Friday, October 31, 2008

You can vote however you like!

This makes me smile...

Being Poor

I got this from my friend Tracy Turner...
Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won't hear you say "I get free lunch" when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last.

Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn't mind when you ask for help.

Being poor is off-brand toys.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is knowing you can't leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends are around.

Being poor is hoping your kids don't have a growth spurt.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn't have make dinner tonight because you're not hungry anyway.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.

Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.

Being poor is your kid's school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.

Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.

Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad, begging him for the child support.

Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.

Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger's trash.

Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.

Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a difference.

Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.

Being poor is not taking the job because you can't find someone you trust to watch your kids.

Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.

Being poor is not talking to that girl because she'll probably just laugh at your clothes.

Being poor is hoping you'll be invited for dinner.

Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.

Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.

Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.

Being poor is your kid's teacher assuming you don't have any books in your home.

Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.

Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.

Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.

Being poor is a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.

Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn't bought first.

Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that's two extra packages for every dollar.

Being poor is having to live with choices you didn't know you made when you were 14 years old.

Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.

Being poor is knowing you're being judged.

Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.

Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you go by.

Being poor is deciding that it's all right to base a relationship on shelter.

Being poor is knowing you really shouldn't spend that buck on a Lotto ticket.

Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.

Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won't listen to you beg them against doing so.

Being poor is a cough that doesn't go away.

Being poor is making sure you don't spill on the couch, just in case you have to give it back before the lease is up.

Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.

Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.

Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.

Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

Being poor is seeing how few options you have.

Being poor is running in place.

Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finally, Justification for Buying Starbucks?

I confess. I have an addiction. I love coffee, especially Starbucks coffee. I feel guilty spending so much money on it. I rarely buy the drinks in the coffee shops (unless I'm meeting friends). But I buy it by the pound for my morning coffee maker at home. I carry it with me backpacking and everywhere I travel. So, I was pleased to learn that Starbucks is teaming up with my hero, Bono, on a new initiative to combat AIDs in Africa.
"Here we are, talking about the economy tanking. People are saying, 'Maybe the world doesn't need more coffee houses.' And what do you do? What does Starbucks do? You decide to give your money away," said Bono to his star-struck audience. "This is not charity. This is commerce."

In a press statement, Starbucks discussed the new initiative as framing "our commitment to doing business responsibly, our ability to use our scale as a catalyst of doing good, for our framers, our customers, our planet at large."

"If every single Starbucks customer bought one (RED) Holiday Exclusive (beverage) for a week, we would save 15,000 lives for a year in Africa," said Starbucks Senior Vice President Michelle Gass.
The world would probably be an even better place if I just quit drinking coffee and gave the money to charity. But since that isn't likely to happen soon, I'm at least encouraged that Starbucks is committed to doing good. It's a step in the right direction

The American Way

I found this picture on Paul Luikart's blog.

A Cold Winter for the Homeless in Edgewater

In March of this year Breakthrough moved our men's services from the Edgewater community on the north side of Chicago to the East Garfield Park community on Chicago's west side. While we enjoyed a wonderful 16 year stay within the facilites of the First Evangelical Free Church, we were growing and needed more space that was better designed for the dignity of our homeless guests. We are very happy to be in our new building.

Unfortunately, our exit from the Edgewater community, along with the closing of several other shelters there, is causing a bit of a crisis for the homeless that want to remain on the north side. Here's an article about it. I have gotten several calls from journalists asking why we left.

It made sense for us organizationally to move all of our services into one community. We were serving women at our Breakthrough Joshua Center in East Garfield Park and it was challenging to build staff camaraderie when we were in two very different communities.

Beyond that though, we did try to find space in Edgewater both when we opened our women's center in 2000 and when we knew we needed to relocate our facility to serve men in 2004. On both occasions we faced two obstacles - the high cost of securing a site in a neighborhood where property values had appreciated beyond what we thought we could afford, and NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) from the community. Aldermen in the community let us know that they would have a difficult time convincing neighbors to accept a homeless service center in the areas we targeted. Eventually we found space on the west side that we could afford and Alderman Burnett supported us at a community meeting saying, "Other communities don't want homeless services in their neighborhoods. If we don't help our people who will?" The neighbors accepted us because they recognized the need for the services we offer.

I'm concerned that communities like Andersonville, Edgewater and Uptown are trying to make the homeless problem go away by edging out services. The result? Many who could be assisted into stable housing will continue to roam the streets and sleep under bridges and along the lake front. This will be a very cold winter for the homeless if they continue to get the cold shoulder from those communities.

Monday, October 20, 2008

CCDA Conference This Week

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Christian Community Development Conference in Miami this week. I am doing a plenary message and a workshop. Please pray for me!

Community Ministry Resources

Dr. Amy Sherman, who has written several great books and articles about urban ministry, sent me a couple of links that provide resources for urban practitioners. The first is FASTEN (Faith and Service Technical Education Network). The second is a link to Amy's web site entitled, the Center on Faith in Communities. I highly recommend her devotional guide entitled, Sharing God's Heart for the Poor. We have used the book as gifts for our donors. It is beautifully written.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

With my Grandkids at the Pumpkin Farm

Race Relations -- Better or Worse?

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Metropolitan Chicago Synod Antiracism Team is hosting an Antiracism Town Hall Event and Worship of Healing & Reconciliation

Sunday, November 2, 2008
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, Illinois

Click here to learn more about the event. All are invited.

Donna Brazile Is Not Going To The Back Of The Bus

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Aversive Racism

Here's a link to an interesting article in the New York Times entitled, Racism Without Racists by columnist Nicholas Kristoff. He writes, "a careful survey completed last month by Stanford University, with The Associated Press and Yahoo, suggested that Mr. Obama’s support would be about six percentage points higher if he were white." Many whites and even blacks would not consider themselves to be racist, yet they discriminate unconsciously. This is called "aversive racism".
“In the U.S., there’s a small percentage of people who in nationwide surveys say they won’t vote for a qualified black presidential candidate,” Professor Dovidio said. “But a bigger factor is the aversive racists, those who don’t think that they’re racist.”

Faced with a complex decision, he said, aversive racists feel doubts about a black person that they don’t feel about an identical white. “These doubts tend to be attributed not to the person’s race — because that would be racism — but deflected to other areas that can be talked about, such as lack of experience,” he added.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Uncertainty of Riches

Here's what the apostle Paul told young Timothy, "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy." (1 Timothy 6:17) Great words for us today!