Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beginning this Sunday - The Advent Conspiracy


We will begin participating this week in the Advent Conspiracy, during which we will examine what the Christmas season is really about, and how we as the peculiar called out followers of Christ might celebrate the true purpose of these Holy Days.  I wanted to take this chance to post the video that we showed Sunday Night for those of you that did not see it, or who wanted to see it again.  You can find out more about the Advent Conspiracy movement at the website

We will end up this season by giving to clean water projects in Haiti through the Haiti Water Project, but we will give you more info on that soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Emori's Food Box

We told you last week that our own Emori Sparkman was collecting food for families that were hurting because of the Howard Industry raid.  Dont forget that we will have the box in the back at Ekklesia next Sunday night.  For those of you that didn't get to see it, here is the local news coverage of Emori's food drive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall Festival at Hawkins

2008 Hawkins Fall Festival-121
Thanks again to all of you who helped out at the fall festival. It was a big success.  We have posted a few pictures in the photo album on the right side of this page.  You can click below to see all of the  pictures

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos and videos from ekklesia hattiesburg. Make your own badge here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election day thoughts from Shane Claiborne

Here is a blog post I thought you might enjoy......


Voting as Damage Control

by Shane Claiborne 

Every day I am asked how I will be voting.

Principled Christian non-voters and secular anarchists have written
to urge a public statement on voting abstinence.  Good folks in both
parties and plenty of journalists are frustrated that we won’t answer
with a simple endorsement.  That just seems too easy.  Jesus was far
too slick to get boxed into any political camp.  

One of the ways the Religious Right went wrong was telling folks
what to do rather than stirring people to think for themselves.  Our
whole Jesus for President project has been about provoking imagination
and action.  The decision we make on November 4 is an important one —
perhaps no more important than how we live on November 3 and November 5
— but important nonetheless.   We have done all sorts of discussions
and studies to try and discern the most appropriate Christian witness
to the state (by the way, if I might recommend one book for this week,
it would be John Howard Yoder’s Christian Witness to the State).  Let me share a few of the things I will be considering as I choose the most faithful action on November 4.

As a follower of the enemy-loving God, it is difficult to vote for a
commander in chief of the largest military in the world, especially
when no candidate seems to be preaching “blessed are the peacemakers”
or creating a plan for turning swords into plows. 

If you are completely paralyzed by imperfect choices, writing in
“Jesus” is an option but should also come with grave responsibility. 
Just because you don’t vote doesn’t mean you can’t critique any more
than owning stock should be a prerequisite for decrying the patterns of
Wall Street. However, if we do not vote, we had better be spending
every day of our lives trying to create alternative solutions to the
questions of how 48 million folks can have health care, how we can live
without fuel, how we deal with violent people … and on and on.

No candidate or party fully embodies the values of God’s upside-down
kingdom.  It’s hard enough to find one politician that embodies a
consistent ethic of life when it comes to all issues (from abortion to
death penalty to war and poverty).  Perhaps a good answer when folks
ask if you are a Republican or Democrat is: “On what issue?”  I heard
one preacher say, “I’m not a Republican or a Democrat… I am a
Christocrat and it is Christ who forms my politics.”

It is not easy to make an imperfect decision.  It just doesn’t feel
right to say to the state, “Please kill less”… as it still holds an
imperative “Please kill.” However, ideals can keep us from working for
“better.”  We make imperfect decisions all the time.  For
instance, you may try to avoid the large corporate Home Depot and shop
at the local hardware store but then find out that the hardware store
owner beats his wife, thus further complicating things. We always need to make informed decisions, though we may not endorse things that are imperfect manifestations of kingdom values.

One way for people of so-called “privilege” to act in solidarity
with the poor and marginalized is to ask folks in poverty who we should
vote for.  Another experiment for white folks in this election might be
asking people of color who have suffered so much historically whether
we should vote or who we should vote for — and to honor their struggle
by submitting our voices with theirs. 

One way to look at voting is that it is damage control -– not so much voting for something
as it is voting against something worse.  We must do everything we can
to reduce the destruction done by the principalities and powers, and
voting may be one way to do that.  Being an agent of God’s kingdom,
transformation means calling out the best that the state can do, and
not expecting it to be our savior.

More important than endorsing candidates is urging them to endorse
the political manifesto of our commander in chief and to embrace the
values of the peculiar, upside-down kingdom that blesses the poor, not
just the middle class.  Our central allegiance is to God’s kingdom, and
we invite everything else in the world to align itself with the norms
of that upside-down kingdom. That is what we endorse, and we stand
behind everything and everyone that moves us closer to that — the
coming of God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” And we get in
the way of everything that contradicts and works against God’s kingdom
— interrupting injustice with grace.

So if you want to know what I do on November 4, ask me on
November 5. I wouldn’t want to limit your imagination by pretending
there is one faithful answer to this difficult but very important