Injustice: Last year Blackgold was released in NZ. It is an awesome film and I implored every kiwi to see it! Well, it has finally been released here in the UK. It is not just about fair trade but about the whole coffee industry so interests a wide variety of people. See here for screenings.


Campaigning does work!

Do you remember last year me ranting and raving about Starbucks screwing over Ethiopia? Well, Starbucks have finally come to the party, here's the official blurb: "Starbucks and Ethiopia have finally signed a licensing agreement securing Ethiopia's ownership over its speciality coffee names Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe. This comes after about 8 months of campaigning, more than 96,000 people across the globe calling on Starbucks - through emails, faxes, phone calls, postcards, and in-store visits - to honour their committment to Ethiopian farmers." Awesome eh? Justice bought about through the humble actions of passionate individuals and the brave voice of organisations like the Salvation Army.
So do we start drinking Starbucks?!


bit late but never mind...

World Refugee Week has just finished! This time last year when I was blogging about refugee week I was just begining my journey of friendship with a wonderful refugee family from Myanmar who I helped settle into New Zealand life. It was such a privilege to become part of their life and I them and was so hard to say bye when we left Aotearoa. Since then they have had a gorgeus new addition to the family, little Daniel, and have just got a car and a license and their English is improving everyday. Praise the Lord.
I have just been reading about refugees here in the UK - there are 2 and half thousand unaccompanied refugee children in London alone, and an estimated 200 asylum seekers arriving every week through my local bus station. It is heart breaking to imagine how hard it is for them, and even sadder to think of the unwelcoming response they recieve from locals- "They sponge of the government"- that is common here in UK and NZ.
If you don't already, I encourage you to make a place in your life for the refugees and migrants in your neighbourhood. (Maybe you want to explore doing this through volunteering with an organisation. This is what I and a few friends have done. One fabulous friend told me last week that she went to visit her family and they had broken down a massive branch from their neighbours tree and it was stuck in their fire place and protruded out across the whole lounge- trying to keep warm in the frosty kiwi winter!! Anyway, if you are interested in that, kiwis check out RMS and those in UK check out Refugee Council)
So, anyway will finish this post with some of the one and only Dave Dobbyns poetry from the song "Welcome Home" which proved to be a powerful statement in New Zealand at a time when a few people were being very vocal about the influx of people from outside the borders....
tonight I am feeling for you
under the state of a strange land
you have sacrificed much to be here
‘there but for grace…’ as I offer my hand
welcome home, i bid you welcome, i bid you welcome
welcome home from the bottom of my heart
out here on the edge
the empire is fading by the day
and the world is so weary in war
maybe we’ll find that new way

so welcome home, see i made a space for you now
welcome home from the bottom of our hearts

there’s a woman with her hands trembling - haere mai
and she sings with a mountain’s memory - haere mai

there’s a cloud the full length of these isles
just playing chase with the sun
and it’s black and it’s white and it’s wild
all the colours are one

Salut again

Have been in France for 10 days with the whanau. Absolutley gorgeous, up in the Alps, swimming and croissants everyday: wonderful! I read a host of books while over there, mostly fantastical novels (ooh espionage is thrilling) with a couple of serious ones thrown in to help keep my mind anchored to reality. One of which was Irrestible Revolution by Shane Clairborne of the Simple Way. It was wicked eh, especially the second half. A bundle of great stories and quotes to articulate the thoughts of an increasing bunch of people. Thoughts about Jesus, church, love, political and social involvement. There are Christians in America who beleive that following Jesus involves activism other than outside abortion clinics, hurray for that. Well worth a read. Ask Steve if you can borrow his and Jo's copy. Or if you see it on someones bookshelf do try and pinch it.
I should maybe quote a bit but I think I am a bit lazy at the moment and anyway I feel a blogging spree coming on so some excerpts might fuel that a bit.


little kites and death (!)

I love kites. Up in the Lakes we wiled time away by soaring, diving and spinning Steves stunt kite. One time I climbed up a hill and watched the others play in the stormy weather. The little kite dashing about seemed like a rip or a tear in the fabric of the landscape- a dash of daring red. A kite up there high in the sky can be a picture for heaps of stuff I guess, but I love the thought that it is like the triumph over death that is ours because of Jesus. Who would think that a frail whisp of silk could dance about on the hinges of a massive weather diaster? Surely the wind would conquer it. But however mad the wind is the kite can always soar (if you have good kiting skills that is, otherwise you just get in a tangle.) Good for us that we don't have to have death fighting skills- that the victory over death is already won. Thank God, eh.


Winnifred Read

Early on Tuesday morning my Grandma passed away. Winnifred Read was one of the most beautiful, graceful, strong, prayerful, funny and vibrant people I knew (know?) As I was going to bed that night thinking of a world without my Grandma Nelson Mandella's words from the momentous occasion when he became president of South Africa were tripping through my mind-
The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement. A bit out of context I know but I couldn't shake the phrase. For that was Grandmas life- a glorious achievement in light, life and love. Grandma was a walking extravagance in loving God and loving others. I miss her like mad already and I know my Grandad, Dad and Aunty will be missing her even more, as well as the thousands others she has shone upon all around the world. It is that tangle of feelings- sadness and shock and peace and happiness that we know absolutley that right now she is hanging with her Creator and all the other Saints. The Salvation Army has a curious phrase for dieing - "promoted to glory". It is used so often that I forget it's meaning, but there is no better phrase for people like Grandma. I thank God for my beautiful Grandma and her new residence.


G8 stuff

So on Wednesday the worlds most powerful people are meeting up to do some serious talking. Although this exlusive rich Group of 8 shouldn't be ruling the world the fact is is that they pretty much do and can make decisions that impact millions for better or worse. So, if you are someone who talks to God how about talking to God about these talks?
Micah Challenge have a calender of prayers for the days surrounding these events.
If you want to keep a tab as things unfold in Germany, Oxfam are doing a live from the g8 blog special.
Let us believe that God can bring more than aid and debt relief; true freedom and empowerment for the developing nations. Would God do it through the G8? Shivers, who knows, but at least we can pray that they won't get in the way eh...


Until justice rolls like a river...

Yesterday we joined 10,000 others on the banks of the Thames in order to encourage Mister Blair to hold the G8 to their promises. (7 years ago the Millenium Development Goals were set- with the promise to have the accomplished by 2015. We are halfway there and the goals are no where near on track.)
(Here are some more photos of the day.)
It was a beautiful sunny day with all sorts of antics going on- pants to poverty stripped off to do a human sculpture on Parliament Sq, Micah Challenge held a cool prayer service-and it was rad to see so many (and such a variety) of people mobilised.
At the Micah Challenge service they showed this awesome video-
and although it is too late to come to the June 2nd Rally, it isn't too late to do the other actions. It takes 3 easy seconds to email your MP and the German chancellor.
On some of the signs it was written "We will not be satisfied untill justice rolls like a river." Amen to that one alright...


Concrete Hope

I am not just blogging slack....We have been away for the last week camping in the fabulous lake district with my bro-in-law and sister -very delicious, and then I have had Oxfam campaigning training in Birmingham of all place, which has been lots of laughs with a fantastic crowd.
While we were waiting for our train last night we were grazing a Brummy bookstore and I flicked through Rebbecca Solnits "Hope in the Dark: the untold story of people power" and liked this:
"Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. I say it because hope is an ax you can break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door..."
I think God clearly paints a a concrete hope in a world where those in slavery are free, where people without shelter have homes, where hungry people have food, where grief is turned to gladness. And in opposition to the doubt that cripples us, hope makes us spring to our feet- mobilised!
If you are in London and hope is shoving you out the door allow your feet to carry you to the banks of the river thames tommorrow, where thousands will be gathered to tell Tony to take a message of hope in promises to the G8. See the click of the week on the right there for more info.