The Least, First

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Bridgestone/Firestone -accused of slavery- buys big on SuperBowl

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UPDATE: Ahhh. I was so glad I had shared this with my church on Sunday morning before the game. The ad I saw was beautiful, even better than I’d expected (after all, how high are one’s expectations of car ads?). Watching it, I was satisfied to know that a few more people found it a reminder that those tires have run over a whole lot of very poor people.

Truth works slowly, but it still sets people free.


Want to help change the world during the Super Bowl? Tell your friends about Bridgestone-Firestone.B-F is spending about $10 million to up their corporate image via ads during the game. They’ll be looking good. But B-F has a very dark secret that makes all the snazzy car shots a little sickening: B-F exploits Africans so egregiously, it’s been accused of slavery. Consider these excerpts from Foreign Policy in Focus:

Liberia is rich in natural resources and Africa’s largest producer of natural rubber. It is also one of the world’s poorest countries. Liberia’s impoverishment is directly related to the wealth … that because of a history of inequality and exploitation benefits multinational corporations and some wealthy Liberians at the expense of the citizens of Liberia. […] Firestone Natural Rubber Company … has experienced increased international scrutiny for exploiting the people and natural environment of Liberia since … the publishing of a groundbreaking report … entitled “Firestone: The Mark Of Slavery.” […]

Bridgestone/Firestone North American has become the largest tire and rubber company in the world … Firestone’s rubber plantation occupies a large percentage of Liberia’s land mass and was, as a result, for a time responsible for more than half the tax revenue in the country. […]

Firestone’s officially 14,000-person Liberian workforce is comprised mostly (approximately 70%) of rubber tappers … Tappers and their children are held in virtual bondage, isolated from the world on a million—acre plantation and dependent on Firestone for everything from wages to lodging to food and medicine, all of which are desperately inadequate. … housing has not been renovated since its construction in 1926. Most of the houses do not include running water or indoor toilets. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

February 3, 2008 at 1:01 am

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

Scandalous, barrier-scorning love (sermon of May 6, 07)

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Fifth Sunday of Easter: May 6, 2007
John 13:31-35, Revelation 21:1-6, Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148

Preparations:
– hand out a sheet of 8.5 X 11 paper to each person (from the recycle bin);
– tape used flipchart sheets over windows (white-side facing us);
– set an empty chair on the platform and conceal it with a sheet of flipchart paper hanging in front of it

Music: Indescribable, Light the Fire, Bind Us Together, The Servant Song, I Am Loved

Prayer – Pastor Sharon Armstrong
Welcome – Evie Richardson

John 13:31-35: A New Command

31-32When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around! 33″Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the [other] Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’

34-35″Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

We’re on the eve before the cross. This last talk of Jesus to his disciples started back at the chapter’s beginning – and the topic was the same: “having loved his own … he loved them to the end.” And he strips off his clothing … Read the rest of this entry »