A Silent Teen

Sarah Cochran, a Cleveland area teenager has come up with the most original mission trip fundraising idea I've heard of in years. She's taken a vow of silence

No talking at home or at school till she can raise $1,000 of the $4,200 she needs to travel to Botswana this summer. So she's going door to door to ask for funds, holding this poster, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer

"I'm here on a mission ...A mission to break the silence. There is a country in south Africa that is literally dying for attention. Botswana is a place where 40 percent of its population is unemployed, a third is living with HIV/AIDS and fresh water is more precious than gold."

Cochran, of Hudson, Ohio, talked with a Plain Dealer reporter before starting her vow of silence, to explain what she's doing. "Hudson can be kind of a bubble . . . .
I want people to know what is going on in other parts of the world."

And now for something completely different.

The Christian Science Monitor had a number of noteworthy religion pieces this week. One on the growing use of lay ministers in rural or immigrant urban churches. Another on some British clergy who are trying to teach Iraqis of different faith traditions to get along. Another on some recent victories by grassroots anti gambling groups --which included some interesting factoids like this one--there were "45 proposals for expansion in 30 states " in 2003, and 42 were defeated according to the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (NCALG). Rev. Tom Grey of NCALG summarizes his group's position on gambling this way:

"It's not good economics, it's not good public policy, and it's not good for the quality of life," he says. "Any society that preys on the pathology of some people to support education or another good cause, that's not just."

Finally, the Monitor ran this piece on the Left Behind phenomena. The author does throw the world "fundamentalist" around pretty freely but did find this piece of background on co-author Tim Lahaye: his father died when he was only 9 years old.

"Then the minister at the funeral said these words: 'This is not the end of Frank LaHaye; because he accepted Jesus, the day will come when the Lord will shout from heaven and descend, and the dead in Christ will rise fist and then we'll be caught up together to meet him in the air," LaHaye recalled. "All of a sudden, there was hope in my heart I'd see my father again."

That put this whole Left Behind thing in a different light. As much as it's about Dispensationalism and Biblical prophecy and fundamentalism and a lot of $$$$--it's also about a 9 year old boy who wants to see his Dad again.


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