Archive for May, 2008

A Whopper for Lunch

Posted: May 30, 2008 in advocacy, change, poverty

After well over a year, I will return to my favorite heart-destroying fast-food chain, Burger King. In short, I — along with many others — have been boycotting The King because the company  was participating in literal slavery. Fortunately, the burger chain had a “Come to Jesus” meeting (read: legal actions) and repented. Here is the story from Sojourners…

“The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) announced Friday that, after a prolonged and often heated campaign, the second-largest burger chain has agreed to pay farm workers an extra 1.5 cents per pound of tomatoes picked, the equivalent of a 71 percent increase in wages.

This agreement was reached after a large coalition of faith and labor groups, including Sojourners, started targeting the company with letters and boycotts. In fact, since last June more than 25,000 activists sent more than 125,000 letters to Burger King executives.

Burger King is the last of the three largest fast-food companies to agree to the pay increase, following McDonald’s and Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell. The agreement also includes a pledge that Burger King will have zero tolerance for growers in its supply chain that act unlawfully – a good precaution, given that some in south Florida have been indicted for holding tomato pickers in literal slavery.

Burger King’s agreement is a long-awaited victory that comes after a year in which they unconscionably stalled and obstructed other companies from coming on board. Burger King made $2.23 billion in profits in 2007 – and, in the end, the company estimated that its tomato justice agreement will cost just $300,000 annually.

This agreement is a step toward fair labor practices for farm workers across our country, and an example to all companies that have exploitative policies in need of change.”

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Going Postal…

Posted: May 28, 2008 in change, church, Obama

For quite a time now I’ve had a series of presentations about the “post-modern/post-Christian” turn in epistemology (the nature and scope of knowing/knowledge). I’ve talked about in at least four states and read more about it than I care to acknowledge.

Now before I go on, I do believe the we have a changing epistemology, we are moving from “modernity” into something that is “post” modernity, though I’m always hesitant to say what that “post” is. However, I am beginning to wonder whether or not we are as “post” as I have been saying we are, at least in the post-Christian sense. This is mainly due to recent happenings in this year’s election cycle.

As you know, Democratic candidate Barack Obama had some trouble with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, which caused a near national firestorm. And even more recently, Republican candidate, John McCain had to “un-accept” the endorsements of both Pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley. Here we have 2/3 of the potential leaders of the free world having to answer embarrassing questions surrounding pastors.

Apparently, Christianity still matters (or at least some elements/versions of it). For instance, 33% of all Americans still, regardless of ALL evidence to the contrary, think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. One many in Kentucky recently said, “Obama’s a Muslim. I’m not voting for him.” Now if you’re like me you’re scared that this man can vote because he is clearly uninformed — or perhaps merely internet rumor informed — nevertheless, his version or interpretation of Christianity still matters to him. (It’s also apparent that is you’ve spent 2 minutes outside the U.S. you’re suspect to some people.)

It all makes me wonder: What is the present place of Christianity in America? Clearly, less people are participating in churches. And certainly, the church and the Bible are no longer epistemic norms for life in America. Plus being a minister myself, I know that few people in churches actually want to practice Christianity. Yet, there remains some relevance and reverence for Christianity.

What’s the deal with that?

It’s Official!

Posted: May 9, 2008 in family, fatherhood, Katharine, kids, life, Malia

The number of celebrities that think my kids are cute is growing. Now, all readers of this blog (the 5 of you) know how beautiful my girls are, but now it’s official: Hollywood celebrities think they’re beautiful too.

First, a few years ago in the Continental President’s Club at LAX, I found myself sitting next to Dave Foley debating whether to watch the hockey or basketball playoffs. When he saw my daughter, Malia, he went on and on about how beautiful she was. I already knew Malia was beautiful, so I wanted to ask Dave what it was like working with Tiffani Theissen during her guest appearance of NewsRadio or what having Lauren Graham on Celebrity Poker Showdown was like. But, no, he was taken with Malia.

Second, last week while dining at Marmalade Cafe in Malibi, Dennis Haybert, star of The Unit and AllState commericials –not to mention Pedro Cerrano from Major League–stopped US and began talking about how beautiful Malia and Katharine are. He looked at me, smiled and said, “You have beautiful daughters.”

The verdict is in. My girls are beautiful. But I think we knew that already.

I was away teaching and enjoying the Pepperdine Bible Lectures last week, so I am remiss that I missed a special occasion. Last Friday, Mildred Loving, 68, passed away. Mildred Loving, born Mildred Jeter, began dating her husband, Richard Loving, when she was just 11 years old and Richard was 17. In the early years of their marriage, Mildred and Richard were arrested several times together. The reason? Mildred was black and Richard was white. And in 1958 it was illegal for them to be married in the state of Virginia. Apparently, Virginia has not always been for lovers.

Threatened with years of imprisonment, the Loving’s changed history when they challenged the Constitutionality of Virginia’s marriage laws and in 1967 won the day when the Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. From that day forward, every state, including those in the south which had laws forbidding it, were required to recognize interracial marriage.

Mildred has lived a quiet life since Richard’s death in a car wreck in 1975. Not one for the spotlight, Mildred said of her life, “I never wanted to be a hero, just a bride. It wasn’t my doing, it was God’s work.”

Each June 12th, couples across America celebrate “Loving Day” which celebrates the legalization of interracial marriage.

So for marriages like mine and kids with mocha colored skin and long, curly hair I say to Mildred and Richard, “Thank you for Loving.”