Dear friends,

Yesterday started the Christian tradition of Lent, 40 days of prayer, reflection and sacrifice aimed at preparing one to celebrate Easter. Growing up Catholic, I have memories of years when I gave up things that mattered very little just to meet the requirement, and years when I attempted sacrifices that made me miserable and cranky until they ended in failure far short of the Easter deadline. I ran across a quote by Gandhi that teaches, “The sacrifice which causes sorrow to the doer of the sacrifice is no sacrifice. Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy. The Buddha gave up the pleasures of life because they had become painful to him.” The University Congregational Church of Christ in Missoula is encouraging its members to sign up to receive daily ideas during lent aimed at reducing one’s carbon footprint – a “carbon fast”. I like that idea and think it fits perfectly with Gandhi’s idea of sacrifice and also answers the call Mr. Zinn issues to live as we think humans should live. I’d like to expand the “fast” to include actions and sacrifices we can make not only for the earth, but also for more peace and justice in our lives, our families and our community. Can you imagine the impact if the 2900 folks who read this newsletter found 2900 hundred thinks to do to create a little peace, justice and/or sustainability every day for 40 days? It would be the start of a marvelous victory indeed. I’m starting off today with a vow to reach out in friendship to every stranger I meet today. And you are welcome to come to our intercultural dialogue group tomorrow (see below) and hear David Moore talk about his work reaching across cultures in understanding.

…See you then, Betsy