Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some Thoughts

Sometimes I worry that I take life too seriously. Other times I get concerned that I don't take each moment seriously enough. If I take life too seriously I fear that I'll miss out on the lighter side of things, the times when I can be myself and not worry about who is watching. On the other hand, if I don't take life seriously enough I run the risk of missing out on opportunities and possibilities; if I spend my time focused on fun rather than moving forward, I might never make it out of my seat.

It is incredibly important that I find the balance between taking moments seriously or not. A time for everything, as they say.

And so on...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thank You, Pat Robertson...

...for once again validating everything I ever said about you.

How can Christians be taken seriously by the world if the people who claim to speak for us are allowed to spout hateful, ignorant rhetoric over and over again? There are so many problems in this world, so many problems that we have the power to effect and change. And in case you were wondering, gays and lesbians aren't the problem. Liberals aren't the problem. People on welfare aren't the problem. Unfortunately, if you ask Pat Robertson and those who think like him, you will be told that gays and liberals and so on are the problem. I just can't figure out how that fits in with the message of love Jesus spent his time on Earth preaching and teaching. The sooner the Christian community can shed Mr. Robertson as an influential voice, the better.

And so on...

Friday, April 15, 2011

TOMS: A Discussion on Bad Aid

We are a culture fixated on the newest thing. Whether it is the iPad, hybrid cars or some other fad, we grab hold of it in an effort to be "cool" or some other adjective. Perhaps the biggest fad of the last few years has been a five year old footwear company: TOMS shoes. On April 5, TOMS and their supporters came together for the event "One Day Without Shoes", asking people to go barefoot for a day to raise awareness concerning "those people who don't have a choice."

TOMS was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie with the intention of donating one pair of shoes to the poor for every shoe purchased from his company. Since the company was founded, more than 1,000,000 shoes have been donated to children in the United States, Argentina, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Guatemala, Haiti, and South Africa.

TOMS has gained great notoriety and popularity for its socially conscious business model, allowing people to donate to the poor through their own personal consumption. However, as good as the idea sounds, there is one major problem: TOMS is the definition of bad aid. Bad aid refers to any donations, charity or other form of aid which at best do not help its subject in the way it is aimed or at worst are harmful to the recipients. There are a number of reasons why TOMS and similar in-kind donations (non-cash donations - goods and services - which can be given a cash value) are bad aid, and I want to go through them one by one to explain why each is significant. My hope is that by the end of this piece you will reconsider your assumptions concerning aid and how best to help those in need, and maybe look at TOMS with new eyes.