The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

I helped Grace’s business! UPDATE

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Comité Las AmigasUPDATE: I had the privilege of temporarily sharing fifty bucks with Grace Anuafule in west Africa, and published the post below (in July) about how easy and fun it was to start the process thru Kiva. Just two weeks ago, I received notice that Grace has completely repaid my small part and that of the others who, combined, provided an $800 loan. Ta-da! It worked! What a privilege!

And my fifty has gone on another trip now, this time to a group of women with clothing and food businesses in Paraguay (at right). And a friend of mine just began this week, too, with a couple of loans to people in Peru.

Yahoo. Surely there’s more cash around here somewhere. Hey—you wanna try it, too? Click on Kiva to find out how.


July, ’07:  This is Grace. She stands in her business, Grace Store in west Africa, where she sells food and kitchen equipment. [It’s a great photo – click it for a version that will show you much more.]I am proud to say that I have had a teeny-tiny part in the success of the Grace Store. Like so:Grace recently saw an opportunity to expand her business. She needed $800 to do it.

I heard about Kiva. Kiva connects individuals who want to loan small amounts of money with people who need small loans Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 30, 2008 at 9:00 pm

What’s the deadliest conflict since World War II?

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A: Congo. And it’s big:Tugelaridley.com

More than 5 million people have died in the past decade, yet it goes virtually unnoticed and unreported in the United States. […] In other words, a loss of life on the scale of Sept. 11 occurring every two days, in a country whose population is one-sixth our own. … A particularly horrifying aspect of the conflict is the mass sexual violence being used as a weapon of war.

And guess who got the ball rolling:

After supporting the allies in World War II, Congo gained independence and elected Patrice Lumumba, a progressive Pan-Africanist, as prime minister in 1960. He was assassinated soon after in a plot involving the CIA. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Why pro-life should mean anti-poverty

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Rarely have I quoted someone else’s post in its entirety, but this one has so many excellent and quotable points that I wanted to give it as much daylight as possible. Please do visit God’s Politics and take part in the debate there. They might lose a few visitors by my printing more than an excerpt here – help me make it up to them.

Tackling Abortion: The Cruel Connection (by J. Christopher LaTondresse)

There is a cruel link between poverty, race, and abortion in America. Unfortunately, many pro-life advocates fail to meaningfully address this connection. Aside from age (the abortion rate is highest among girls under the age of 15) the most predictable indicator of whether or not a woman will have an abortion is her income level and ethnic background.

Before Roe vs. Wade decriminalized the procedure, many American women still had abortions, though the procedure was radically unequal in its accessibility and application. Those with available resources traveled abroad for safe procedures while low-income women relied on dangerous illegal clinics operating in the poorest neighborhoods in America.

As someone who lives and works in such neighborhoods in Washington D.C., I can tell you that simply making something illegal does not keep it from happening if there is a serious demand for it – as evidenced by the rampant drug, weapons, and prostitution trades still plaguing these communities.

I strongly believe in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death; that all human beings are created in the image of God and are therefore of immeasurable worth. However, I also believe that we should spend more energy advocating policies that might actually reduce the abortion rate and spend less time challenging a judicial precedent unlikely to be overturned. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 31, 2007 at 11:25 am

500 years of female portraits in Western art

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OK, no point to make here – I found this two-minute video over at Neo-resistance and was amazed. Thanks, Naj! An added benefit, to this old bass player: I suspect that is Yo-Yo Ma playing a Bach Cello Suite in the background.

Hope you enjoy it!


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Written by Monte

June 19, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Art, Beauty, Women

Sometimes, atheists become followers of Jesus

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I came across bio’s of two brilliant people, both post-atheists, in the PBS program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. Their conversions and their lives today do not fit stereotypes of “Christian,” and yet their authenticity speaks volumes. Here are quotes from each, and links to intriguing video profiles in which they tell their stories. Click the photos to get to the links.

Sara Miles was a war correspondent in Central America; later, she wrote for Mother Jones. She directs an effort that provides food to as many as 500 families a week.

SARA MILES: I don’t think I ever expected to find myself being a Christian or, as I used to think of it, a “religious nut.” And again, I met plenty of Christians who I respected. But I think also I had this idea that Christianity was a religion that was kind of fundamentalist, kind of harsh, and more about setting rules of who belonged and who didn’t belong. […]

We offer food to everybody without exception. We offer food to whoever walks in the door. We’re the people that nobody wanted. You know, we’re gay people and we’re poor people and we’re people living on the streets. And we’re old ladies and cripples and whores and little children and foreigners and exactly the kind of people Jesus liked to hang out with. […]

Anne Lamott, author of best-sellers Traveling Mercies and Plan B, “says her secular friends think she’s a crazy Jesus freak who believes in the Holy Spirit and the resurrection. She’s a Protestant who wears a Mary medallion around her neck and a red string blessed by the Dalai Lama around her wrist. Many evangelicals are deeply uncomfortable with what they consider her loose theological views and her outspoken, obscenity-laden, pro-choice, pro-gay positions.”

Ms. LAMOTT: I saw Jesus as sort of my friend and companion … much to my own horror in the beginning. I didn’t want that to be the truth. I didn’t want to be a Christian. I was raised to think Christians are idiots. […]

We’re talking about feeding and nurturing the human spirit and bringing that forth into a world that is so thirsty and so starving to death and so battered. […]

Uh-huh.

I’d be interested in your response. Thanks for reading!


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Written by Monte

June 16, 2007 at 11:33 am

Race, gender, age barriers smashed! (readings for Pentecost 05)

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Pentecost, Nora Kelly (Ireland)What a day of surprises that first Christian Pentecost must have been! We’re not used to them even yet.

Peter stands up amidst a throng of foreigners and is heard by each in their native language. He calls out the centuries-old prophecies of Joel. And he says, “This is it. Now.” [at left, Pentecost by Irish artist Nora Kelly]

Shocking indeed, that barriers of communication among people of many nations were miraculously bridged (in amusing contrast to that which we today label Pentecostal). But look what other barriers are declared finis:

“I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your young … your old …
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy …
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit … and they will prophesy.”

National/racial barriers removed. Age barriers removed. Gender barriers removed (as if knowing people will have a hard time believing it, he says that one twice.) It’s a perfect summary of the example of Jesus. And this is the way it was to be from then on.

But how falteringly have we Christians taken up Peter’s cry! How unquestioningly we permit nation or race to cancel Jesus’ command to love all people. How pathetic that male privilege still trumps the equity Peter announced as the new norm (and prophesy does not here mean so much a telling of the future as it does speak for God). How tragic that old and young are segregated and mutually devalued in “communities” of faith.

Back to our roots, Church! Let all see that Jesus Christ means radically egalitarian love, radically egalitarian roles, radically egalitarian hope. And let no one imprison our faith in the rule-books of restriction and exclusion.

Related post:  The radicalism of Jesus Christ

Read on for the Scriptures themselves … Read the rest of this entry »

Julia Ward Howe on Mothers’ Day

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Julia Ward HoweRyan Roderick Beiler at the excellent God’s Politics blog caught my attention with this proclamation by Julia Ward Howe. Howe sought an annual Mothers’ Day in the USA, beginning in 1870. But, as Beiler says, “This was not a day originally intended for saccharine sentiment…”

So you shall see.  Hold on to your hat:

Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have breasts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 12, 2007 at 10:44 pm