BLOGGER’S NOTE:  Each Friday, I blog about what YOU, the people, want me to blog about.  You can submit topics or questions that you’d like me to address HERE.  I’ll choose one (or more) and depending on the subject matter and my mental faculties, the corresponding thoughts may be chatty or concise.  Regardless, I promise that I will thoughtfully consider what is sent in and will blog to the best of my abilities.


Today’s edition of The People’s Blog is definitely a nonscented potpourri of sorts (but if it could be scented, I’d surely pick vanilla or cinnamon).  Hopefully, there’s something here for everyone.  And if not, there are plenty of other blogs here at Crosswalk to choose from.  The choice is yours. …

TOPIC:  When you would like to vote for "none of the above" for president, do you vote anyway?

DISCUSSION:  Yes.  We face many choices in life where we don’t like either option.  But, to not make a choice is to make a choice.  We must follow our conscience (informed by study in the Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading) and choose what is closest to “right” (or the lesser of the evils). 

This is not a perfect world.  We are in it and not of it and are here to be Christ’s ambassadors on earth.  To make a difference for the Kingdom, we have to be a difference (and that includes excercising our right to vote).  We have to work in and with an imperfect world around us (including ourselves!) just as Christ effects change through an imperfect you and me. 


TOPIC:  OptINnow.org is the newest movement to end global poverty.  The interactive Web site invites users to empower poor people in the developing world to work their way out of poverty simply by providing a small loan—as little as $25—to help them start a business, feed their family and send their children to school.  Please consider writing about OptINnow.org.

DISCUSSION:  First, let me say that you have to make your own charitable giving choices, so I can’t tell you what to do in that regard.  To each his own.  Next, I have never heard of this organization before.  So I did a little investigating.

Here are some notes of interest I made after quickly cruising around OptINnow.org (which is part of Opportunity International, a leading pioneer of microfinance):

  • Their mission:  Our mission is to provide opportunities for people in chronic poverty to transform their lives. Our strategy is to create jobs, stimulate small businesses, and strengthen communities among the poor.  Our method is to work through indigenous partner organizations that provide small business loans, other financial services, training, and counsel. Our commitment is motivated by Jesus Christ's call to serve the poor. Our core values are respect, commitment to the poor, integrity, and stewardship.
  • OptItNow.org is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).  I don’t know if this means that there is a routine check-up for financial accountability by an independent outside source or a seal of approval involved (such as with the accreditation agency, ECFA – Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).  But you can research more for yourself and view the organization’s 2007 Annual Report here.
  • At the end of 2007, Compassion International provided $5 million to expand its partnership with Opportunity International in Africa.  Click here to read more.
  • Earlier this year, $24.2 million in new funding came in from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help the agency expand services in 11 new countries.  Click here to read more.
  • Opportunity International’s goal is to help 100 million poor people in total work their way out of poverty by the year 2015.


TOPIC:  Christa Banister’s second novel, Blessed Are the Meddlers:  Confessions of a Serial Matchmaker (NavPress), releases to retail today.  Should you read it?

DISCUSSION:  But of course!  If you’re a chick and you like literature, then this is a good choice for you.  I’ve already read this great follow-up to Around the World in 80 Dates:  Confessions of a Serial Dater and thoroughly enjoyed this next saga with heroine Sydney Alexander, who has now turned from dater (she met and married her Mr. Right in the first book) to matchmaker (a modern-day Emma, if you will). 

Since she’s found true love, she’s now trying to help a sister out (literally) as well as her friends in their respective dating dilemmas.  It’s a fun journey, and I found myself wondering who would play each character in a movie as I was reading along. 

And since we’re talking about “confessions” … let me say that Christa is not only a personal friend, but a talented music critic, blogger and film critic (for Crosswalk!).  You can check out her latest movie review for us RIGHT HERE.  And be sure to check out Blessed Are the Meddlers wherever Christian fiction is sold.   

P.S.  For book clubs, there’s also a Reader’s Guide in the back of Blessed Are the Meddlers.  So grab some girlfriends and get together to dish and discuss!  You’ll also enjoy going through the lists of “Sydney’s Top Ten Breakup Songs” and “Sydney’s Top Five Makeup Songs.”  It’s a female thing, for sure, as I don’t know of too many guys who have lists like this.  And that’s okay.  It’s probably better that way.


To have your topics or questions about anything and everything considered for the next edition of “The People’s Blog,” please send them to thepeoplesblog@crosswalk.com.