Feeding our Families

A short while ago, it seemed obvious that the major issues in this US presidential election would be the Iraq War and “Family Values” (which had seemed to me to be more concerned with cells than keeping current humans alive). Now, the polls show that what is uppermost in the thinking of most voters is-“how can I keep my own family going?”

The war and the hot topic of undocumented migrants are still discussed, but mostly in terms of how they are impacting the “normal” “real” (white) American family financially.

Take a global look at what it takes to feed a family in various countries, not just at the quantity of the food and the price, but also the type of food, whether a third of it is empty expensive calories and soft drinks, how much is processed food or high priced from packaging, and how much is REAL food. Well in the US, most of us mothers do not have time to deal with natural foods and raw vegetables. Our lifestyle now demands that both parents have jobs outside the home. What would happen to the “American lifestyle” if it were truly respected for a mother to stay home and be there when the kids came home from school and had a healthy non-processed meal for the family to come home to?

PS During my incredible month in Costa Rica this last summer, the directors of our Spanish language school told me that by going to the local farmers’ market, they were able to buy all of their groceries for a week for the 2 of them for $25 dollars. With the great variety of freshly picked produce, they also knew that everything that they put into their mouths was brimming with nutrients.

Victoria Bresee

Reflections on the AWP Conference

For all of those wondering about the conference this past Saturday, it was a particularly stimulating experience. The day started out with Dr. Ginger Harwood’s presentation of the history of the SDA Church stance on conflicts from the Civil War to the present. It was the perfect start to a day diverse with dialog on different dimensions of peacemaking. Lively question and answer sessions followed each speaker; in fact, at several points, time constraints prevented more questions from being asked. Of course, breaks, lunch, and dinner provided excellent opportunity for further conversation and community-building among the attendees and speakers.

It was a refreshing surprise to see the variety of facets to peace. Presentations were given on the issues of gang violence (Bernadine Irwin), new ways of viewing evangelism (Ryan Bell), the importance of looking at civic education as a place to promote peace (Tiffany Hunter), experiences from Haiti and different outlooks on peace (Nadege Robertson-Tippenhauer), reports on peacemaking from SIFE and Students for Social Justice at LSU, women in conflict zones (Trisha Famisaran), and peace in the world with a highlight on media bias (Ron Osborn).

All together, it was not only informational but inspirational. One of the attendees, in fact, commented that she had been to other such conferences, but that the quality of presentations and discussions held at this one was extraordinary. The conference attracted not only those associated with LSU, but also some from other faiths in the Riverside community, who diversified the conversation even further. For me, it was inspiring to meet so many others eager to discuss new ideas, leaving me with a lasting impression of the spirit of communion.

Making Peace in Times of War: Adventist Responses to Violence

Peace Conference

Sponsored by Adventist Women for Peace and La Sierra University

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hole Memorial Auditorium
La Sierra University
4500 Riverwalk Parkway
Riverside, California 92515
951-785-2257 or 2120
  • 9:30-10:00 am Registration and light breakfast, Welcome
  • 10:00-10:45 am Keynote Address: “The Present as History: SDA Peacemaking in Times of Violence” – Ginger Hanks-Harwood
  • 10:45-10:55 am Discussion/ Q & A
  • 10:55-11:10 am BREAK
  • 11:10-11:45 am Peace at Home: “Peace Medicine: Healing from War in Our Homes” – Akivah Northern
  • 11:45-12:20 pm Peace in the Community: “Amid the Gangs…Peace” – Bernadine Irwin
    • 12:20-1:30 pm LUNCH
    • 1:30-2:05 pm Peace in the Community: “Peace and Justice as Evangelism In Hollywood” – Ryan Bell
    • 2:05-2:40 pm Peace in the Nation: “Civic Education in the United States after 9/11” – Tiffany Hunter
    • 2:40-2:55 pm BREAK
      • 2:55-3:30 pm. Peace in the Nation: “Fondation Espoir:The Different Pieces of Peace” – Florence Bellande-Robertson
      • 3:30-3:50 pm Peace in the World: Reports Students in Free Enterprise: Yorlenis Aguirre, Social Justice Club: Zulema Ibarra
      • 3:50-4:25 pm Peace in the World: “International Peacemakers: Women in Conflict Zones” – Trisha Famisaran
      • 4:25-5:10 pm Peace in the World: “In Praise of a Modest Patriotism” – Ronald Osborn
      • 5:10-5:15 pm Peace prayers and readings
      • 5:30-6:30 pm SUPPER (Cactus Room)
      • 7:00 pm Film: “God Sleeps in Rwanda” with Norah Bagirinka (Alumni Pavilion)

      Immigration Update

      From Carrie Patrick

      “The US Senate set its sights on passing a bill granting legal status to 12 million illegal immigrants, despite claims by opponents that the move is tantamount to a mass amnesty.

      The fragile coalition of lawmakers behind the deal hopes to cling together despite an expected flurry of amendments designed to kill a measure that would form a key plank of President George W Bush’s legacy. The bill, agreed last month with the White House, would also establish a merit-based points system for future immigrants and institute a low-wage temporary worker programme. It includes a border security crackdown, punishments for employers who hire illegal immigrants and an attempt to wipe out a backlog of visa applications from those who have gone through legal immigration channels.”  MORE

      “History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”

      —Abba Eban

      Give me a firing squad!

      Please, please, if you need to kill me, just shoot me.

      “Suppose someone you love was brutally murdered, an innocent life taken in vain. You might want an eye for an eye, a life for a life. But the very system designed to deliver justice for such unspeakable acts has perpetrated acts of its own. The United States is the only Western civilization that imposes the death penalty.” More. . .

      Just the other day the 200th death row inmate was released after DNA evidence showed that he had not committed the crime he was accused of, after losing 20 years of his life.

      In Florida, last December, it took 34 minutes to kill Angel Diaz, by lethal injection. Past horror stories have described electrocutions, with the flesh starting to sizzle and then flames rising from the head of the human being, like a piece of meat on a grill with the heat too high.

      Today we read about an execution that was so inept that the man in the middle of watching people attempt to kill him at least ten times, spread throughout an hour, had to ask for a timeout to use the restroom.

      This is not an article about the pros and cons of the death penalty. But, do you realize that the Supreme Court, “in an unusual” ruling “cited the ‘overwhelming weight of international opinion’ in banning executions of those under 18. Justice Kennedy, noted that the U.S was the only country in the world that still officially permitted the execution of juveniles. He wrote that since 1990, only seven countries have executed persons under 18. They are Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and China. However, all of these countries have since publicly disavowed the practice. Justice Kennedy also noted that the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits the juvenile death penalty, has been ratified by every country except Somalia and the United States.”

      During the last few years, reading about humans being decapitated, or blown up unexpectedly, or even unfortunately seeing the ghoulish hangings in the Middle East, I found myself repulsed and thinking, “how primitive!”

      But, it is incredible, without excuse whatever, that a country with the technology of the US, since it chooses to kill humans, cannot do a better job.

      This is as barbaric as the Middle Ages, with its guillotines, except the guillotines probably worked much better.

      I cringed when I read the title of a new offering from one of my book clubs, by Geoffrey Abbot, described this way–

      “It’s not easy being an executioner—especially when the job doesn’t go right. Like when the condemned unexpectedly pops up to make a quip when he should have sunk without a word. Or, when an eyeball pops out of a victim’s head during an electrocution. From bungled decapitations in the 16th century to botched lethal injections in the 20th, The Executioner Always Chops Twice is a grisly and bizarre anthology of more than 80 executions that didn’t go exactly as planned.” Want to order it and read how they continue throughout the 20th century?

      Public Notice: If I have to be executed, please send me to a more compassionate or technologically advanced country than the United States of America, for a guillotine or a firing squad. Like I bet that the eight countries mentioned above, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China and Somalia have perfected the procedure.

      Signed,
      Victoria Bresee

      The Golden Rule +

      The blogger at soulpeacelove=God posted this take on the Golden Rule–

      “Besides my regular job, I do some consulting work. As an illustration, the owner of the consulting company often asks the client’s marketing department to quote the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Then he tells them the platinum rule of marketing: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”

      The problem with the golden rule, he says, is that some people do not want to be treated the way you want to be treated. You want someone to look you in the eye and ask about your family. They don’t want you to pry. You want someone to take the time to do the transaction with the highest level of quality. They want to get through the line quickly. You think someone should address you as Mr. So and so. It makes them feel old.

      Not to mention that some people treat themselves horribly (sometimes I am included in this group). They overstress themselves and do not allow enough time for relaxation.

      . . .I use the Platinum rule every day as I face the world. I try to never think about what I would want or need in the same position, but what does the other person truly want and need. Often, they are different.”

      For the entire post go to soulpeacelove=god.

      Victoria Bresee