Dear Folks -
If you are in the Houston area I highly encourage you to attend one of
the Christmas Eve services at St. Paul's. There will be services at
noon, 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Details can be found at
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Ordinary Life gathering on Sunday,
December 28. We will resume meeting on January 4, 2009.
Before giving the summary and text of this past week's Ordinary Life
talk, there are a couple of things I'd like to share with you.
There was no text of a summary sent out last week because the
presentation was made by six of our members who have been involved in
our work in Bolivia. It was a most moving presentation. When the audio
is posted I urge you to listen to it.
First, after that presentation Maxine Fantini who does such a good job
of keeping up with the money you contribute to various causes call to
inform me that since 2000 when this group first got interested in and
involved in the work in Bolivia, you have given $34,400 to this work.
You are amazing.
Second, as a way to make a difference in the larger world and to deal
with the face that three billion people on this planet live on less
than the equivalent of two American dollars a day, we decided to
become involved in various micro-financing projects. Two are in
Bolivia. We also decided in December 2007 to donate another $500 for
making microloans. The finance committee chose Kiva.org as the vehicle
for distributing the money and Marcy Boyd has overseen this project.
Last week she made this report:
Of the $500, we donated $50 to Kiva and lent $450. Our first loans
were made in January, 2008 and we relend the money as it is repaid.
Thus far we have made 14 loans, 9 to individuals and 5 to groups, for
a total of $950. Our default and delinquency rates have been 0%. The
original loans were for $75 to $100. We now lend $25 at a time to turn
around the repayments quickly. Our loans have touched 73 people in the
following countries: Peru, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Dominican Republic,
Iraq, Nicaragua, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Paraguay, Moldova, and Senegal.
These loans are our loaves and fishes to the world.
I thank Maxine and Marcy and all of you for your generosity. You are
This week I concluded the four part series I've been doing on for what
and how do we wait during Advent. This talk focuses on the need to
surrender our addiction of thinking that our opinions and our feelings
are "the truth." The only way we can do this is by learning the
discipline of "just noticing."
This talk concludes with some wonderful words by Joan Chittister on
the legacy we leave and with a poem by Vassar Miller titled "Ambiguous