Wednesday, December 19, 2007

TOPIC: Resist Aggression Towards Those Who Belittle our Faith, says Joel Edwards
In his 2007 Christmas message, the Rev Joel Edwards has called on Christians and non-Christians alike to be tolerant of each other. The General Director of the Evangelical Alliance has addressed the question of how we embrace and worship Christ while living in multi-faith communities. He said that tolerance means people who are free not to worship should avoid making life difficult for those of us who do, but also called on Christians not to respond aggressively. “We must resist the urge to react to any belittling of our belief or our intellect with aggression.” Mr. Edwards said that Christians seem to encounter a “Herodian attitude which takes offence at the Christmas story and demonstrates a passionate intolerance to faith” and cites examples this year such as Christina Odone not being allowed to comment on Christianity at a carol service.
However, he said Christians should take their example from Jesus: “In his birth, which drew the poor and the rich, the frail and the strong, the Jew and the Gentile, we see the pattern for the rest of Jesus’ life, typified by a gracious and welcoming tolerance of diversity, but with a forthright and outspoken intolerance of narrow mindedness. He would walk with sinners, touch lepers and mingle with the poor. Our acceptance and welcome of those who do not think or look like us is surely to our credit. Even if we disagree with secular humanists we can at least acknowledge their starting point: a genuine passion of including those on the margins of power and influence.
Mr. Edwards also praised the tolerance evident in people of other faiths: “Although people of other faiths may not bow down and worship Jesus, in the UK they have never attempted to prevent Christians from doing so. In a tolerant Britain which truly embraces diversity, freedom means the liberty to worship Christ the King. Christmas was never meant to be an imposition: it is an invitation to worship.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

TOPIC: Giving -- It is Better Than Receiving
With Christmas upon us, many organizations are making appeals for donations. If you're like many Americans, you don't have a lot of extra greenbacks hanging out in the bank waiting for you to write a check. If that statement hits your nail on the head, read on...
There are numerous ways beyond the traditional methods to support your favorite charity or non-profit group — many of which are available free of charge. Here are a few options, (originally found on the National Fibromyalgia Foundation website), to consider:

American Express: The GivingExpress program from American Express connects cardholders to thousands of nonprofit organizations and offers multiple ways to donate, from donating dollars with your American Express card to redeeming Membership Rewards points to make a donation. For information, click here.

Cars 4 Causes: Donate your used vehicle to raise money for charity and qualify for an IRS tax deduction through this nationwide car donation program. Click here for information or call 800.766.2273.

Food 4 Less (Southern CA, NV, IL, IN) and Food Cos. (Central and Northern CA): A percentage of your purchase goes to a specified nonprofit organization each time you shop for groceries and swipe your Community Rewards card. Call 800.443.4438 or click here for more information.

Firstgiving: Raise money online for any nonprofit organization in the US, using a simple template. Send it with a personal message to family and friends to ask for support for a walk, run or bike ride, growing an embarrassing mustache, or any other reason you can think of. Information: click here.

GoodSearch: GoodSearch, which is powered by Yahoo, is a search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue to the charity designated by its users. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers. There is no cost to the users or the nonprofit organization. Information: click here.

iGive: Shop online at more than 680 stores and up to 26 percent of each purchase will be given to your designated charity. Information: click here.

JustGive: This nonprofit organization works to increase charitable giving by connecting people with the charities and causes they care most about. It also provides unique ways to support your cause, such as its Charity Gift Certificate and Charity Wedding Registry programs. Information: click here.

MissionFish: Donate all or a portion of your proceeds from an eBay sale to your favorite nonprofit by listing your items with eBay Giving Works. Information: click here.

Network for Good: For a gift that gives again and promotes charity, the Network for Good offers the Good Card. This gift card for charity allows recipients to donate to their charity of choice.Information: 866.650.4636 or click here.

Non-profit Shopping MallNon-profit Shopping Mall: Consumers can shop online at dozens of stores through this site and make a donation to their favorite charity with every purchase. Simply select a nonprofit to support and begin shopping. The retailers listed on the site determine their contribution level, with the percentage fully disclosed on the mall pages. Information: click here.

Ralphs: Earn money for a participating charitable organization as you shop for groceries through Ralph’s Community Contributions program. Information: click here.