bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How Japan's religions confront tragedy

By Dan Gilgoff, Religion Editor

Proud of their secular society, most Japanese aren't religious in the way Americans are: They tend not to identify with a single tradition nor study religious texts.

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“Japanese are not religious in the way that people in North America are religious,” says John Nelson, chair of theology and religious studies at the University of San Francisco. “They’ll move back and forth between two or more religious traditions, seeing them as tools that are appropriate for certain situations.”

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Indeed, where Christianity, Judaism or Islam are often preoccupied with causes of disaster - the questions of why God would allow an earthquake, for example - Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Shinto focus on behavior in reaction to tragedy.

“It’s very important in Japanese life to react in a positive way, to be persistent and to clean up in the face of adversity, and their religions would emphasize that,” says University College Cork’s Bocking. “They’ll say we have to develop a powerful, even joyful attitude in the face of adversity.”

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Many young Japanese have left Buddhism, accusing priests of profiting from grief because of their paid roles in burials. Critics say the priests spend money from funerals on temples without playing a broader role in society.

“The earthquake is an opportunity for Buddhist priests to step up and show they are still relevant,” says Nelson. “Young people just aren’t buying it anymore.”

Carey Fuller Chronicles Her Experiences As A Homeless Parent In 'Writings From The Driver's Side'

The Huffington Post   
Gabrielle Canon

In 2004, as her two children slept in the 1981 Minnie Winnebago they would now have to call home, Carey Fuller sat down to write her first poem.

This March, over seven years later, she self-published her work in a collection called "Writings from the Driver's Side," revealing the experiences she endured and continues to experience as a homeless mother.

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In 2010, Fuller decided to speak out about her situation. Though she remained anonymous, she wrote a letter to author, Josie Raymond, called "What It is Like to be a Homeless Mother." For the first time she was able to voice the frustrations she felt toward a system that was not there for her when she needed it. She was able to break down stereotypes of the homeless and paint the picture of a reality that many homeless families face each day. "People don't know the truth about homelessness. Most homeless people lost their job, then their home. They have kids."

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"It starts at home," she advises, "so take care of your relatives. Take care of your communities. Support your community first, donate to the food bank or to the homeless shelter ... If a collective gets together they can make change. That is what this is all about."

Follow Fuller's blog about her struggles with homelessness at Carey Fuller's "Writings From the Driver's Side" is available for kindle on

Japan's emperor addresses nation in crisis

By the CNN Wire Staff

Tokyo (CNN) -- Japan's emperor addressed the nation Wednesday -- a rare event that only occurs in times of war or national crisis.

Emperor Akihito's speech underlined Prime Minister Naoto Kan's earlier assertion that the country was going through its worst crisis since World War II. And it came on the same day that white smoke and a new blaze at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi's nuclear plant added to radiation concerns in a country grappling with a nuclear crisis.

Japan - Giving

Disaster Relief - What to Do?
by Brooke Carter

"Are you guys as overwhelmed as I am by everything that has happened/is happening in Japan? I have been especially challenged by trying to find a way to talk to the kids about it in a way that gives them a sense of what is going on without scaring them silly. We talked again this afternoon and we have decided that we will forgo our blanket-making and -giving plans and send our giving bank money to an agency that is providing relief in Japan. I read an article last night that lists several legitimate organizations that are accepting donations to provide aid to Japan. I think I will give the kids the choice between The American Red Cross and Save the Children. I'll let you know what they decide. After today's discussion, my 11-year-old put a $20 bill that she found at the park into the giving bank. When I told her that was a very generous thing to do, she replied, "I think they need it more than I do."

And, of course, they do need it more than she does. We all become much more aware of needs around the world during disasters, but the truth is that every single day there are people whose basic needs go unmet. This is where I start to have a very difficult time being reasonable. How can I justify my little daily expenditures that are really so petty and unnecessary when other people are starving? The Hubs tells me to get a hold of myself, that I can't save the whole world. And he's right, I know he is. I mean, I kind of know. But shouldn't we ALL be trying a little bit harder? Maybe I should take a lesson from my 11-year-old. I mean, which need is greater: a hungry child's need for a meal, or my need for a 1/2 cup batter scoop so my cupcakes can be more uniform in size and I can feel fancy when I'm baking? Well, if you looked in my utensil drawer right now, you would see that just about a week ago I decided that my need to feel fancy was a greater need. The Hubs tells me that it's okay to do things like that, that it's okay to do things for ourselves. Part of me knows that it's okay, as long as we also give. But another part of me knows that we could always do more.

How do you guys walk that line in your life and with your family? Do you struggle to find balance in giving?"
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<My Take>

Matt 12:44 talks about watching a widow give such a small amount in comparison to others, but she gave out of her need instead of out of her excess. Cool story and you would assume that her gift was more important than the others. I'm not so sure. I think that the gift she gave proved to be more important to HER than the other gifts were important to their perspective givers. If that's true then it makes me wonder if our giving isn't more important to us *as the giver* then it is to the cause we're giving to. That's my take, anyways.

What it puts me in the mind of is that when we give out of grace, compassion, and a loving mindset it is more beneficial to us *as the giver* than if we give out of guilt or from a sense of responsibility. After all, any non-profit you might donate to in this situation uses approximately 50-60% of revenues to cover overhead costs and such.

At the Crump casa we've developed a set strategy for giving to local causes alone. I just can't see past the homeless guy that lives in a tent on Riverside that I run past all the time in order to throw money at Japan. I'm overwhelmed by the human suffering in Japan, but I'm holding fast to our local strategy because I have to take care of my neighbors closest first before I'm able to offer a leg up to those halfway around the world.

Read the article posting on my site today about the single homeless mom that recently wrote a book of poetry. Her plea at the end is to give to your local communities and local causes before sending your dollars to overseas causes. I'm thinking she's right.

Don't get me wrong. You know good and well I'm cheering for the Japanese people like they were the Cowboys winning a superbowl. But they're not getting my money or my time. The local needs of my community will be benefiting from the Crump household. I'm globally minded, but locally consistent. My heart continues to ache for the Haitians as well as the Japanese, but I've got meals to serve at John 3:16 Mission and they're gonna be pissed if I don't show up because I'm watching news footage of Japan.

...or maybe I'm making all this up and I don't give a rat...

Go save the world, Brooke. Just do it in tight little nested circles which gradually move outward from your home. You won't get very far, but you'll make the largest overall impact to the world as a whole. Teaching those kiddos the meaning of giving is far more important to the well-being of the world we share than any amount of money you collect in the jar. They'll continue to give for the rest of their lives because of you. They might even learn a thing or two from Jeff, but I doubt it.

Sidenote: Brooke and Jeff Carter are the mid-30's adopted parents of 5 children that all come from different backgrounds. The Carters are saving the world everyday in ways that most of us will never fully understand or appreciate.  People like this always want to give more, but they're trying too hard sometimes because they're having to make up for the rest of us. Let's get off our asses and help the Carters save the world. They could use the assist.