I stood in the damp grass, on a warm afternoon, eating a veggie dog at the foreclosure-free picnic, with members of Mercy Junction. My husband started a worshiping community in Chattanooga, and they determined that housing issues would be a central part of their ministry. So they gathered, in solidarity with a man who was facing foreclosure after losing his job.
Every year, Unco is a good gauge to find out what’s exciting and difficult about being an innovative church leader. Here are ten things that I gleaned from our recent gathering.
In the Bible, forgiveness involves repayment of what is owed. One way to pay down the debt is through charity to the poor.
Ezra Klein’s work at the Washington Post is indispensable; he brings much insight to the task of making domestic policy accessible to those of us who only follow it part time. But I’m not buying this one: There’s a tendency among some on the left and, with the “libertarian populists,” some on the right, to portray the interests of corporate American and the interests of low-income Americans as directly opposed to each other. That’s not true. They can conflict, of course — it’s easy enough to imagine a proposal to raise taxes on corporations in order to fund a low-income tax cut — but they’re not always in tension. Sometimes they’re even in concert. Sometimes, sure.
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin in the 80s and 90s. I regularly encountered poor people and people with substance abuse issues in their families. I knew very few people of color. But I was certainly familiar with the concept of a “crack baby.”
The money in the farm bill is dominated by food stamps. The debate over it is dominated by everything else. But debate or no debate, the Senate wants to cut food stamps a little, the House wants to cut them a lot more, and now GOP Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas wants to bring House Democrats around to the farm bill by making sure food stamps will get slashed regardless.
I can’t quit thinking about Yakub. In my purse I have a print clipping that includes a photo of the 12-year-old boy staring into the camera with a copy of Steve Jobs’s biography held high over his head. I pull it out from time to time and imagine Yakub at work.
If you’ve been here long, you won’t be shocked to hear that I’m not impressed by a lot of what American conservatives have to say about domestic poverty. (Though I do appreciate the basic political courage it takes for an elected official to even use the word.) But there is at least one idea from the right that I’m more or less on board with: we should be very careful about cutting the tax deduction for charitable contributions.
Peter Brown considers the fourth-century church's radicality concerning wealth—and its readiness to adapt as circumstances seemed to require.
I gave the woman a Dunkin Donuts gift card and told her to get something hot. She didn't thank me. She said, "Those mittens look warm."