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Compassionate Winston-Salem Initiative

Winston-Salem friends - see the note below from a group of community members who are seeking to see compassion all around our city. I invite you to join me and others in taking part in this initiative! See the note below from Jerry McLeese from Interfaith Winston-Salem —

"In Winston-Salem, we see individual and corporate acts of compassion daily.  It’s who we are. And, for the volunteers who comprise Interfaith Winston-Salem, it’s the brand – the identity – that we want everyone to associate with our city.

That’s why Interfaith Winston-Salem is mounting an effort to have Compassionate Action Network International declare us a City of Compassion.  You can join the effort by signing the Charter for Compassion at http://charterforcompassion.org/ 

Send a note to us at jmcleese1@yahoo.com and we’ll add your name to people named below who subscribe to the Charter for Compassion.”

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100 Trips to Take in Your Lifetime

I’ve done 4 of these… lots of traveling to be done! Humbled and thankful that I’ve been able to travel throughout my life!

- Got lost in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
- Viewed sunset at Santorini, Greece
 - Wandered Christmas Markets in Germany (no hot wine, though)
-  Waded in the Dead Sea in Israel (didn’t get to float, though)

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"Why wonder about the loaves and the fishes?
If you say the right words, the wine expands.
If you say them with love
and the felt ferocity of that love
and the felt necessity of that love,
the fish explode into many.
Imagine him, speaking,
and don’t worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it is all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love."

- "Logos" by Mary Oliver, in Why I Wake Early
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This is another book reviews that I’ll be posting through Speakeasy; they give out free books in return for bloggers’ honest reviews of these books.

Over winter break, I read Keeping the Feast: Metaphors for the Meal by Milton Brasher-Cunningham. He looks at different meals throughout his life and re-tells them as metaphors for Communion; there are even poems and recipes to enhance the experience. Topics from soup kitchens, restaurant work, funerary meals, and even baseball, are covered as Brasher-Cunningham weaves Keeping the Feast together. He writes each metaphor with the understanding that Communion is the defining ritual of Christians. By interpreting the facets within such a specifically Christian ritual and connecting it to everyday meal experiences, he reminds us that love can be expressed in the most unexpected times, and that the holy is in and around the mundane parts of life.

Brasher-Cunningham reminds us that “the opposite of remember is dismember: to take apart” (122). As followers of Jesus join together to remember Jesus in the Communion meal, we are partaking in an act of will to choose love over dissent, and togetherness over divisiveness; we define our identity around this meal and in this ritual (10). His honest and detailed stories, recipes, and metaphors provide a refreshing avenue to re-visit one of the most ancient rituals for Christians. 

Overall, this book provides a set of short, enjoyable, and unique approaches for engaging the meal aspect of the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or Eucharist (whichever you choose to call it). Keeping the Feast is deeply theological, but more importantly, it is deeply human. All persons eat and prepare food; in doing so, we share in experiencing and carrying all that these meals bring along with them as fellow humans. In shared meals, he writes that these times together become ritual, that they become “memory, comfort, love, and even hope” (116). Even more, he writes that “the point of life is to be together… to love all one anothers, and to struggle against everything that leads us away from that love” (117). I was encouraged to read Keeping the Feast and grow my own understanding of Communion and the meal that has been shared throughout history as a way of remembering God’s love among us and promises for tomorrow. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


Quote

"There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree –
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
comes.

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air."

- "Where Does the Temple Begin, and Where Does It End?" by Mary Oliver inWhy I Wake Early
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Why We Still Eat Organic Foods

This is an interesting article (delayed in my posting) from Sojourners regarding the article that came out saying, in summary, that organic food is no better than conventionally grown. I appreciate the post by Sojourners because it is about so much more than vitamins or the label ‘organic’… It’s about a new way of living that seeks to consider (and hopefully better) all life on this shared space we call earth.

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NC Farmworkers' Rights

Last Sunday, the Food & Faith Sunday School class I’m facilitating talked about the voiceless. We discussed matters of farmworker rights, and animal rights, as these groups are largely without a voice, whether legally or physically. I thought it would be helpful to share a resource I’ve come across that relates to justice for farmworkers.  

The NC Council of Churches, along with the NC Office of the National Farm Worker Ministry, started something called The Farmworker Institute. This Institute is supported by a grant from The Duke Endowment, and seeks to improve the working and living conditions of farmworkers in North Carolina.  

They work to improve conditions of farmworkers through public awareness, advocacy, service, support for organizing, and resolutions of endorsement.  They are currently engaged in a strategic effort to help identify and mobilize faith-based allies in the movement for farmworker justice.  

See the link about their initiatives and find resources about how YOU can be involved here. They have fact sheets, NC-specific research data, and ways to start making a difference TODAY!

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"fast with us so others may eat"

This is an op-ed article published today by the Winston-Salem Journal about Interfaith Winston-Salem’s initiative - “Fast With Us So Others May Eat.” It’s a great way for people of various faiths to connect on the importance of fasting, while also working to relieve hunger in our community.