You Oughta Know - Old News

The worst part about the hysteria of the news cycle is that the news ages poorly. Consider this post a clearinghouse of what is now considered old news, even though much of it was fresh just last week.

The Lifestyles of the…

Awhile back” (read: On February 3), reports came out that a single weekend of travel for a member of the presidential family cost taxpayers almost $100,000 in hotel bills alone. I held off on posting due to a theme of such expenditures not yet being obvious. However, a little over a month into this administration has cost taxpayers much more. The Washington Post again reported on the elaborate lifestyle of the presidential family and labelled it a logistical nightmare” with some estimates pointing to almost $10 million in expenditures on Mar-a-Lago visits. You don’t have to look far for even more coverage on this overspending spree. Of course, our country is too poor to provide health insurance for everyone, though.

Technology and Politics

Technology is an important topic for me and my career and while this site has started to focus more on current events due to the obvious circumstances in which we find ourselves, technology is more important than ever in such circumstances. For instance, the ubiquity of the Internet has caused many shifts over the past few decades and it is increasingly important that everyone has access to the web.Wired has a good rundown of an important broadband program that was just put on hold by the FCC, even though millions in the country would benefit from it.

ProPublica wrote about the kid friendly Department of Energy website that was reworded and reduced of its pointers to climate change data. I assume we can all agree that the education of our children is of utmost importance to our future, so you may want to check out this list of additional appointments in the administration that will affect education with DeVos. The worst part of all of this is a general intention to dismantle climate change data sharing within the classroom and replace it with God”; I just don’t think He will be too happy with this outcome.

And finally, with the uptick in efforts to allow encrypted communications, BuzzFeedNews writes about the White House staff that are using an app called Confide” even after reports that the app is not actually secure enough for such uses. Of course, using encrypted software doesn’t help matters when the president himself leaves keys in classified lockbags and invites friends into cabinet interviews.

One Video

If you watch one video today (or need a pick-me-up after the above), make it this ESPN report about a middle school basketball team that took a stand against gender discrimination within their league and forfeited their winning season and their shot at the playoffs in the process.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.