May 6, 2015

#vaccineswork

When something works it needs to replicated. Vaccines work.

I am a member of Rotary International, and have been for almost 20 years. I have seen firsthand how effective vaccines are in eliminating major diseases through our worldwide Rotary program to eradicate polio.

UNICEF is doing a great job, yet it’s incumbent on all of us to help close the gap.

#vaccineswork  Let’s help spread the word.

 

May 5, 2015

a business working to end hunger

The piece reprinted below was in my email hunger feed  this morning. I reprint it here because I applaud any effort to help end the unnecessary evil of hunger in a world of plenty.

I also want to encourage all of us to work more collaboratively to change the world. Working together we can create a world without hunger. Here is one new company that is demonstrating that with a new business model.

This Groundbreaking Business Model & Global Movement Is Helping To End Hunger

 
imprint

Imprint Hat Company, a new “self-sustainable” not-for-profit company, is on a mission to eradicate world hunger using their powerful new business model.

You’ve heard the statistics, read the news, and watched the infomercials: children are starving all over the world. It’s become such a commonplace story that, sadly, many of us have stopped paying attention to it. But here’s the thing – we don’t have to accept this reality. In fact, if everyone banded together and worked collectively to find a solution, experts are now saying it would be possible to completely crush this epidemic within our lifetime.

That’s where imprint Hat Co. comes in. More of a movement than an apparel company, their aim is to tackle global hunger head on by using the power of collective action.

Their high-quality, durable snapback hats look amazing and hold up to the major brands you’re used to buying from, with the idea being that if you’re going to part with your hard-earned buck, you should get both a top-end product AND have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your money is being used to make drastic global change.

Screen shot 2015-04-30 at 2.12.03 PM

To accomplish this, imprint Hat Co. gives back 100% of the profits to this cause. That’s right, 100%! Here’s how it works:

  • 50% of all profits go toward feeding a hungry child in the local community where each hat was sold, through their closest local partnered food bank
  • 50% goes to their international partner, One Day’s Wages, to fight hunger in the developing world

Where Did This Idea Come From?

It began as a passion project between a couple of friends and has since turned into the collaborated effort of a large number of young entrepreneurs and activists from all corners of Canada and the United States.

The idea was to create a new, sustainable model that could inspire change and create real, lasting global impact. They believed the old ways just weren’t cutting it.

The Problem:

  1. There are a lot of non-profit organizations around the globe doing a lot of good; however, most rely on external donations and funding/grants in order to remain sustainable.
  2. There are also a lot of good for-profit companies that make quality products that people want. Some give back portions, but at the end of the day they are still driven to make profits for their shareholders.

Their Solution:

Combine the two models. Find individuals who 1) share the same passion, and 2) don’t need profit as incentive.

Thus, imprint Hat Co. was born.

Seeing as they are still a new start-up without the large marketing budget that some of their competitors are afforded, they have taken a real grassroots approach, relying heavily on word-of-mouth awareness through social media and other channels.

Luckily they have caught the attention of a few big names already, including their new Global Ambassador and online viral video celeb, Prince Ea, to help get the word out.

At the end of the day, they believe tying social and environmental causes to business will be essential to creating the paradigm shift needed to make real, lasting change in the world. The team at imprint Hat Co intends to be the catalyst for this change, but they can’t do it alone.

Check out word from rapper/activist, Prince Ea, himself on their IndieGogo campaign at:http://igg.me/at/makeyourimprint/x

May 4, 2015

for the love of God

I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds, yet I willingly cure him for the love of God. -Mother Teresa

What do you do for the love of God? Is there something you would not do for any amount of money that you would willingly do for the love of God? Can you think of even one single thing?

It’s more than an interesting exercise. Our answers actually show a great deal about the depth of our discipleship, not to mention just how deep our love for God truly is.

May 3, 2015

a prayer for a world without poverty

I Dare to Pray For A World without Poverty

I dare to pray: Lord, let the world be changed,
For I long to see the end of poverty;
I dare to pray: Lord, let the rules be changed,
For I long to see our economic structures bring justice to the poor;
I dare to pray: Lord, let my life be changed,
For I long to bring hope where the Good News is needed.

In the strength of your spirit
And inspired by your compassion,
I make this promise to work for change,
And wait confidently for the day
When you make all things new
And those that weep will rejoice.

Peter Graystone

May 2, 2015

does motivation matter?

It is within my power to serve God, or not to serve Him. Serving Him I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good which was within my power to create. – Leo Tolstoy

Not all of us come from the faith perspective shared by Tolstoy. Statistical studies tell us that such a spiritually oriented viewpoint is no longer the worldview of the majority in our country.

While this is not exactly a surprise it is does provide a good reflection point. Having lived my entire adult life as a practicing Christian, I totally understand and appreciate Tolstoy’s comment. Yet, at the same time, I recognize that there are those who would argue that doing good has nothing to do with spirituality or a specific faith tradition.

I cannot separate my spirituality from my lifestyle. It’s who I am.

I live the way I do because of my understanding and my love of God. I try to serve those most in need out of a deep desire to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. I want what I do to reflect God’s love.

Yet, I totally get it that my way is not the only way. The important point for me is to live for others.

In the end, however, motivation doesn’t matter. Action does.

The power is within each of us to serve God, or not. The power is also within each of us to serve others. We all, every single one of us, have the power to help change the world into a better and more just place.

Regardless of our motivation, let’s live so that we do not deprive the world of the good within our power to create.

 

May 1, 2015

life-saving lemonade

Tom Berlin is the senior pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, Virginia. He is also a close friend who is one of the most mission-minded church leaders I know. This is a recent article on a new United Methodist Church iniative here in Virginia.

When life gives you lemons …

By the Rev. Tom Berlin

I never thought when I entered ministry that the Virginia Annual Conference would encourage us to start lemonade stands. Start new churches, yes. Start new ministries, okay. But lemonade stands?

But I think this plan from the folks who are leading the Imagine No Malaria initiative in Virginia is a great idea for many reasons. Let me share a few:

  • It involves kids and those who care for them. Kids like helping people, and they like the opportunity to run things that make a real difference in ways you can count. When their efforts give them an opportunity to be generous with the funds they have earned, they are truly empowered to bless others. At Floris UMC we have challenged the kids by telling them that the church will double every dollar that they raise. Their leadership will have twice the impact!
  • I like buying lemonade from kids. I think if you drive past a kid in at a lemonade stand and don’t stop, you are just a bad American. When you give a kid a dime or a quarter for a cup of lemonade, they get very excited and all official business on you. I just get a kick out of it.
  • It gives people who don’t go to our churches an opportunity to be generous, and generosity is good for the soul. Picture the smiling adult plunking down their quarter for the lemonade – the kid is smiling, the adult is smiling, the adult helping the kid is smiling. Now imagine that kid saying, thanks, all the proceeds from our lemonade stand go to fight malaria. You can read about it right here.The customer reads about Imagine No Malaria and realizes what a great thing this kid is doing selling lemonade for a good cause. That spurs generosity. It is not coerced or guilt-ridden. It is the kind of joyful generosity that helps people sleep better at night knowing they have been about good in the world. So often people want to do the right thing, and just need a good opportunity.
  • Kids at Floris are going to hand out invitations to attend our church along with information about malaria. I can’t think of a better advertisement for the UMC than children who know about the world beyond their community, serve those who suffer from a terrible disease and are a part of a church excited about their efforts. I hope we have kids in every neighborhood in our area offering lemonade and telling those who stop about what we are doing to relieve the suffering of malaria. Think of how that will change the way many people think about the church.

Finally, I am excited because I travel to Sierra Leone, Africa, on a fairly regular basis and know people who routinely suffer from malaria, which is debilitating and can lead to tragic deaths. The money raised in Virginia and shared with our church in Africa matters. These lemonade stands aren’t just some new gimmick. They are a means of grace to pay for bed nets, medications and training that will save lives. And that, friends, is one sweet deal.

April 30, 2015

a lesson still unlearned

The white man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it. – Sitting Bull

We live in a world so richly blessed it’s almost beyond imagination. Native Americans, especially the plains tribes, have long understood the world as our mother, a mother that provides everything her children need. Sitting Bull’s quote comes out of that perspective.

We live in a world with far more than enough food to feed every person on the planet. Yet, as I awake this morning, I realize that another 25,000 of my brothers and sisters died in the last 24 hours because they did not get to share in our mother’s abundant resources.

Yes. we have the intellectual and technological capacity to “make everything.” But we lack the spiritual capacity or the basic human morality to share what we have with those who die from the want of it.

Sitting Bull is absolutely right. We can make anything we want. The lesson for us now is learning how to be human enough to distribute it in a just manner.

April 29, 2015

the truth is still the truth

 

Never...

Being a target for speaking an unpleasant or disturbing truth is one of those things that never changes. Too few in our society have the courage to speak the truth when that truth goes against popular sentiment.

All of us can learn from Gandhi. The truth is still the truth, even when it’s unpopular or even ridiculed. And no one ever needs to apologize  for speaking the truth in love.