Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sivin Kit's Garden: Letters to Christians in the U.S.A.

Sivin had an interesting post entitled Letters to Christians in the U.S.A. It's great to hear a voice other than our own.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in North America,

We know that your country, the United States, is one of the most exceptional, resource rich, lands-flowing-with-milk-and-honey of our present day. When the world looks at America today however, it immediately, wrongly and rightly, perceives of disproportionality, in terms of political clout, air-time, military force, or even basic things you take for granted, like opportunity–compared to the rest of the world. Some are legitimate woes, brought about by the workings of a system of national and international economic and political governance that treads on the rights of the poor. But some are woefully inaccurate, as one need only to look at the situation in your Deep South and elsewhere to see the unequal balance still existing between the different peoples and races within your country, as well as the tremendous resilience, at least on the rhetorical level, of attempting to right some very grave historical wrongs.

But our plea, at the present time, from the rest of the world, is that you look beyond your borders, and we don't just mean your physical, geographical ones. Look beyond your borders of class, of race, of creed, of political opinion, of your own little townships and hamlets, of your cities and corporations, beyond your fa├žade of high-school, college, and grad-school, beyond your spiritual myopia, into a reality that you and the rest of the world face. Look towards the destitute, the defenseless, the millions going to a certain death because of war, poverty, disease, and the tens-of-millions already living a crushing mortality through the grind of their mere daily existence. Look towards a world and environment that has witnessed savage brutality. Think of yourselves as citizens of the world, as we are–who groan, as you do, for the righting of wrongs. Make these things, the concerns of the world, your concerns as well. And live it.

Look beyond the introverted world of media and glossy magazines, towards the bleak, stark faces of the world looking back at you. Stand from a viewpoint removed from where you usually stand–detach yourself from your pedestal, destroy it, and attempt to gaze back at the world as it truly is. Growing up in any strong, overriding culture carries with it a certain habit of under-appreciating the viewpoint of the other, or worse, dressing these opinions around your own. You will realize that the rest of the world understands you better than you understand it, due to your central, prevailing position–so be humble as you speak.

You have much to teach the world and much to give. But we long to see you, brothers and sisters, as that...beloved siblings, but on the same level playing field. Not above us in terms of a self-perpetuating aggrandizement, but as equals, who hold the keys to each other's mutual enrichment, fulfillment, and leadership in the many shared arenas of our common lives. The world does not like to be bullied, have its name sullied, or have causes dropped when their time in the limelight has passed over. So treat us and the problems of the world with honesty, integrity, and we'll protect your names as well. We want to stand by you as brothers and sisters, fighting the battles that matter, on the same turf, for the same reasons. That is, as our wish is for the rest of the world, our hope in these perilous times.

Reuben Liew
International Civil Worker in Malaysia

ReImagining Investment

I know I posted this on Pax's blog, but I'd like to broaden the post's exposure.

So we have no savings, no stocks, no bonds, no investments other than the few things we own. This does not really bother me...not currently anyway.

I am deeply skeptical of making money by supporting unethical corporations or governments and do not really care to play that game. However, I understand that there are needs out there for capital...but I only want to provide capital to something I'd feel good about, even if the return was lower.

That being said, I am looking to open a Roth IRA or 529 College Fund for the kiddo.

I know that there are a few "ethical" investment services/firms, like PAXWORLD or Winslow Green or the Social Funds Site. Are there other things like this out there? Does anyone have experience with this? Or are there socially progressive investment opportunities? Ways to use this investment to make the world better, not more greedy and militarized?

I want to set up an account for my kid for when he's 18 to do college or travel or start a business. I do not want to make money off of corporations/governments that I do not trust.

Is there anything out there for someone like me? Help?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hegemony or Survival
Chapter 1: Priorities and Prospects

This first chapter of Noam Chomsky's book is very short. But it seems to set the stage for the remainder of the book (or at least I am thinking that's what's going on). I appreciate his thoroughness (without being pedantic [like that Mike?]) and his referencing of many different sources. Note that all quotes from the book are italicized.

His thoughts on the "manufacturing of consent" and "the control by the elite" are what captivated my imagination for most of this chapter. He goes back to the days of the beginnings of the United States, when Madison had faith that the "enlightened Statesman" and "benevolent philosopher" who were to exercise power would "discern the true interest of their country" and guard the public interest against the "mischief" of the democratic majorities. He goes on to quote David Hume in saying that the control of opinion is the foundation of government, from the most despotic to the most free. Trippy.

He moves forward to President Wilson's Committee on Public Information which had great success in whipping the population into war fever. Then he turns to the Reagan administration's Office of Public Diplomacy which [manufactured] consent for its murderous policies in Central America. (A side note: To understand Iraq, you must read some material on the 1980's Central American affairs that the US was involved in. Seems like Deja-vu in so many ways. Confessions of an Economic Hitman is a good starting place for this.) Also, the White House...installed and supported forces in Central America that could "easily compete against Nicolae Ceausescu's Securitate for the World Cruelty Prize."

He actually begins the chapter in the present, remarking tha the war on Iraq had popular opposition that was without historical precedent. And that due to this, propaganda had to be used to sway the public...the linking of Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden, Al-Queda, and WMDs, etc.

Watching V is for Vendetta, of course, stirs similar suspicions...that the powerful manufacture consent in order to sway the masses. It's an interesting thing to consider. I do not watch TV news anymore because of this very suspicion.

Chomsky closes the chapter with these thoughts that I'll quote to wrap up.

Destroying hope is a critically important project. And when it is achieved, formal democracy is allowed–even preferred, if only for public-relations purposes. In more honest circles, much of this is conceded. Of course, it is understood much more profoundly by [the masses] who endure the consequences of challenging the imperatives of stability and order.

These are all matters that the second superpower, [that is,] world public opinion, should make every effort to understand if it hopes to escape the containment to which it is subjected and to take seriously the ideals of justice and freedom that come easily to the lips but are harder to defend and advance.

As an addendum, tonight we watched The Future of Food at home. This film, which documents the move to GMO foods in the US and it's effects, is very important to every N. American consumer. It offers a great example of the rule of the many by the power of the elite few (or perhaps I need to be corrected that it is by the power of the many...the shareholders?)...but instead of being a strictly government-run operation, it's corporate-run. Perhaps scarier?

The worst of all is that many of those who work or who have worked for MONSANTO are in Congress, the Supreme Court, or the Cabinet. Spooky. This is not unusual. Look at the list of Bush's appointees. Okay, just rambling, but it's a film worth checking out.

Okay, thoughts from others who read the chapter?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


So, if you contacted me (or didn't), let's go on the whole Hegemony or Survival reading. For those interested, I'll just post comments here and there when I finish a chapter (sorry to make it so Ryan-centric), and then everyone can leave comments? Everyone in? I've read Chapter 1 and might blog some thoughts this weekend. Let's get going. I encourage cross-postings as well.

In the meantime, I have been reading Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, which has been fascinating. I mean, sure I've been brewing for a couple years, but I had no idea the history of beer, how it's been used throughout the millenia, what yeast actually is. This account of the history of beer and mead has been wonderfully enlightening. I recommend it to all fellow brewers [read: Sean, Brett, Matt, Toby, anyone else?]. It gives me more respect for the process.

Now I'm thinking of making a mead next. The health benefits sounds unbelievable. "The Drink of the Gods" it's been called. Wow. Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thank God for Keith Olberman

Am I the only one just tuning into this guy? Thank God for some prophetic voice in the media. Here's a bunch of his video clips on YouTube.

Good night and good luck.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Can Intentionality Become Contrived?

A person said to us today: Wow, it sounds like you're trying to live very intentionally. And I thought about it for a few seconds before I said that yes, we are.

I wondered how she processed that word: intentional. For me, it means living by conscience, not convenience...taking the less-traveled road...on purpose. Not that we always do this, but it's something we have strived for. But I could also see it sounding kind of contrived...too on purpose or something.

It caused me to recall that Taoist phrase Wai Wu Wai...uncontrived living. Do; don't do. Attain goodness by not grasping for it.

And I thought, Perhaps intentionality can act as teacher so that we will learn to live naturally in this enlightened state. That is, it is not our end goal to live by any regimen...but at times it can be very useful to commit to some intentionality to help us re-center our core. What, after all, is at our core but values often created by our behaviors and life-patterns?

I stood in line at the supermarket and saw a lane open up. I walked over to that lane and asked an elderly woman in front of me if she wanted to go ahead of me. I did not think about it. I just did it. It was mere reaction to my situation. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here...I'm just saying that it was natural...not intentional, per se. But that natural response was trained at some point.

So I think there is great value in intentionality...for the sake of training and re-calibrating how we understand our world.

Perhaps today it is recycling and composting as much of my trash as possible...so that someday I will understand this world is not our trashbin and that you can live life without so much disposable stuff. Or perhaps I'll attempt 15 minutes of prayer and meditation at the beginning and end of each day...so that someday it will be a part of my daily fabric.

Quito Anyone?

Just found out about this happening from this site (that Emma has pointed me to repeatedly). Interesting. Anyone else interested in taking a little trip south? I/We might be.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Compromising With Integrity

This week was a wonderful, heavy week. The whole newborn thing has been both amazing and trying. Having good friends back in town from New Mexico has been comforting and disappointing...comforting for obvious reasons; disappointing for perhaps less obvious reasons. We've wanted to badly to get "plugged back in" to our community here, see friends, hear stories about the Gathering...and get to visit with our out-of-town friends, Mike, Stacy, and Ella. But it's all been more difficult than I anticipated.

It was so nice to have them close by this week. It was almost as if they lived here and that took some stress off. It was a stress that was not put on us by anyone else but ourselves. I just think we had unrealistic expectations about these first few weeks. That sounds a bit like me, doesn't it?

Holly and I have attempted to live intentionally and deliberately. We have spent most all of our marriage in each others' presence...literally almost every single day. We have traveled where/when we felt we ought. We have attempted to live out convictions, to doubt honestly, and to change when we need to. We have attempted to flow with the Spirit, but we also make up our minds and do stuff.

That is complicated by a child. Our midwife says, "Now you're more fully human." And another friend says, "People are but shadows of themselves until they have children." I am reminded about McKibben's thoughts on how we are small parts in a larger schema...and that we must understand ourselves in that light. Somehow, having a child makes me feel more that way. Perhaps simply because I cannot say, "Today I will go here; Tomorrow I will go there." I mean, I could, but it would come at a cost. I couldn't honor the deliberateness of Holly and I really doing life together if I left her with the kiddo all the time, you know?

Craig said something along the lines of, "You simply cannot bring another life into this world and have nothing change." And certainly I understood that things would change...I just didn't/don't know what things to expect change in. A great many people have felt the freedom to tell us what things in our life will change...perhaps some are right on; perhaps some are not. And I embrace some change...after all, I said that was something that excited me about a child...that something outside myself would force me to be more grounded, less theoretical.

But what sorts of changes will we make? Will we continue to live out our convictions? Can we follow Jesus in the ways we think so important? Will Holly and I be able to sustain a partnership where we are together almost 24 hours a day / 7 days a week? Will we travel? When?

These are just a few of the questions that rattle around in my head...and please, I am not asking them for you to answer. :)

Mike and I walked Hayes Valley last week with Blue Bottle Coffee in hand, talking about idealism and how difficult it was for me to "get my hands dirty". He said there is a way to compromise with integrity. That is, to live the future...but in the now. To live our convictions...but in our broken contexts.

Another friend said that we must focus less on the Best Scenario of this Kingdom of Goodness and more on the Better Scenario. Damn, didn't I blog about this a couple months back?

Well, turns out I am still figuring out what this all means. I guess there's an upside in that I have been writing some new tunes and am hoping to distill some of these thoughts into songs for an early 2007 album perhaps. We shall see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Did I Mention I Love Brewing?

I do. I love it more and more each time.

Here's me making my wheat beer wort. Mmm. The aromas, the energy, the fun! If you're around in November, please do swing by our place and let me pour you a pint straight from the tap into a frosted mug. My treat. And my pleasure.

And here's my crown jewel of homebrew (at this point). My spiced belgian ale. Man, I can smell how this beer will taste. My brother-in-law said the scent was a bit like New Castle. My hope it will be a bit more spicey and a bit more "yeasty" in flavor (Damien, you hear that?). It will be ready (as I've said before) around New Years. Take that as an invitation to invite yourself over to our place in January for a sampling.

Thank You, Mr. Bush

Thanks to President Bush, Barbara Boxer, Mike Thompson, and Richard Pombo for approving this land conservation bill.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Peace in Utero...and in Retrospect

Hard to believe that we were in Europe 6 months ago. Seems surreal. But there it is. And to think that Holly was hiking the Swiss Alps with Pax in her belly. Wild.

Here's a snapshot of us in the Cinque Terre, Italy just before leaving. We happened to run into some friends from the States on a main thoroughfare of that village. Weird.

Sacred Text for Today

1 John 3:16-20, The Bible

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Does anyone know how to live out this way? As we sit watching our televisions or reading our newspapers, being exposed to the starvation of epic proportions in Africa, what do we do? When I see the homeless man on the street, should we just give him our clothes? Why is doing good so complicated?

I have a hunch. Perhaps it's a hunch that is unattainable, but perhaps not. It requires us constantly being in the flow...and that is where our ethical, relational decisions are made from. I so badly want to make a universal rule from these words, but I seem to think it's more about walking enlightened and engaged with the activity of God all around us at all times. And then all decisions are thoroughly contextual and relational...but out of a core that is connected to the deepest parts of the Universe.

But perhaps I use that kind of language because it seems near impossible to me, and if it's impossible, then I must not be called to live it out. What a wretched man am I!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Some Reading

Like I said, I started Hegemony or Survival...got through Chapter 2 and decided to wait until some other folks could pick up the book as conversation partners. I'll try to post thoughts here from time to time. Perhaps we'll get going again with this by the end of the month?

In the meantime, Mike let me borrow some good-looking books: How (Not) to Speak of God, Post-Rapture Radio, Free of Charge, and The Comforting Whirlwind. I am excited about all of them...and am doubley excited because I have not bought a book in so long (inspired by Nate's vow) and I keep coming upon them via friends. Ahh.

Anyways, I just finished The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation by Bill McKibben. Great book for understanding the purposefulness of the wilderness. And I don't use that word meaning some time of spiritual dryness or wandering in life...I mean actual wilderness. He is a wonderful naturist / Methodist Sunday school teacher who uses the book of Job to help situate ourselves as humans in the larger story. He speaks about how we are but a part of the Great Story...not the focal point. Simple enough, but the implications are heavy.

He explains how Job's friends were continually repeating the same old lines, just with growing intensity...the same orthodoxy, as he says. They said, "God is just. He rewards the good. Therefore, you must be bad, Job." And that was that. Job brought a new "fact" into the conversation, of course...that he had been good...and was not being rewarded. He uses this conversation dynamic to explain the situation we are in now where people are saying things like, "The Earth will repair herself infinitely. We can use and throw away whatever we want...live however we want." And then he brings in the new "facts" that we must consider.

He attacks the theologies and philosophies of "more" that have led us to the place we are at now, where we can never learn to be content in what he calls, "simple elegance". And he offers some challenging ideas for what we might do to live better, more in rhythm with Creator and creation.

A quote from the end of the book...

And of [our] gifts, the most unique and the most paradoxical is the ability to restrain ourselves. Conscious self-restraint belongs to no other creature, and for us it is the hardest of all tasks, both as individuals and as societies... Can we wean ourselves from cheap fossil fuel? Can we ignore the easy path? Can we muster the discipline to learn what we really want, and to follow that desire unwaveringly?

Let's hope that we can...and let's lead the way in doing it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Torture = American Value?

Thanks Will for this post: It seems indeed silly that as a nation we require a National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Imagine a national religious campaign against robbery or murder, values that are not only imbedded in all three predominant religious traditions but are also cornerstone legal values of almost all organized societies.

Read the rest of the post.

And then sign the petition...or head out to demonstrate.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Tragic, True Cost of War

I am saddened to have another gut-feeling proved by research and statistics.

From the God's Politics blog: A group of American and Iraqi medical researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released a new study on civilian casualties in Iraq Wednesday morning. Their conclusion? 600,000 more civilians have died as a result of violence since the U.S. invasion than would have died if there had been no invasion, an estimate based on interviews with nearly 2,000 families in 47 neighborhoods across the country. The survey shows the range could be from 425,000 to 800,000, but they believe 600,000 is the best estimate. The causes of death include gunshots, car bombs and other explosives, and air strikes.

The cost of war is not just felt by the leaders or the government. In the words of Howard Zinn, "all wars are essentially wars against children."

Lord, how long?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

No Sufjan; Yes Imogen

Our friend Darin had gifted us tickets to see Sufjan Stevens and My Brightest Diamond. The show was tonight...the night before our official "Due Date". But alas, with child in lap I think we'll pass on the show this evening. With Darin's permission, we handed off the tickets to some uber-fans.

But in exchange (sorta), we found that Imogen Heap and Magnet will be playing here in the City in early December. So I bought us tickets for that. Anyone want to babysit that evening? Really looking forward to that show. Jasen has gone on and on about those cool cats.

In other news, my iBook is running so freaking slow and it's killing me. We have been attempting to simplify and reduce the amount of stuff (and upgrades) we get (present rock concert tickets excluded)...but I'm feeling like I need a newer computer. Does anyone have a last generation g4 powerbook (15") or MacBook (not Pro) they're looking to unload for a reasonable deal? Perhaps we could even do some of it on trade? For a website or some design or production or kid's clothes? Anyone?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Peace Over War

Here's a video of a friend of ours who served in Iraq for 6 years and then filed for Concientous Objector status. A courageous guy. He has some good stuff to say.

On Friends

We're some of the luckiest people in the world. Such wonderful friends all over the place. Like this past weekend, Glenn and Shatrine Krake (+ extended family) came over for a visit on our "last day". It reminded me of some other mutual friends who are in Europe presently. Months ago, I was with them these mutual friends and said, "Holly's sick. I think she might be pregnant." I was saying this only half-kidding...weeks later I would find out that I was fully-right.

Anyway, Glenn and Shatrine are old friends. Glenn and I played music together for years in the band called Timber. He and Holly and I went to college around the same time...and Shatrine was there just a year or two before us.

I also think of how we had dinner with some good friends Craig and Lora Saturday evening, just hours before Holly would go into labor.

And just to think of this week causes me to well up with emotion. You see, yesterday started the Emergent Gathering, a sort of family reunion of sorts for us. We've always said that this annual gathering has been the advent of our year...well, turns out our advent in 2006 included a baby. And while we cannot be there this year, we think of all the life-giving friendships we have formed through that "network".

Some of those friends are the Stavlunds. And they'll be coming here to SF the week following the Gathering. Wonderful.

And then to receive allthe kind emails, blog comments, and gifts...we are truly blessed.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Thank you everyone for your kind words and support and love. We felt it. It was fun to read the comments out loud to Holly last night.

We are well. Tired...last night was long...but we made it.

Okay, I'll continue to post some Paxton stuff here from time to time, but I am going to attempt to post religiously at www.paxtonsharp.com, so bookmark it or RSS it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Vox Paxus

Here's a little snippet of Pax singing. Wish I knew how to embed the audio, but alas, I'm very Web 1.0. Just click the link.

More Photos

So far, so good. He already looks like a different baby in these 9 hours or so.

Paxton Sharp, 8 lbs., 54 cm

We're enthralled and tired. A quick rundown in words and photos.

10pm - Go to sleep
12am - Wake up because Holly's cramping contractions aren't sleep-through-able
3am - Call Lis, our midwife
3.30am - Clear out living room, blow up and fill up birth pool
4am - Lis arrives
5am - Other midwives arrive for support, I keep warming up the birth pool with boiling water
6.30am - Holly guides Paxton to safe arrival in the birth tub
7.30am - Paxton is asleep on my chest

So there are the words...now, some photos...

It's Begun

Saturday, October 07, 2006


If you didn't know, we do graphic and web design to pay the bills. And we just launched our new website here at SharpSeven.com. Check it out yo.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Year In Retrospect

One year ago today, we left on a 10-month pilgrimage of sorts that would eventually bring us to San Francisco...with child.

For those of you new to the blog, I attempted to chart our first 3 months of that trip in detail on the blog starting here.

Oh the things we saw and experienced...and the people we met and kindled closer relationships with. It was a wonderful season of life for us.

I have been writing some new songs that are very shaped from the questions/thoughts/feelings I gathered along the way. It's interesting how we exchange questions for other questions. I have long thought that the role of an artist and world-changer is to help people exchange their petty, mundane questions for deeper, more probing and important questions. I hope I can help folks (myself included) accomplish this.

Today is a beautiful, wintery day in the City. Yesterday we had real rain. Lovely. Now child, come forth!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

Just finished Confessions of an Economic Hitman. Wonderful book. Even more, important book.

This book dives into the dark world of the International Banks, Third World Debt, Greedy Nation-Corporation Marriages...and all from first-hand experience. Perkins does not write a survey on something he has researched...he's writing a personal confession.

Pulling back the curtain (so to speak), he shows how all US invasions post-WWII were economically driven. Even further, they were all attempts to excercise imperialistic power in aquiring another nation's natural resources...and setting the country up to be in debt to US (er, I mean international) banks and corporations.

CIA asassinations, US-led coups, supporting dictatorships, hundreds of thousands dead...this is the stuff of some action movie...but it's his personal memoir.

It's not all gloom and doom...and he calls people to wake from their slumber and stop the atrocities. We, the masses, he believes, are the ones making these decisions...by allowing our leaders to act in such ways. He offers some pro-active steps to curtail the US imperialist tendencies...and ways to make a difference for the better in the world.

And there's an interesting few details about the whole Jim Elliot missionary expedition that is quite eye-opening.

An excerpt:

The real story of modern empire...has little to do with what was exposed in the newspapers that morning and has everything to do with us. And that, of course, explains why we have such difficulty listening to the real story. We prefer to believe the myth that thousands of years of human social evolution has finally perfected the ideal economic system, rather than to face the fact we have merely bought into a false concept and accepted it as gospel. We have convinced ourselves that all economic growth benefits humankind, and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. Finally, we have persuaded one another that the corollary to this concept is valid and morally just: that people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation.

A timely book indeed.

Now, I'm off to start Hegemony or Survival. Anyone want to be a reading buddy? I'm one chapter in and would love a discussion partner.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kitchen as Meditative Space

I made my second San Francisco batch of beer yesterday with the help of Aurora. It was a fun day of beer-making. I opted for a recipe completely over my head. It's a Belgian Spice Beer. It's the first beer I am brewing in which I'll use a secondary fermenter. This is a big deal for me. It's also the first beer that I'll really age. It should be ready around Holly's birthday (Dec 31st) and we're hoping to tap the keg that night, so if you're in town...

But I've realized that the Kitchen has become, for me, a meditative space in some ways. Despite my inability to make a proper Eggs Florentine, I have found that I have a knack–albeit raw and undeveloped–for cooking. For the most part, I have found that I do enjoy the process of smashing the garlic, slicing the onions, pouring oil onto the wok.

I guess this shouldn't be too much of a surprise...that is, I do love brewing beer in the kitchen.

But I've realized that I can kind of get into a zone when I am doing this...and the work of my hands becomes a bit like a prayer...or something.

And it's given our kitchen a more 'sacred' feel to me...when I'm thinking about it.

PS - I'll be brewing another batch this Saturday or Sunday, so if you're in the area and would like to come over and help out, just lemme know.

Happy Birthday Gandhi

Gandhi is one of the few people who seemed to take seriously the teachings of the Master. Captivated by Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You and thorough in his study of the Sermon on the Mount, he took Jesus at his word.

In constant dialogue with people of other religions (particularly British Christians), he was convinced that the Jesus of Scripture was not the Jesus of Christianity. Christianity, as played out in his context, was concerned with where you go when you die, said there was no partnership with God in the salvation of the world, and focused on the evil of humanity and the goodness of God.

Gandhi refused that mindset...the mindset that said it was all God and nothing to do with humanity. He felt that there should be a partnership...that we should be active agents of goodness and healing in our world...agents of God. Sad (or perhaps enlightening) to think that he might have been more inline with the Hebraic understanding of Tikkun Olam than his Christian contemporaries. You see, Jesus' tradition said that we are co-redeemers in this whole Creation experiment.

Happy Birthday to the Mahatma.