Astoundingly, just as we are getting ready to head back to the United States, the Colombian government under President Juan Manuel Santos and the guerillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are preparing to sit down for peace talks. It has been ten years since the last attempt at formal peace negotiations - an attempt that ended very suddenly and very badly - and helped open the way toward a much tenser time highlighted by the years of President Uribe's tenure which we caught the tail end of in 2009 and 2010. Rumors of these talks have been bubbling here and there for a while, but without much to back them up. We didn't pay much attention. Then Uribe began to accuse Santos of such talks (yes..."accuse" is the appropriate word, even when talking about attempting peace talks), but who can pay attention to Uribe anymore? He has, in my humble opinion, acted very poorly as a former president during most of Santos' term - very publicly critiquing Santos' every move, even though Santos was his hand-picked successor - so what is one more unsupported blast from Uribe? And then BOOM! Santos formally announces that there have indeed been conversations with the FARC and that the ELN (another guerilla group) have manifested interest in joining in talks to bring an end to the violence in Colombia. AMAZING. For those of you who speak Spanish, here is the official televised announcement. Santos underscores that these conversations are being held with three basic tenets in mind:
- We will learn from past errors to not repeat them
- Whatever process must lead to the end of the conflict, not to its prolonging
- Operations and military presence will be maintained on every centimeter of the national territory
So I'm preaching this week, which means I'm doing the usual hunting and pecking around the internet... I have a very atypical request for a short sermon (no hour long biblical excursion!) but I have found an abundance of poignant materials for this upcoming week. This weeks' Gospel texts speak very much to the suffering we all face, and God's grace in it. In the Old Testament, underneath a touching lament of the loss of friendship is a bald display of the costs of war. I'll be preaching the NT, but I believe the OT speaks to our country very much in this next week. In Dan Clendenin's I'm Already Against the Next War, he reflects on the inevitable cost of war - whether in the Samuel narrative against the Philistines or in today's wars around the globe. Far more than discussing if war is ever right,he presses for our realization that war always brings a price we can scarcely imagine. Origen of Alexandria (185–254 AD), perhaps Christianity's greatest early scholar,[offers a repudiation the violence of war, military service, and even the state itself.]
There's some good homework for us this Independence Day. the lectionary texts are hereAnd as we — by our prayers — vanquish all the demons that stir up war, and lead to the violation of oaths, and disturb the peace, we in this service are much more helpful to the kings than those who go into the field to fight for them. And we do take our part in public affairs, when along with righteous prayers, we practice self-denying disciplines and meditations, which teach us to despise pleasures, and not to be lead astray by them. And none fight better for the king [and his role of preserving justice] than we do. We do not indeed fight under him, although he demands it; but we fight on his behalf, forming a special army of piety by offering our prayers to God.
The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has a nice summary up on the shared ministry for peace between the PC(USA) and the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia. Read the article here:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) established its first permanent mission in Latin America in Bogota. This culminated in the first Presbyterian Church, founded in Bogotá in 1856. We continue to share in ministry with our Colombian brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus Christ. Here are ways to learn more about our partners in Colombia, the PC(USA) response and the situation in the country: [Read more]
Yesterday we posted information about the Days of Prayer and Action. One additional project for these days that our Colombian church partners are offering is a sign on letter to Colombian President Santos urging him to engage in peace talks to end Colombia's armed conflict. If you, your congregation, or any other groups are interested in joining this effort, please do two things: a) Print and sign the letter and send it to the Colombian Embassy in your country and b) send your name and organization in to me (rawillia13 (a) gmail punto com) so we can collect all signatures and deliver them to the President's office here in Colombia The full text of the letter is here: Carta Santos Paz - Ingles (pdf) Carta Santos Paz - Ingles (.doc) The address of the Colombian Embassy in the United States: Embassy of Colombia in United States 2118 Leroy Place NW Washington DC 20008 From the letter:
The signers of this letter are Christians from different churches and Christian organizations in Colombia and countries throughout the region who, sensing a call from God to work for peace, have been involved in programs and initiatives that seek to contribute non-violently to create peace and overcome the violence that Colombia has suffered for almost 50 years. We write to you because we are motivated by the Spirit of God who encourages us to keep hope that peace will be possible in Colombia despite the news that we see in which one day the media euphorically announces the death of guerrillas and the next the death of soldiers at the hands of the guerrillas. Both stories cause us sadness and pain since brothers and sisters in Christ killing one another is a sign that the social and spiritual order created by God in Genesis is not on a good path. Accordingly, these murderous acts among brothers and sisters produces a curse between those who kill one another and the land they inhabit and work (Genesis 4:8-14). The Spirit of God, which animates our work for peace in Colombia, today pushes us to write to you to help overcome this cycle of fratricidal violence that we in Colombia have lived for the past 50 years...Also - here is another activity for the Days of Prayer and Action - a 24 hour prayer from our partners at Christian Peacemaker Teams. Visit here to find out more, and to sign up.
Quick - what is the most violent country in the world? Hmmm... not sure, but it would have to be a war zone, right? Afghanistan? Maybe Iraq? What if I told you it was Honduras? Followed quickly by El Salvador and then Venezuela. Honduras' murder rate, expressed as the number of murders reported per 100,000 in population, ranks at 86 / 100,000. El Salvador and Venezuela's rates are 75 and 65 / 100,000. In fact, Latin America as a whole, and Central America in particular, virtually owns the title of the world's most violent countries, with a regional average four times the worldwide average. (from Bloggings by Boz) Here are the numbers for 2011:
- Honduras 86 / 100,000 (increase of 15%)
- El Salvador 75
- Venezuela 65
- Guatemala 36
- Colombia 30 (lowest in 35 years)
- Brazil 26
*********I find these numbers illuminating for several reasons. First, I think that most average readers of the news in the US would assume that the majority of violent deaths in the world occur 'over there', i.e. in far away places, rather than in the countries and cities of our shared border and continent. Second, following the US media's focus on the increasing drug violence in Mexico, I imagine no one would guess that Mexico is far behind the levels of violence in much of neighboring Central America. Certainly the violence in the high trafficking zones is real and critical, but it only matches the larger and wider problems of systemically astounding and morally disastrous levels of violence throughout the region. I do not believe it is only a casual association that these same high-violence countries are among the most unequal in distribution of wealth, nor that they are susceptible to the corrosion that the US drug trade brings with it. And while these damning statistics represent very complex underlying problems in these countries, it is the task of every thinking and faithful person to look at how we can be a part of changing these realities. US policy, through trade, drug and military relations, are very real parts of this story. In the coming months, I hope we can connect how these elements of US policy and society directly relate to the levels of regularized violence that permeate the region.
"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5
I am trying desperately to hold onto this.I keep up with a number of blogs that report on international news. Some are focused on Colombia, some are quick updates from around the globe, and one is a set of pictures from the Boston Globe called "The Big Picture". I don't always have time (or bandwidth) to scroll through everything they put up, but when I do I am rarely disappointed. From photos of the lunar eclipse to global carnaval celebrations, there is often a little of everything from a little bit of everywhere. This week is the Year in Pictures, and this is where my Advent hope has been flickering. To be honest, crap happens in Colombia all the time. So-and-so official was collaborating with paramilitaries, DAS (the now defunct intelligence agency, sort of like our FBI) is revealed to torture and trace and threaten judges, reporters, and civil leaders, floods paralyze the country and more die in landslides, farmers and their non-governmental agency partners are accused of faking their own displacement while 700 towns are said to have known illegal armed group activity.This is the stuff of every day. We don't write about it all the time because...well, sometimes one can't even keep up. But more than that it is because even for us these things are the backdrop to daily life. If you're not careful, they can become wallpaper - texture to a life that you can walk by and not even see anymore. It could be laziness; it could be survival tactic - hard to say. Add to that the remembered pain of the world in this year's pictures - tsunami in Japan, tornadoes in Alabama, gunman in Oslo, famine in Somalia, and the children...starving, in refugee camps, playing beside ridiculously polluted rivers. How does light shine into all that darkness? And might that light include that of a flash bulb - taking the pictures so that we might all see this pain? If so, why do we do nothing about it? It is old news to say that Jesus is the reason for the season, that presents are not the purpose, that much of what we do is trimming as much as are ornaments and tinsel. We know that. We just don't change much. But when lives are at stake, and we know it, why do we still stay the same? If, as my devotional says, this is indeed "the most outrageous season of hope and anticipation" then what indeed are we waiting for? Come, Lord Jesus, Come - and help us follow.
I've been thinking through the connections between poverty and violence recently, and gathering up a batch of links from around the web. While many policy attempts are made to reduce violence or protect certain populations, tackling the roots of this violence - the gross social inequities that are so prevalent in Latin America, are much harder projects. Here's a survey of stories that link these two fundamental issues Violence / Impunity Colombia is 5th most dangerous country on earth: Study - Colombia news | Colombia Reports Bloggings by boz: More dangerous than Mexico From a year ago, but the trend continues. I'll bet that almost no consumer of US news thinks that Mexico is safer, in terms of homicide rates, than all of Central America and much of South America. Interesting to compare actual statistics and our perceptions based on the nightly news. 2010 most violent year since paramilitary demobilization: Report - Colombia news | Colombia Reports Court reverses 10 army murder sentences - Colombia news | Colombia Reports Controversial plans for separate military courts to be included in judicial reform - Colombia news | Colombia Reports Violentology An interesting alternative view at the overall story of violence in Colombia over the past 10ish years.The author Stephen Ferry 's TED video is well worth a watch for Spanish speakers. Poverty Colombia is joint 5th most unequal country in region - Colombia news | Colombia Reports Why is inequality falling in Latin America? - Global Dashboard Reflecting the regions positive shift away from inequality, mostly based on left of center government's social spending. (Sounds heretical to US ears, right?) Human Development Index: how does your country compare? | Map | Datablog | News | guardian.co.uk
Here is a batch of links that I've enjoyed reading recently. Many are from the British newspaper The Guardian's development blog Poverty Matters. All of the links are worth a read - they challenge many of our prior assumptions about charitable giving and aid work.
- Want to avoid financial crises? Reduce inequality, says IMF Surprising words from this global body. If you have ears to hear...
- Global Peace Index. Colombia, at number 138, shares some rough company with North Korea and Nigeria. Maybe most surprising is the US, at 85. We often fail to realize the violence in our own country.
- Would publicizing failures lead to better aid? Would social accountability, writ large, work in international aid? In the church, we're certainly slow to own our failures, but the 'new paradigm' of mission is fairly standard practice these days among mainline mission organizations. What do we need to open up about now?
- Poverty reduction or Industrial capacity as the end goal? Here's a key quote "Indeed, the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz has advised developing countries: "Don't do as the US tells you, do as the US did." Should western rich countries dictate the pattern of development of the economies of poor countries? Might there be a small conflict of interest for the rich to benefit from an export- oriented 'Washington Consensus' approach?
- Is India ready to refuse aid? Moving past aid in low income countries.
- What is the best aid? Cash, credit, or a guaranteed job?
- Where is the US going on Foriegn Policy - What is the Obama Doctrine? From the "From Poverty to Power" blog, written by an OxFam Researcher, Duncan Green and another interesting read.
- Does Facebook deepen poverty? This is a interesting read on how global connections can raise the awareness of poverty - with challenging results...
Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription, Last week I had a chance to spend time with a group traveling to Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador to learn more about the Colombian conflict and its effects on its neighbors. The group was from the National Council of Churches and Church World Service, both of whom are large ecumenical organizations in the States. During their time here, we were able to meet with a wide range of leaders of Colombian society – from leaders of the Protestant churches of Colombia to human rights organizations to senators and even the Minister of Defense. All the while the group was consistently asking the same question – how can our churches be a part of a movement for peace? And as the Colombian armed conflict continues to escalate day by day, I believe this question is more pertinent, more faithful, and more critical, not less.
After accompanying this group during their time in Bogotá, buy generic Cefotaxime, Saturday delivery Cefotaxime, I had the chance to join this group in Ecuador for the culmination of their visit. Quito is a beautiful and amazing city, and yes, Cefotaxime price, coupon, Buy Cefotaxime without prescription, I was able to stand in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres at the same time (an apt metaphor these days). It was quite striking to listen to our partners in Ecuador talk about their work with refugees from the Colombian conflict; about how these refugees are seen and perceived in Ecuador, and the ways the violence of Colombia spills over the borders. In listening to them describe many Ecuadorian´s general feeling of fear and distrust of Colombians, Cefotaxime to buy online, Buy Cefotaxime no prescription, I was taken aback at how much it hurt to hear these negative views of the people I have come to love, trust, where can i buy Cefotaxime online, Cefotaxime medication, and depend upon. It is one more way that the violence, the reach of the drug trade, buying Cefotaxime online over the counter, Cefotaxime to buy, and glorification of greed can shape and deform all relationships, both here in Colombia, Cefotaxime overseas, Where can i order Cefotaxime without prescription, in its neighbors, and around the world, order Cefotaxime no prescription. Buy Cefotaxime from mexico, Rev. Michael Kinnamon, Cefotaxime in canada, Buy Cefotaxime online with no prescription, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, offered a list of seven points that the NCC is working on in regards to the Colombian conflict and Latin America in general:
1) Raise attention in US churches about the situation in Colombia. Continue to advocate for US foreign aid to Colombia to be for Humanitarian and Judicial aid rather than primarily Military aid, buy Cefotaxime without a prescription, Buy cheap Cefotaxime, as it has been in the past.
2) Advocate for United States to lift up publicly the deep importance of human rights as the defining principle of our foreign policy. This means using the Leahy Amendment to enforce human rights qualifications in all of our foreign and military aid disbursements to other countries. This applies particularly in Colombia, Mexico, order Cefotaxime from United States pharmacy, Buy Cefotaxime from canada, and Honduras.
3) Focus attention of the humanitarian crisis in Colombia. With 10% of its population violently displaced, the situation in Colombia is grave. This crisis also has large impacts on neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador.
4) Change US policy towards Cuba. End the counterproductive embargo and establish normal relations with the island nation. Not talking does not solve problems.
5) Work for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, buy Cefotaxime online without prescription, Cefotaxime in usa, making sure it includes our Christian values of welcoming the stranger, unification of families, buy cheap Cefotaxime no rx, Where can i find Cefotaxime online, and a path to citizenship.
6) Continue our sustained assistance for Haiti in its rebuilding. Ensure that the rebuilding of the country is led, directed, fast shipping Cefotaxime, Cefotaxime discount, and benefits Haitians.
7) Change the War on Drugs. As consumers of the majority of the drugs that fuel Colombia´s violent conflict, the United States has a responsibility to work on the demand for drugs. Focus on prevention and treatment rather than the failed and failing policies of only enforcement and militarization.
A good list. What´s your list of seven points, Cefotaxime in australia. Order Cefotaxime from mexican pharmacy, (Here's a full description of the travels and meetings of the NCC/CWS group. If you are tired after reading it, imagine actually doing it...), delivered overnight Cefotaxime. Buy Cefotaxime online no prescription. Cefotaxime trusted pharmacy reviews. Cefotaxime for sale. Cefotaxime in uk. Buy no prescription Cefotaxime online. Cefotaxime tablets. Real brand Cefotaxime online. Cefotaxime in us. Purchase Cefotaxime online. Cefotaxime san diego. Where to buy Cefotaxime. Buy Cefotaxime online cod. Order Cefotaxime online overnight delivery no prescription. Over the counter Cefotaxime. Cefotaxime in japan. Cefotaxime in mexico. Sale Cefotaxime. Cefotaxime paypal. Cefotaxime in india. Cefotaxime from international pharmacy. Purchase Cefotaxime. Purchase Cefotaxime online no prescription. Where can i buy cheapest Cefotaxime online. Cefotaxime craiglist. Buy Cefotaxime online without a prescription. Cefotaxime prices. Free Cefotaxime samples. Order Cefotaxime online c.o.d. Cefotaxime prescriptions. Cefotaxime pills. Cefotaxime gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. Cod online Cefotaxime. Online buy Cefotaxime without a prescription. Cefotaxime buy. Cefotaxime from canadian pharmacy. Online buying Cefotaxime hcl.
Similar posts: Buy Asacol Without Prescription. Buy Prograf online cod.
Trackbacks from: Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Cefotaxime Without Prescription. Buy Indometacin Without Prescription. Buy Zoloft Without Prescription. Buy Zoloft Without Prescription. Buy Epogen Without Prescription. Buy Flovent Without Prescription. Buy Tindamax Without Prescription. Buy Risperdal Without Prescription. Buy Symbicort Without Prescription. Buy Haridra Without Prescription. Betapace craiglist.
Buy Amantadine Without Prescription, We're looking forward to Sept 21, which is Peanut's official due date. Along with that, here's a great way to help make the world a better place...
Observe International Day of Peace
There are a number of ways to observe the United Nation's International Day of Peace on September 21. One of them is the initiative A Million Minutes for Peace that invites us to pray for one minute at noon, Amantadine to buy. Delivered overnight Amantadine, Other ideas include working to address gun violence in the United States.
Original post from the Swords into Plowshares, PCUSA's excellent peacemaking blog., Amantadine price, coupon. Amantadine in us. Where can i order Amantadine without prescription. Amantadine in canada. Amantadine tablets. Amantadine over the counter. Amantadine to buy online. Purchase Amantadine online. Amantadine overseas. Buy Amantadine online cod. Amantadine for sale. Purchase Amantadine online no prescription. Buy no prescription Amantadine online. Sale Amantadine. Buy Amantadine online without prescription. Amantadine in australia. Amantadine medication. Buy Amantadine online no prescription. Amantadine in uk. Where can i find Amantadine online. Amantadine from canadian pharmacy. Free Amantadine samples. Amantadine in japan. Buy Amantadine from mexico. Online buying Amantadine hcl. Buy cheap Amantadine. Amantadine in usa. Amantadine trusted pharmacy reviews. Amantadine from international pharmacy. Amantadine in mexico. Rx free Amantadine. Amantadine buy. Buy Amantadine from canada. Order Amantadine from United States pharmacy. Where can i buy Amantadine online. Buy Amantadine without a prescription. Where to buy Amantadine. Ordering Amantadine online. Buy Amantadine without prescription. Cod online Amantadine. Buy Amantadine online without a prescription. Saturday delivery Amantadine. Amantadine prescriptions. Where to buy Amantadine. Order Amantadine online c.o.d. Online buy Amantadine without a prescription. Where can i buy cheapest Amantadine online. Buy Amantadine no prescription. Buy generic Amantadine. Real brand Amantadine online. Buy Amantadine online with no prescription. Fast shipping Amantadine. Amantadine gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. Amantadine paypal. Over the counter Amantadine. Amantadine prices. Amantadine craiglist. Buying Amantadine online over the counter. Amantadine pills.
Similar posts: Buy Etoposide Without Prescription. Free Hyoscine samples.
Trackbacks from: Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Amantadine Without Prescription. Buy Ofloxacin Without Prescription. Buy Sumenta Without Prescription. Buy Imodium Without Prescription. Buy Atripla Without Prescription. Buy Estrace Without Prescription. Buy Acomplia Rimonabant Without Prescription. Buy SleepWell Without Prescription. Buy Truvada Without Prescription. Buy Cefadroxil Without Prescription. Buy Prinivil Without Prescription. Where can i find Ditropan online.