Monthly Archives: October 2011

Trunk or Treat

This is the new, more honest, Fair Trade logo. According to a local store owner I talked to, the old logo has loosened their standards for what is deemed “Fair Trade.”

Halloween is supposed to be scary.  Chocolate shouldn’t be.

It is Halloween season again, and soon kids across the country will be going from house to house in search of treats.  There will be scary decorations and fun costumes.  Some will watch scary movies.  Some will go to haunted houses.  It is fun to be scared – especially in a safe way.

On Friday night at my church, we will be hosting a Trunk or Treat.  It is meant to be a community outreach.  Kids have been invited to come and trick or treat in our church parking lot.  We have many volunteers that will come to give out candy.  There will be games and crafts as well.  I’ll be brewing hot chocolate and coffee.  We also plan on having brochures to give to parents about our church’s children ministries.  We’re hoping that many kids come and have a great time.

I’m pretty sure that not one of those kids will have spent the day working in hot tropical fields, wielding machetes and being exposed to harmful pesticides.  I think it’s a safe bet that none of the children getting their chocolate treats were sold into work camps by their parents, desperate to provide for siblings that are starving.

Unfortunately, such an existance is common place in West Africa, where the majority of the world’s exported cocoa beans are grown.  Equal Exchange is one group that is making a difference in the world by fighting poverty at its root.  By bringing the products of small farms to consumers in the United States, Equal Exchange has been able to empower people to maintain economic stability.  Their Interfaith Store  is a way for churches and individuals to buy products that they can trust – and feel good about.

We will set up a special table to tell people about Fair Trade chocolate.  I’ve bought a bunch of chocolate bars for people to sample.  The coffee and hot chocolate is Equal Exchange brand.  I bought all the chocolate and coffee and a great little store in Davenport called SIS International Shop.  Most big towns (Peoria, Champaign, Bloomington, Davenport, Moline and several in Chicago area) have a shop like the SIS International Shop.  It might be too late for this Halloween, but Christmas is coming.  Search for a Fair Trade shop in your area.  Ten Thousand Villages is another great resource.  Here is their store locator, but click on the “listing for all shops in the US” don’t use the locator by Zip Code or State.

Reverse Trick or Treating

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Keep a song in your heart

The video below is priceless.  It is an impromptu performance at the Mayo Clinic of Marlow and Fran Cowan.  The husband is in his early 90s, and Fran is in her mid-80s.  According to the title of the video, they had been married 62 years when this video was recorded.  This isn’t a new video.  It was posted in April 2009, and it has had over 7 million hits. But its new to me, and it made me smile.  I thought I’d share:

There are a couple of more links you can follow for more of the Cowans.

A blog from the person that recorded the performance.

A repeat performance in front of hospital staff.

There is so much to learn from this 2 minute song. It speaks so much about faith, healing, music, longevity, love, marriage, and joy.  I can only imagine how many times these two people have played that song together over 62 years.

I think my favorite part of the video is when they start switching places.  She stumbles once and has to sit on the bench, and he stops playing to make sure she is okay.  Then they get right back into the song, barely missing a beat.  Then they switch again, and he sneaks a pat on her bottom while she feigns surprise and indignation.

I could go on and on about this video, but this is one perfect case when the music tells more than my words could.  Plus, if you follow the link to their encore performance, you will see Mr. Cowan address the audience.  He sums it all up perfectly, “Keep a song in your heart.  Keep singing. And God bless you all.”


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Miss Representation

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. (Alice Walker)

The trailer below begins with this quote.  It reminds me of an anecdote I heard in seminary.  I don’t remember the exact details, so I cannot properly attribute the story.  My professor said (something like), “C.S. Lewis once said that, ‘Man’s greatest sin is pride.’ In other words, it is believing that being ‘made in the image of God’ is equal to that of being God.  This might be true, but another theologian said, ‘The greatest sin of man might be pride.  But the greatest sin of woman is lack of pride.'”

The video is about eight and a half minutes long.  It is worth watching.  Make no mistake, this is not a girls issue.  It is not a liberal issue. It is a human issue.  The objectification of women is damaging to both boys and girls.  Treating anyone as less than a precious child of God does harm.  It is the act of ignoring what is fundamentally true of all people: That we are ALL created in God’s image.

So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27, NRSV)

This is an issue that I’ve written about before in my blog Princess Paradox.  As a father of two daughters, I obviously have a lot of interest in how the media will affect their lives as they grow up.  As power as the media is, it is not more powerful than a loving relationship.  The movie is a warning.  It can help provide  a sense of urgency, and a better understanding of what we’re up against. It cannot be an excuse.  It is my duty as a father to make sure that my daughters know that they are smart, strong, courageous people that were created in the image of God.

I hope you take the time to watch this and go to the Miss Representation website to learn more.

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