John Diaz explains in the San Francisco Chronicle how human lives are not considered equal in our society: "'All life is precious' goes the oft-repeated saying. But let's be honest with ourselves: In this society the value of a human life in the eyes of others is multiplied or discounted in many ways. One of them, obviously, is class. Another, undeniably, is race. And then there is the other, harder to measure variable that sometimes incorporates, but often transcends, race and class: Our ability to empathize with another human being, and measure his or her worth in ways that have nothing to do with earning potential, number of Facebook friends or volunteer hours at the local food bank."
BountifulChurchyards.org is kicking off an effort to utilize church property to produce food for those without enough.
"The primary Mission of BountifulChurchyards.org, currently in the incorporation and pre-launch phase (formal launch date 01/15/2014), will be to increase access for those facing food insecurity to lands not otherwise available to them, such as churchyards and similar spaces, to raise or glean their own food. A secondary Mission of BountifulChurchYards.org will be to provide employment opportunities for at-risk youth, immigrants, seniors or under-resourced populations."
G-Dog ("Nothing stops a bullet like a job"), a movie about Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. and Homeboy Industries is now available on DVD.
You can also read an excellent in-depth article about Boyle from the May 2012 issue of Fast Company.
Mark Sandlin offers two lists on Sojourners: "Lots of people claim to be 'following Jesus' and then they do stuff like this. Sure, people who follow Jesus do these things all the time, but you can't say you are doing them because you are trying to follow Jesus' example."
The first is simply 10 Things You Can't Do While Following Jesus, while the follow-up is 10 POLITICAL Things You Can't Do While Following Jesus.
Stephen Mattson confesses on Sojourners to being a "Hashtag Christian," one who projects an image of being an engaged Christian through social network sites, but doesn't follow through in real life:
Religious Views: Christian — but not in practice.
A retired 82-year-old barber has been offering free haircuts to the homeless at a Connecticut park for the past 25 years. All he asks for is a hug in return. He was originally motivated to start by a church sermon.
The Huffington Post reports:
His clients line up on park benches, some of them also turning out for free meals provided on Wednesdays by a local church. One by one they take a seat in a folding lawn chair above a car battery Cymerys uses to power his clippers.
Laura Miller writes about how God led her to create a movement of 2,000 agents performing anonymous acts of kindness across nine countries. She reports on "missions" at the Secret Agent L blog.
And did I see any of this coming? Not at all. But it has become so very clear to me that this is my calling.
Christians need to move beyond comfort zones with apostolic zeal and a "healthy craziness", even risk becoming an annoyance as Paul did, according to Pope Francis. The Catholic News Service reports:
The church doesn't need couch-potato Catholics, it needs believers with "apostolic zeal," willing to preach the uncomfortable words of Christ, Pope Francis said. "And if we annoy people" with this zeal for Christ, then "blessed be the Lord," he said in his daily morning Mass homily May 16.