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Thirty-six years ago, an immature, twenty-year-old, bushy-haired, long side burned, guitar playing, hippie-like, preacher boy with an uncertain future, but a cool ’66 Mustang married a far more stable and mature eighteen-year-old girl with beautiful straight, long black hair and gorgeous big brown eyes, one week out of high school.… Continue reading

Principles

Through my studies and experience of the last few years, I am beginning to formulate some principles for helping people in material poverty. No doubt, there are future revisions and additions to be made to these thoughts, but this is where I am for now. Dignity. People deserve to be treated… Continue reading

Michelle

Thirty-two years ago, I was twenty-four, Patty was twenty-two, Nathan wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye, and Michelle was about to enter the world. Always a pretty girl with big brown eyes An advanced child and early walker and talker A high achiever, being valedictorian of her junior high… Continue reading

History

Two groups recently approached me asking about a “missions project” that they could do. It leaves me at a bit of a loss since what I am working on is long term and arduous work. Ministry and mission is always about the people and never just about the project. People in poverty describe their… Continue reading

Tim Davis

  Last Thursday my forty-eight-year-old cousin, Tim passed out at his job in St. Joseph, Missouri and entered eternity with Jesus. Tim was the youngest of all the cousins and I still think of him as being much younger than his true age. He grew up in the rural northwestern Missouri… Continue reading

Fixed?

This post will make more sense if you begin by reading the first one in this series on the new healthcare law. Let’s look at how the new legislation addresses the problems with our current system of healthcare that I wrote about in the first post. Uninsured people. – FIXED in 2014! The… Continue reading

Broken

The much debated, little agreed upon healthcare reform is now the law of the land. Healthcare in this nation should have been reformed decades ago. Like any problem, the longer it continues, the more complex the solution becomes. Some things in our (non) system are very broken. Uninsured people. The number… Continue reading

Tribute

Maybe it was the release of Johnny Cash’s last CD, seven years after his death, but something got me thinking about the people who have died that I would really like to spend some time with. I find it strange that I can only think of a few. That might… Continue reading

Willie

You may think of Willie Nelson as an ancient pothead hippie with a nasal voice and a worn-out guitar. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but that description is vastly inadequate caricature. Thanks to my son and daughter-in-law who gifted us with tickets, we saw Willie in concert at a nearby historic… Continue reading

Co-operative

I recently learned of a large food pantry in our area closing while meeting with some social service providers as a community volunteer. Through personal experience in working at a food pantry, study, and personal conviction, I have come to see food pantries as a band-aid approaches to a much… Continue reading

Thorn

Community organizing has gotten a bad rap because of the recent ACORN scandals.  There are those community organizing groups that try to garner support to further their interests, rather than that which is in the best interest of the community. Building Powerful Community Organizations by Michael Jacoby Brown provides a healthy… Continue reading

Silos

Silos are those tall, round structures that you see on road trips through the Midwest. Each large grain farm will have one or more of them to protect the grain from the elements and store it until the market is right for selling. In the course of doing church work,… Continue reading

Helping 04

  I want to close this series of posts with a summary of what I am learning about poverty alleviation. What is the need? (Diagnosis) Is it relief, rehabilitation or development? Are we trying to help alleviate suffering through emergency aid (relief)? Or trying get things back to their previous… Continue reading

Helping 03

Truly helping the poor is so much different from I first imagined. Certainly, it is more demanding, more long-term, and more relational that I ever thought. Part 2 (of 3) of Corbett and Fikkert’s book, When Helping Hurts entitled, “General Principles for Helping Without Hurting,” begins with differentiating between relief, rehabilitation, and… Continue reading

Helping 02

Poverty-alleviation and truly serving the poor is a lot more involved than I once thought.  When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, brings together the necessary pieces of the puzzle to get a comprehensive perspective on the topic. Last week, I introduced the book. This week, I want… Continue reading

Helping 01

I have long held the conviction that the Gospel is more about action than it is about words and that it is more about going to people (or encountering them in relationships) than trying to get them to come to some kind of church service. Several years ago we had a… Continue reading