Do not underestimate the importance of this book. I waited far too long to read it, but I still found it timely for two big reasons: 1) the Black LiveDo not underestimate the importance of this book. I waited far too long to read it, but I still found it timely for two big reasons: 1) the Black Lives Matter movement seems to be exactly the social movement that Alexander said would be necessary for change to occur; and 2) it is a presidential election year, and the last time a Clinton was in office, major steps were taken to entrench, rather than correct, the dangerous inequalities in our criminal justice system.
I knew that many of these problems existed, but I had no idea how many layers there were, how deeply the system was broken. Alexander provides endless data, court rulings and gut-wrenching case studies, and she isn't afraid to name names. Believe me: this book is a game changer. When you put it down, you will not view our country the same way again....more
Mixed opinions...He brings up a lot of good arguments but frames them in contrast to the locavore movement, which I found a bit alienating. Also, he fMixed opinions...He brings up a lot of good arguments but frames them in contrast to the locavore movement, which I found a bit alienating. Also, he favors practicality over principle and compromise over concrete right and wrong, which will never make anyone happy. But making us happy was obviously not his goal, so overall it's worth reading (at least the final summary chapter)to incite debate and get you thinking....more
Schumacher is a legend and plenty of his ideas are just as relevant today as they were in 1973 (if not more so). Some chapters are better than others,Schumacher is a legend and plenty of his ideas are just as relevant today as they were in 1973 (if not more so). Some chapters are better than others, but overall a worthwhile read....more
First few essays are so-so...essentially book and movie reviews with some interesting commentary.
But the title essay and final essay are mind-blowingFirst few essays are so-so...essentially book and movie reviews with some interesting commentary.
But the title essay and final essay are mind-blowing and well worth the full read. Should be required reading for every American. Seriously. If you want to maybe begin to sort of understand just a little bit the race issue here in America - and what it means to be Black in this country - you must read this....more
-Sinners have more good times, I say. -You know why? she ast. -Cause you ain't all the time worrying bout God, I say. -Excerpts from my favorite chapter:
-Sinners have more good times, I say. -You know why? she ast. -Cause you ain't all the time worrying bout God, I say. -Naw, that ain't it, she say. Us worry bout God a lot. But once us feel loved by God, us do the best us can to please him with what us like. -You telling me God love you, and you ain't never done nothing for him? I mean, not go to church, sing in the choir, feed the preacher and all like that? -But if God love me, Celie, I don't have to do all that. Unless I want to. There's a lot of other things I can do that I speck God likes. -Like what? I ast. -Oh, she say. I can lay back and just admire stuff. Be happy. Have a good time. -Well this sound like blasphemy sure nuff. -She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God. ***** -Listen, God love everything you love - and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration. -You saying God vain? I ast. -Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. -What it do when it pissed off? I ast. -Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back. -Yeah? I say. -Yeah, she say. It always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect. ***** -Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain't. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind, water, a big rock. -But this hard work, let me tell you. He been there so long, he don't want to budge. He threaten lightening, floods and earthquakes. Us fight. I hardly pray at all. Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it. Amen....more
Not quite the adventure story of Three Cups of Tea, but amazing nonetheless. I had to try not to be jealous that he seems to be truly living his dreamNot quite the adventure story of Three Cups of Tea, but amazing nonetheless. I had to try not to be jealous that he seems to be truly living his dream everyday. And of course the flip side of jealousy is awe and inspiration, and Greg Mortenson is certainly someone who has a lot to teach me. He looks fear straight in the face and then plows right through it to accomplish what is right and true and just....more
So I'll be honest - this wasn't a top priority read. I wasn't counting on anything incredibly new, and I'm the world's worst pray-er and probably onlySo I'll be honest - this wasn't a top priority read. I wasn't counting on anything incredibly new, and I'm the world's worst pray-er and probably only a slightly better doer. But I was looking for one of Jonathan's books to read after going to his workshop at CCDA, and this was all the library had in stock.
So yes, there were a lot of stories I'd already heard before. But I still ended up folding a handful of pages with notes I wanted to remember. Here they are:
-You may remember an almost-word-for-word version of this sentence in Vonnegut's Palm Sunday that I highlighted: "Biological family is too small a vision." (23)
-Something I need to be constantly reminded of: "When the options are 'get rich' or 'save the world,' we can respond with, 'I want to become part of the people who ask for God's kingdom to come in their life together.' We can find our identity not in our work or our causes, but in 'Our Father in Heaven'." (32)
-"We must never fall in love with 'the revolution' or 'the movement.' We can easily become so genuinely driven by our vision for church growth, community or social justice that we forget the little things, like caring for those around us...[and quoting Bonhoeffer:] The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community." (51)
-An awesome intentional community t-shirt slogan: "Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes." (69)
-A verse to go with the biblical interpretation of the Dispatch song, "The General": "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:14).
-Another point I need to be constantly reminded of, especially when it comes to prayer: "This is the great paradox and humor of God's audacious power: a stuttering prophet will be the voice of God, a barren old lady will be the mother of a nation, a shepherd boy will become their king, and a homeless baby will lead them home. God works not in spite of but THROUGH our frailty." (118)
So all in all, it's worth the minimal time it takes to digest this little book. It's comforting to see how Shane and Jonathan have grown wiser and gained perspective, especially with respect to community living. I'm probably overly bitter, but I love hearing from those who have done it, seen it through all kinds of pain and chaos, and are still doing it. And it was definitely cool seeing the Bible's classic prayers - the Lord's prayer, John 17, and Ephesians 1 - unpacked for their community visions. Now I just have to start praying them....more
I picked this one up after Laura's recommendation, and I've been thinking about a "theology of disability," so I was intrigued to see what Vanier andI picked this one up after Laura's recommendation, and I've been thinking about a "theology of disability," so I was intrigued to see what Vanier and Hauerwas had to say on the subject. The book was definitely too short, and I liked Vanier's chapters more than Hauerwas', but it was a good intro into the topic. Here are a few of my take-away favorites:
-There are three activities that are absolutely vital in the creation of community. The first is eating together around the same table. The second is praying together. And the third is celebrating together.
-Another person in L'Arche in Australia was working with people in the world of prostitution, and she had been walking with a particular young man for quite some time. One day she was going through a park in Sydney and found him dying of an overdose. As she knelt beside him, he said to her, "You have always wanted to change me. You have never accepted me as I am." Can we accept and love people with disabilities as they are?
-I know a man who lives in Paris. His wife has Alzheimer's. He was an important businessman - his life filled with busyness. But he said that when his wife fell sick, "I couldn't put her into an institution, so I keep her. I feed her. I bathe her." I went to Paris to visit them, and this businessman who had been very busy all his life said, "I have changed. I have become more human." I got a letter from him recently. He said that in the middle of the night his wife woke him up. She came out of the fog for a moment, and she said, "Darling, I just want to say thank you for all you're doing for me." Then she fell back into the fog. He said, "I wept and wept."
-As we live with people who have been crushed, as we begin to welcome the stranger, we will gradually discover the stranger inside of us. When we welcome the broken outside, they call us to discover the broken inside. We cannot really enter into relationship with people who are broken unless somehow we deal with our own brokenness.
-Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12, compares the human body to the body of Christ, and he says that those parts of the body that are the weakest and least presentable are indispensable to the body. In other words, people who are the weakest and the least presentable are indispensable to the church. I have never seen this as the first line of a book on ecclesiology. Who really believes it? But this is the heart of faith, of what it means to be the church. Do we really believe that the weakest, the least presentable, those we hide away - that they are indispensable? If that was our vision of the church, it would change many things....more
Awesome book. Props to Bill for my favorite of his works so far. He manages to strike a better balance than usual of grave warnings and real hope. I tAwesome book. Props to Bill for my favorite of his works so far. He manages to strike a better balance than usual of grave warnings and real hope. I think he does a great job of speaking to a wide audience, bringing together the hippie environmentalists, the practical economists, and people like me who are obsessed with the upside-down economics of the Bible. The whole thing is a great read, but here are a few of the points I marked to remember:
-"You can imagine global warming this way: all those pools of oil and beds of coal beneath our feet are being drilled and dug. Emptied. For a brief moment, the resulting energy burns and does something useful: moves your car, heats your shower. But after that instant of combustion, most of the carbon in the coal or oil mixes with oxygen in the air to form the gas carbon dioxide, which drifts into the atmosphere. (A gallon of gasoline weighs about six pounds, and when you burn it you release about five pounds of carbon into the atmosphere.) It accumulates in the atmosphere, creating almost a mirror image of the reservoir you drilled it from in the first place. Which is a problem, because the molecular structure of carbon dioxide traps heat from the sun that would otherwise radiate back out to space. That's all global warming is - the gaseous remains of oil fields and coal beds acting like an insulating blanket." (20)
-"In general, researchers report that money consistently buys happiness right up to about $10,000 per capita income, and that after that point the correlation disappears." (41) HA!! I'm right at the tipping point!
-"There's suggestive evidence that economists are self-selected by this very exaltation of individualism. Consider Douthwaite's description of an experiment carried out at Cornell University: first-year graduate students from many different disciplines were given a sum of money and asked to divide it between two accounts, one "private" and the other "public." They were told that they'd be able to keep the money in their private accounts at the end of the experiment, but that the money in the public account would be pooled, its total increased by a certain percentage, and then divided out equally among all participants. For the group as a whole, it was obviously best if everyone put all their money in the public account - this would create the maximum sum to be increased by the bonus percentage, and everyone would prosper. For the individual, though, the best course was to put all the money in one's own account and then take a share of the pool provided by the suckers. When the results were analyzed, economics students had contributed, on average, only a fifth of their money to the public account, while other students had put in half." (99-100)
-"College is the four years of an American life when we live roughly as we've evolved to live."
"People who participate in religious communities are happier than those who are not."
"The body reacts to community in measurable ways. Staggering ways. According to Robert Putnam, if you do not belong to any group at present, joining a club or a society of some kind halves the risk that you will die in the next year. A 1997 Carnegie Mellon University study found that, when researchers (somewhat disgustingly) sprayed samples of cold virus directly into subjects' nostrils, 'those with rich social networks were four times less likely to come down with illness than those with fewer friends.' The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that middle-aged women with large social circles had a 23 percent lower incidence of coronary artery disease. People above the age of eighty with 'poor social networks' had a 60 percent higher than average chance of dementia." (109-110)
-"Between 1969 and 2000, overall labor productivity increased about 80 percent, so that the average worker in 2000 could produce nearly twice as much per hour as the average worker in 1969. 'Had we used that productivity dividend to reduce hours of work,' Schor points out, 'the average American could be working only a little more than twenty hours a week.'" (115) Wouldn't that be nice??!
-"In 1900, in the state of Iowa alone, which was then crowded with small farmers, there were also thirteen hundred local opera houses, all of them hosting concerts. 'Thousands of tenors,' writes Robert Frank, 'earned adequate, if modest, livings performing before live audiences.'" (167) WHOA. Another world is possible!!
Also many thanks for all the wonderful references to Vermont (I want to go back!!) and the props to my professors and friends in the acknowledgments....more