Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Creative Idea for a Birthday Party

Here's a link to a heartwarming article about a woman from Naperville, Sherilyn Sheets, who threw a party for the homeless for her birthday.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Westbrook Christian Church

I enjoyed dinner tonight at the home of Gordon and Resa Venturella. Gordon is the Vice President of Stewardship Development at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary from which I received my MA in Urban Mission. Gordon introduced me to Mont Mitchell, the pastor of Westbrook Christian Church and his wife Christie, and their executive pastor, Rob Daniels, and his wife, Ruthie. Mont and Christie planted Westbrook Christian Church in 1996. It is a thriving multi-ethnic church in Bolingbrook, southwest of Chicago. They are great partners with Breakthrough. Their church serves meals at both of our shelters each month.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bono on the Bail Out

“It is extraordinary to me that you can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can’t find $25 billion to save 25,000 children who die every day of preventable treatable disease and hunger,” the U2 lead singer told Clinton’s fourth annual philanthropic summit in New York. “That’s mad, that is mad. Bankruptcy is a serious business and we all know people who have lost their jobs,” Bono said, "but this is moral bankruptcy.”

A Letter to the Church in the US: "We have this against you"

Here's a link to a challenging letter to the church in the US from Christian leaders from around the world. We are being asked to speak up on behalf of the poor and to call our people to action on their behalf.
We have this against you, brothers and sisters, that along with this powerful announcing of the Gospel, the Church from the United States has not also raised its voice in protest against the injustices that powerful governments and institutions are inflicting on the global South.

The Church in the United States has the opportunity today to be faithful to the Hope that it preaches. We urge you to remember that the Hope to which you were called as a messenger demands that you seek first the Kingdom of God and God's justice.

Out of love for us, the global Church, in holiness, use your citizenship responsibly for the benefit of the entire world; it is for this very reason that the Lord poured out His life on the Cross.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Big Red Shoe Motorcycle

This was parked out in front of our ministry center today. Only in Chicago!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let Justice Roll

Will I see you Saturday at the "Let Justice Roll" event?

September 20, 2008
Park Community Church
1001 N Crosby Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Here's my estamp! Give it a click!!

E-Stamp Image

Click this e-stamp, and $0.42 will be donated to Breakthrough Urban Ministries in Chicago.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Obama and the African American Experience

Here's a link to an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal, Black in a New Light, about Obama's presidency bid and how it is generating discussion about what it means to be Black in the US.

The Washington Post Highlights School Funding Disparities in Illinois

Here's a link to an article from yesterday's Washington Post about the school boycott and the disparities in funding for schools.
"The nonprofit Education Trust calculates that although the average gap in per-pupil spending across the country between high-income districts and low-income ones was $938 in 2005, the gap was $2,235 in Illinois. Only New York had a larger gap that year."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

School Funding

This is the first week of classes for the Chicago Public Schools. Rev. James Meeks, Illinois State Senator and Pastor of the Salem Baptist Church on the south side of Chicago has asked students from the south and west sides of Chicago to boycott classes to draw attention to inadequate state funding for education in our communities. While some of us may disagree with the method, most of us would agree that the quality of government funded education should not depend upon where our children live. While money is not entirely the answer, there is something wrong when children in impoverished Chicago communities attend schools that do not have the resources to provide a rich diverse curriculum with well equipped science labs, libraries and books.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is that funding for education in Illinois is dependent upon revenue from real estate taxes. In East Garfield Park, where one out of every three lots is vacant and real estate values remain low, the funding is not adequate to provide quality education for our children. Many of the schools are failing and closing.

Ironically, residents from one zip code community on the west side of Chicago spend 28 million dollars a year on the state lottery just for the hope of winning a windfall that will set them free from the bondage of poverty. It makes sense to me that lottery revenue that tends to tax the poor should stay in our communities to fund education. Instead, unlike real estate taxes, lottery income is spread throughout the state.

As Christians, we will continue to do all we can to supplement the education of the children in our community with academic support and caring networks of relationships. We are also called to take a stand for justice and give voice to the oppressed. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, but we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”