My family and I sat in on a Bible Study at Holy Family Church in Deming, New Mexico. The topic was the “Final Judgement.” It was pointed out that there was numerous references to a “Final Judgement” in the Bible, and that after death we are heading in one of two directions: Heaven or Hell. To stay the course toward Heaven , the instructor said people must, basically: “follow the 10 Commandments.” I shared that we in America sometimes have only a cursory understanding of these. That is for instance, one of the Commandments says: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” And most Americans will say: “Well, I haven’t done that.” However, what if I’m an American driving a $20,000 car, knowing full well thousands of children are starving to death (or dying for lack of medicine, shelter…) in the Third World every day. Because I’m not willing to sacrifice and ride in the old used Volkswagon (or even on a bus, bicycle…), have I, in a very real sense, contributed to the deaths [read: killing by omission] of some of these Third World children? I believe God, who has anything but a ‘cursory’ understanding of the Commandments, might ask about this during the Final Judgement… In Deming, New Mexico, I also interviewed Gerry and Jean Leanhardt. They are the founders of the Agape Community here, an Intentional Catholic Community where the members live together in a cluster of houses and share a “common purse.” Gerry said any community worth it’s “spiritual salt” is engaged in outreach. And Agape has developed a thrift store filled with clothes and appliances for low income people on the border here. In addition, they’ve bought a small motel next door, rennovated it, and offer shelter for men, women and families trying to get on their feet. And they have been involved in numerous other outreaches. Gerry, Jean and their children came to Deming some 30 years ago from Portland, Oregon. Gerry was an accomplished, professional musician and owned a group of beauty salons. He said he was doing quite well when he felt the call to sell everything and help develop a community in Oregon. After several years of living in community and helping disadvantaged teens, the community felt spiritually led to move to Deming. Gerry said while “the world” would look at his community endeavors as not all that successful (in relationship to chasing the American Dream), he said he takes great solace in knowing he’s using his talents to their utmost for God now. What’s more, he said raising his children in community was a tremendous blessing. And he said it shows in the spirituality they developed, their heightenned social justice orientation, and the interpersonal skills they developed at doing indepth relationship… We then headed west to Benson, Arizona where I was interviewed by reporter Thelma Grimes of the San Pedro Valley News-Sun. She asked if we’d been “successful.” As an example, I said several years ago I passionately talked to a youth group in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma about the abject poverty we saw on Native American Reservations we’d researched. Shortly after, I got an e-mail from the youth group leader saying based on the talk, the youth were planning a mission trip to do volunteer work at one of the poorest Reservations in New Mexico. I said to Ms. Grimes that while that wouldn’t show up on an “exit poll,” we’re heartenned by that type of response to the campaign. And who knows how many other youth groups will be inspired by what the Oklahoma City youth group did… Note: I told the News-Sun’s Ms. Grimes that while we didn’t pander to anyone, I wanted the people of southern Arizona to know that as soon as we get to D.C. we’re going to change the National Symbol “…from an eagle to — a roadrunner.” [These roadrunners are all over down here!] My son Joseph just got a postcard for a friend that featured the roadrunner bird. It notes the roadrunner is found throughout the Mojave, Sonaran, and Chilhuahuan deserts of the Southwestern United States. They are one of the few animals that prey upon rattlesnakes and can reach speeds of up to 17 mph. The postcard also said: “The Roadrunner is a member of the Cuckoo Family…” My wife Liz mentioned (more than once) that that might be why I’m particularly attracted to these birds.