In Philly TONIGHT: Mayoral Candidate Forum on Homelessness & Poverty


client-mouth-beard-bwIn Philadelphia, there is a non-partisan group called Vote for Homes that advocates for political action around issues of homelessness and poverty. Tonight they are hosting a forum with the candidates in Philadelphia’s mayoral race to ask them all the same set of questions regarding housing, economics, social justice, homelessness, and poverty. The event will be moderated, and the candidates will be pressed hard to really answer the questions and not give political non-answers. It should be incredibly eye-opening to the values of the candidates. Here’s the info:

Real Solutions for Hunger & Homelessness Mayoral Candidates Forum
Thursday, May 7 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Broad Street Ministry
315 S. Broad Street, Center City Philadelphia

Location is wheelchair accessible. Sign language interpretation will be provided.

God, Social Justice, & Social Welfare | Job 5.15-16


But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth,
from the hand of the mighty.
So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts its mouth.

Job 5:15–16

I want to take this to all of my conservative friends. They are right that much of the life circumstances of the poor are often from the “sword” coming from their own mouth. But we also see here that their lot is not only attributed to “the sword of their mouth”, but also “the hand of the mighty”. And either way, regardless of the cause of their situation (and its persistence), the people of God are called to follow God’s lead in a commitment to pursue their freedom from these types of bondage–both within them and without. The good news is that this not only gives them hope, but it also shuts the mouth of injustice itself.

And this doesn’t seem to just be in individual ways, but even in systemic ones. Does it not follow, then, that Christian can (should?) in good conscience see their role as political beings as a means by which to accomplish these systemic ends? Perhaps it’s not just for individual Christians and Churches to “serve the poor”, but Christians utilizing political capital to mobilize government resources to follow God’s lead? Just asking.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

“Strong like Lemonade….and sweet.” [Guatemala, Day 3]


LemonadeInternationalB-25

Tonight is my last night in Guatemala. By the time this is posted and most of you read this, I will be on a plane (or, more likely, waiting in an airport), on my way back home.

The past couple of posts this week have been a little intense. The way I received and processed those first few days was definitely through the filter of brokenness and pain. And this was definitely appropriate. There were so many stories of poverty, violence, abuse, economic exploitation, injustice, paedophilia, and rape that I simply could not tell.

We have to see the need for hope before we can feel its presence.
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As We Lay Dying [Guatemala, Day 2]


guatemala-cemetery-dump-cross

Since God’s children share in flesh and blood, Jesus himself likewise partook of the same things

Today began with a meeting of the microenterprise crew–the staff and several of the women who have benefited from small loans to help start small businesses in the area.

Lemonade International is insistent that this is merely a solution to help some of those that are gifted in this way. Lemonade International partakes of the flesh and blood of these people, weak as they are, and sees how they can serve them as individuals with individuals needs.

I leave encouraged. Continue reading

Chasing Grace [Guatemala, Day 1]


la-limonada-door-1

Last night. She sat in the corner of the bed-couch in the corner of the room. One leg tucked under the other, face still red from the laughter she has both given and received over dinner. In one turn, though, the tone becomes serious as a question rises above the crowd, asking for her story. The story that has brought us here.

A nurse to burn victims, Tita began making home visits to a severely injured gang member, not knowing that her feet were walking upon the holy ground of poverty, violence, and death.

She eventually realized that she was in the neighborhood of La Limonada, nestled in the valley of the shadow of Guatemala City, considered a trash heap by those outside; both the people and the items are considered its waste.

And yet she continued going. And serving. And loving. Continue reading

Thoughts on Recent Voter ID Laws (including Pennsylvania)


Update: the ACLU of Pennsylvania has joined with some other groups in filing a lawsuit against the Commonwealth for the Pennsylvania Voter ID law

Yesterday, Conservative activist James O’Keefe pulled a clever prank on Attorney General Eric Holder.

There has been a wave of voter ID laws passing across the country. These laws create the requirement that residents must show a state-issued photo ID before they can cast a ballot in an election.

Attorney General Holder (not my favorite guy, I might add) has said in the past that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the U.S., and so these laws are unnecessary. Yesterday, O’Keefe made a video of a man clearly not Eric Holder, going into Holder’s own voting precinct, asking for Holder’s ballot, and being offered it with no ID needed. The point? Voter fraud can happen!

Conservative blogs went nuts yesterday; it seemed like the ultimate “gotcha” moment against the Department of Justice. But was it?
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Last night, I broke bread with Kenny G


Channeling my inner stereotypical-broken-hearted-teenage girl, I went to WaWa last night to pick up some Ben & Jerry’s (Stephen Colbert’s “Americone Dream”, in case you were wondering.  I’ve written before about the spiritual experiences both  B&J have brought me.). I had just gotten off work and was about to head home, pig out, and catch up on some TV. I pulled in, got some gas, and then pulled up to the side of the actual store to get my ice cream.

I saw the usual “poor guy” sitting on the pavement on the side of the building asking everyone that passed by for their spare change. The usual little battle happened inside my mind: Oh God, I’m going to get asked for money aren’t I? Okay, what walking path can I take that keeps me just far enough away from him that he doesn’t actually ask me. I’d rather say nothing than have to say no and feel bad later. Ah! What am I thinking! Stop it, Paul! Why are you so heartless? This is not the Gospel. Serve him.

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