Tag Archives: poor

How True

How True

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April 10, 2014 · 15:27

What Jesus didn’t say

What Jesus didn't say

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February 22, 2014 · 09:20

Francis

Francis

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December 3, 2013 · 17:15

The Great Divide – Britain in 2013

The Great Divide - Britain in 2013

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October 15, 2013 · 19:54

American Shutdown (October 2013) via Huff Post

How The Government Shutdown Affects Religious Groups
Kevin Eckstrom, Cathy Lynn Grossman, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, David Gibson, Adelle M. Bank, and Katherine BurgessReligion News ServiceOct 09, 2013
WASHINGTON (RNS) As the government shutdown enters its second week, some religious groups are starting to feel the pinch, and they’re also finding ways to reach out.

More than 90 Catholic, evangelical and Protestant leaders have signed a statement rebuking “pro-life” lawmakers for the shutdown, saying they are “appalled that elected officials are pursuing an extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families” who won’t receive government benefits.

Starting Wednesday, evangelical, Catholic and mainline Protestant leaders will hold a daily “Faithful Filibuster” on Capitol Hill with Bible verses on the poor “to remind Congress that its dysfunction hurts struggling families and low-income people.”

Here’s how the shutdown is impacting religious groups in ways large and small:

Rescheduled weddings

The national parks closure has prompted a blessing for some couples locked out of their planned wedding venues. Churches are opening their gardens and doors to shutdown refugees.

First, Washington Episcopal Bishop Mariann Budde invited displaced couples to wed at the Bishop’s Garden at the Washington National Cathedral. There are at least 11 weddings booked during the next two weeks, diocesan spokesman Jim Naughton said. Three have been held so far.

Then, a small church near Cincinnati, Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador in Mount Auburn, Ohio, followed the cathedral’s lead.

“We have a small garden, but it’s really nice,” the Rev. Paula Jackson told a local website. “We don’t know how long this shutdown is going to last … This is one thing we can do for people, who have a very important moment in their lives planned.”

For couples whose Grand Teton National Park wedding dreams were dashed, there’s hope: St. John’s Church in Jackson Hole, Wyo., is offering shut-out sweethearts the spacious community green in front of the main sanctuary.

St. John’s Rector Ken Asel said he will put out the word that the biggest private green space in Jackson Hole will be available for the couples. Unfortunately, St. John’s most famous chapel, the Chapel of the Transfiguration with its window view of Grand Teton, will not be available because it is surrounded by the national park.

Workmen who needed to winterize the building for the season had to outrun park rangers once the roads through the park to the chapel were locked down.

D.C. sites shuttered

The play “The Laramie Project,” about gay rights icon Matthew Shepard, was scheduled to be performed at the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, but several of its October dates have shifted to the nearby First Congregational United Church of Christ. The theater, where President Lincoln was shot in 1865, is operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service.

Church bus accident

The National Transportation Safety Board might have investigated the Oct. 2 church bus accident in which eight people died in eastern Tennessee. But all of its highway investigators were furloughed.

“In this particular case I think it’s highly likely that we would have responded to it, but again, with our investigators furloughed, it’s impossible to do that,” Sharon Bryson, the NTSB’s deputy director of communications, told NBC News.

Charitable funds dry up

The government shutdown also threatens to reduce or shutter charitable services operated by faith-based groups that use federal funds.

As Catholic News Service reports, the Diocese of Wichita (Kansas) is covering the costs of programs for homeless families and battered women run by the local branch of Catholic Charities. In Washington, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it would be able to continue assisting immigrants through its Migration and Refugee Services for a couple of months if necessary.

But officials also made it clear that these are only stopgap measures that still leave the poor and vulnerable at greater risk.

“It is hypocritical and shameful for those who tout their commitment to family values to show such callous indifference,” said an Oct. 2 statement released by Faith in Public Life and signed by a range of Catholic and other Christian leaders.

Contraception mandate lawsuits

Justice Department lawyers are asking for more time in a case challenging the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, which has drawn strong opposition from a number of religious groups and institutions, including a suit filed by Geneva College in western Pennsylvania.

During the shutdown, government attorneys “are prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis, except in very limited circumstances, including ‘emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,’” federal attorneys told a federal court in Pittsburgh, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Military chaplains

The shutdown caused some initial confusion about whether military chaplains would be able to perform religious services. The House passed a resolution Saturday (Oct. 5) urging the secretary of defense to not allow the government shutdown to reduce religious services on military bases. The Senate has not yet voted on the bill.

Military chaplains continue to work during the shutdown, but the resolution was aimed at contract chaplains involved in performing religious services or conducting religious activities, according to Military Times. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he would reinstate almost all of the 350,000 civilian employees of the Defense Department, which was expected to allow contract priests to say Mass.

Still, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services says the shutdown is threatening Catholic service members’ religious rights. “Priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work — not even to volunteer. During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so,” warned John Schlageter, general counsel for the military archdiocese.

Fun for furloughed federal employees

A short walk from the Capitol sits Sixth & I, a restored synagogue that is now part synagogue and part cultural center and that has proven especially popular with younger Jewish adults. During the shutdown, Sixth & I sponsors “Shutdown Central” under the motto “A shutdown shouldn’t mean putting your mind to rest. Let’s make something out of this nothing.”

On any given day, that means a roster of programming that can include improv classes with local comedians, a class on government transparency and a knitting circle. But every day there’s “Political Ping Pong,” board games and the constant streaming of “The West Wing.”

In Vernal, Utah, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church offered free lunch to furloughed employees on Sunday (Oct. 6): “We recognize that those who are employed by the Federal Government are an integral part of what makes our community work and that their loss of wages is through no fault of their own.”

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Raleigh, NC Police Threaten To Arrest Good Samaritans Who Feed The Homeless

Progressive Populist

Posted by Progressive Populist – 24 August 2013

                 raleigh nc 2

                       

 

Fresh on the heels of a law being passed in Columbia, South Carolina that makes being homeless illegal, we have yet another situation where the homeless and the downtrodden are basically being treated like savage animals and kicked to the curb.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, a group of good Samaritans from Love Wins Ministry, along with five other churches who contribute funds and manpower, have been going to a local park on virtually every Saturday and Sunday, bringing food to homeless people for years. They would bring breakfast sandwiches and coffee and give them away, for free, to anyone who wanted it. By all means, it has been a very kind and generous deed that these folks have been doing over the years. A true grassroots effort to help others who are in need, and a huge testament to human compassion and spirit.

raleigh nc 1

By all means, this act of human kindness was not causing anyone any problems. Until one recent day when the group showed up with around 100 sausage biscuits and hot coffee. Some 70 people were waiting in line to be served their free meal. Also present were officers from the Raleigh Police Department, and they were not there for a free sausage biscuit sandwich. They told the group that if they served any of their food to the homeless folks who were waiting in the line that they would be arrested. Clearly, no food was going to be served today to those 70 people, and apparently not on any day going forward.

The group has never had any prior run-ins with the police. They were not allowed to use the park itself without paying for an expensive permit, so they have always set up shop on the sidewalk near the park, as long as they were not blocking it and cleaned up their messes.

The reason given by the cop for not being able to provide food to the homeless and the hungry was this: “I am just telling you what is. Now you pass out that food, you will go to jail.”

There were no apparent ordinance violations. Just a simple message from a cop that obviously came from someone higher up the chain of command. And the good Samaritans have every intention of continuing their good deeds, but have not yet determined the logistics of doing so.

And apparently, it’s still legal to feed animals at the park – just not humans.

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Bakers Anonymous

  • Somewhere in West Tennessee, not far from Graceland, nine women — or “The 9 Nanas,” as they prefer to be called — gather in the darkness of night. At 4am they begin their daily routine — a ritual that no one, not even their husbands, knew about for 30 years. They have one mission and one mission only: to create happiness. And it all begins with baked goods.
    “One of us starts sifting the flour and another washing the eggs,” explained Nana Mary Ellen, the appointed spokesperson for their secret society. “And someone else makes sure the pans are all ready. We switch off, depending on what we feel like doing that day.
    “But you make sure to say Nana Pearl is in charge, because she’s the oldest!” she added with a wink and a smile.
    Over the next three hours, The 9 Nanas (who all consider themselves sisters, despite what some of their birth certificates say) will whip up hundreds of pound cakes, as part of a grand scheme to help those in need. And then, before anyone gets as much as a glimpse of them, they’ll disappear back into their daily lives. The only hint that may remain is the heavenly scent of vanilla, lemon and lime, lingering in the air.
    Even the UPS driver, who picks up hundreds of packages at a time, has no clue what these women, who range in age from 54 to 72, are doing. He’s just happy to get a hug and a bag filled with special treats. What he doesn’t know is that he’s part of their master plan. A plan that began 35 years ago — when the “sisters” got together for their weekly card game — something their husbands referred to as “Broads and Bridge.”
    “Pearl says it was all her idea,” Mary Ellen teased, “but as I remember it, we were sitting around reminiscing about MaMaw and PaPaw and all the different ways they would lend a hand in the community.” MaMaw and PaPaw are the grandparents who raised four of the women, Mary Ellen included, when their mother passed away; and they took in Pearl as their own, when her parents needed some help.
    “MaMaw Ruth would read in the paper that someone had died,” Mary Ellen remembered, “and she’d send off one of her special pound cakes. She didn’t have to know the family. She just wanted to put a little smile on their faces. And we started thinking about what we could do to make a difference like that. What if we had a million dollars? How would we spend it?
    So the ladies began brainstorming.
    “One of the sisters suggested that we should all start doing our own laundry and put the money we saved to good use. I admit, I protested at first. There’s just something about laundering that I don’t like. But I was outnumbered! So among the nine of us, we’d put aside about $400 a month and our husbands never noticed a thing. Their shirts looked just fine.”
    And then the women started listening. They’d eavesdrop — all with good intentions, of course — at the local beauty shop or when they were picking up groceries. And when they heard about a widow or a single mom who needed a little help, they’d step in and anonymously pay a utility bill or buy some new clothes for the children.
    “We wanted to help as much as we could,” Mary Ellen said, “without taking away from our own families, so we became coupon clippers. And we’d use green stamps. Remember those? We’d use green stamps and we’d make sure to go to Goldsmith’s department store on Wednesdays. Every week they’d have a big sale and you could spend $100 and walk away with $700 worth of merchandise.”
    The Nanas would find out where the person lived and send a package with a note that simply said, “Somebody loves you” — and they’d be sure to include one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes.
    The more people they helped, the bolder they became.
    “We gave new meaning to the term drive-by,” Mary Ellen said with delight. “We’d drive through low-income neighbourhoods and look for homes that had fans in the window. That told us that the people who lived there didn’t have air-conditioning. Or we’d see that there were no lights on at night, which meant there was a good chance their utilities had been turned off. Then we’d return before the sun came up, like cat burglars, and drop off a little care package.”
    For three decades, the ladies’ good deeds went undetected — that is, until five years ago, when Mary Ellen’s husband, whom she lovingly calls “Southern Charmer,” started noticing extra mileage on the car and large amounts of cash being withdrawn from their savings account.
    “He brought out bank statements and they were highlighted!” Mary Ellen said, recalling the horror she felt. “I tried to explain that I had bought some things, but he had this look on his face that I’d never seen before — and I realized what he must have been thinking. I called the sisters and said, ‘You all need to get over here right away.’”
    So 30 years into their secret mission, the 9 Nanas and their husbands gathered in Mary Ellen’s living room and the sisters came clean. They told the husbands about the laundry and the eavesdropping — even the drive-bys. And that’s where their story gets even better — because the husbands offered to help.
    “They were amazed that we were doing this and even more amazed that they never knew. We can keep a good secret! All but three of them are retired now, so sometimes they come with us on our drive-bys. In our area, all you need is an address to pay someone’s utility bill, so we keep the men busy jotting down numbers.”
    It wasn’t long before the couples decided it was also time to tell their grown children. And that’s when happiness began to happen in an even bigger way. The children encouraged their mothers to start selling MaMaw Ruth’s pound cakes online, so they could raise money to help even more people. And it wasn’t long before they were receiving more than 100 orders in a day.
    “The first time we saw those orders roll in, we were jumping up and down,” Mary Ellen said with a laugh. “We were so excited that we did a ring-around-the-rosie! Then we called all the children and said, ‘What do we do next?'”
    That’s when the 9 Nanas moved their covert baking operation out of their homes and into the commercial kitchen of a restaurant owned by one of their sons, where they can sneak in before sunrise and sneak out before the staff comes in. They even hired a “happiness coordinator” (whose code name is “Sunny,” of course). Her identity needs to be a secret, too, so she can help out with the eavesdropping.
    “We swore her to secrecy — her parents think she works in marketing. And, really, if you think about it, she is doing public relations and spends a lot of time looking for people to help at the supermarket!”
    These days, The 9 Nanas are able to take on even bigger projects, given their online success. Recently they donated more than $5,000 of pillows and linens and personal care products to a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. And this August, they’ll celebrate their second consecutive “Happiness Happens Month” by sending tokens of their appreciation to one person in every state who has made a difference in their own community.
    And that million dollars they once wished for? They’re almost there. In the last 35 years, the 9 Nanas have contributed nearly $900,000 of happiness to their local community.
    But that doesn’t mean they’re too busy to continue doing the little things that make life a bit happier. Sometimes they just pull out the phone book and send off pound cakes to complete strangers. And if the Nanas spot someone at the grocery store who appears to need a little help, it’s not unusual for them to start filling a stranger’s cart.
    “Not everyone is as lucky as we were to have MaMaw and PaPaw to take care of them, to fix all those things that are wrong.
    “So this is our way of giving back,” Mary Ellen said. “We want people to know that someone out there cares enough to do something. We want to make sure that happiness happens.”
    “it’s about more than just the coffee” Suspended Coffees
    Thanks to Erin Masterson Korbylo and dailygood.org for the story
    Somewhere in West Tennessee, not far from Graceland, nine women -- or "The 9 Nanas," as they prefer to be called -- gather in the darkness of night. At 4am they begin their daily routine -- a ritual that no one, not even their husbands, knew about for 30 years. They have one mission and one mission only: to create happiness. And it all begins with baked goods. “One of us starts sifting the flour and another washing the eggs,” explained Nana Mary Ellen, the appointed spokesperson for their secret society. “And someone else makes sure the pans are all ready. We switch off, depending on what we feel like doing that day. “But you make sure to say Nana Pearl is in charge, because she’s the oldest!” she added with a wink and a smile. Over the next three hours, The 9 Nanas (who all consider themselves sisters, despite what some of their birth certificates say) will whip up hundreds of pound cakes, as part of a grand scheme to help those in need. And then, before anyone gets as much as a glimpse of them, they’ll disappear back into their daily lives. The only hint that may remain is the heavenly scent of vanilla, lemon and lime, lingering in the air. Even the UPS driver, who picks up hundreds of packages at a time, has no clue what these women, who range in age from 54 to 72, are doing. He’s just happy to get a hug and a bag filled with special treats. What he doesn’t know is that he’s part of their master plan. A plan that began 35 years ago -- when the “sisters” got together for their weekly card game -- something their husbands referred to as “Broads and Bridge.” “Pearl says it was all her idea,” Mary Ellen teased, “but as I remember it, we were sitting around reminiscing about MaMaw and PaPaw and all the different ways they would lend a hand in the community.” MaMaw and PaPaw are the grandparents who raised four of the women, Mary Ellen included, when their mother passed away; and they took in Pearl as their own, when her parents needed some help. “MaMaw Ruth would read in the paper that someone had died,” Mary Ellen remembered, “and she’d send off one of her special pound cakes. She didn’t have to know the family. She just wanted to put a little smile on their faces. And we started thinking about what we could do to make a difference like that. What if we had a million dollars? How would we spend it? So the ladies began brainstorming. “One of the sisters suggested that we should all start doing our own laundry and put the money we saved to good use. I admit, I protested at first. There’s just something about laundering that I don’t like. But I was outnumbered! So among the nine of us, we’d put aside about $400 a month and our husbands never noticed a thing. Their shirts looked just fine.” And then the women started listening. They’d eavesdrop -- all with good intentions, of course -- at the local beauty shop or when they were picking up groceries. And when they heard about a widow or a single mom who needed a little help, they’d step in and anonymously pay a utility bill or buy some new clothes for the children. “We wanted to help as much as we could,” Mary Ellen said, “without taking away from our own families, so we became coupon clippers. And we’d use green stamps. Remember those? We’d use green stamps and we’d make sure to go to Goldsmith’s department store on Wednesdays. Every week they’d have a big sale and you could spend $100 and walk away with $700 worth of merchandise.” The Nanas would find out where the person lived and send a package with a note that simply said, “Somebody loves you” -- and they’d be sure to include one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes. The more people they helped, the bolder they became. “We gave new meaning to the term drive-by,” Mary Ellen said with delight. “We’d drive through low-income neighborhoods and look for homes that had fans in the window. That told us that the people who lived there didn’t have air-conditioning. Or we’d see that there were no lights on at night, which meant there was a good chance their utilities had been turned off. Then we’d return before the sun came up, like cat burglars, and drop off a little care package.” For three decades, the ladies’ good deeds went undetected -- that is, until five years ago, when Mary Ellen’s husband, whom she lovingly calls “Southern Charmer,” started noticing extra mileage on the car and large amounts of cash being withdrawn from their savings account. “He brought out bank statements and they were highlighted!” Mary Ellen said, recalling the horror she felt. “I tried to explain that I had bought some things, but he had this look on his face that I’d never seen before -- and I realized what he must have been thinking. I called the sisters and said, 'You all need to get over here right away.'” So 30 years into their secret mission, the 9 Nanas and their husbands gathered in Mary Ellen’s living room and the sisters came clean. They told the husbands about the laundry and the eavesdropping -- even the drive-bys. And that’s where their story gets even better -- because the husbands offered to help. “They were amazed that we were doing this and even more amazed that they never knew. We can keep a good secret! All but three of them are retired now, so sometimes they come with us on our drive-bys. In our area, all you need is an address to pay someone’s utility bill, so we keep the men busy jotting down numbers.” It wasn’t long before the couples decided it was also time to tell their grown children. And that’s when happiness began to happen in an even bigger way. The children encouraged their mothers to start selling MaMaw Ruth’s pound cakes online, so they could raise money to help even more people. And it wasn’t long before they were receiving more than 100 orders in a day. “The first time we saw those orders roll in, we were jumping up and down,” Mary Ellen said with a laugh. “We were so excited that we did a ring-around-the-rosie! Then we called all the children and said, 'What do we do next?'" That’s when the 9 Nanas moved their covert baking operation out of their homes and into the commercial kitchen of a restaurant owned by one of their sons, where they can sneak in before sunrise and sneak out before the staff comes in. They even hired a “happiness coordinator” (whose code name is “Sunny,” of course). Her identity needs to be a secret, too, so she can help out with the eavesdropping. “We swore her to secrecy -- her parents think she works in marketing. And, really, if you think about it, she is doing public relations and spends a lot of time looking for people to help at the supermarket!” These days, The 9 Nanas are able to take on even bigger projects, given their online success. Recently they donated more than $5,000 of pillows and linens and personal care products to a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. And this August, they’ll celebrate their second consecutive “Happiness Happens Month” by sending tokens of their appreciation to one person in every state who has made a difference in their own community. And that million dollars they once wished for? They’re almost there. In the last 35 years, the 9 Nanas have contributed nearly $900,000 of happiness to their local community. But that doesn’t mean they’re too busy to continue doing the little things that make life a bit happier. Sometimes they just pull out the phone book and send off pound cakes to complete strangers. And if the Nanas spot someone at the grocery store who appears to need a little help, it’s not unusual for them to start filling a stranger’s cart. “Not everyone is as lucky as we were to have MaMaw and PaPaw to take care of them, to fix all those things that are wrong. “So this is our way of giving back,” Mary Ellen said. “We want people to know that someone out there cares enough to do something. We want to make sure that happiness happens.” "it's about more than just the coffee" @[431946943566996:274:Suspended Coffees] Thanks to Erin Masterson Korbylo and dailygood.org for the story
    DOUGH!
    homer-doh

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Messy Church

The Truth Is Too Messy For Church

June 3, 2013 | Filed under: Headlines,Rants,Religion | Posted by: 
 

 

“The truth is not the stuff of edifying hymns, rather it is dangerous, dirty and smelly business. Not everyone has the stomach for it, above all those who say, “Lord, Lord” and then head for cover the minute the Lord shows up dressed in rags and smelling like a street person.”  ~  John Caputo.

Or He shows up as those millions of uninsured who will not be covered because certain Governors won’t take the federal funding for Medicaid that’s available to them. Or the innocent human beings whose lives are lost in drone attacks. Or how about the hundreds of thousands lost in two unnecessary wars: The same wars whose presidential briefings were headlined with Biblical quotes.

No, the truth is a messy business that we don’t let soil our Sunday-go-to-church clothes. Yes, churches, as organizations, do their part. They take up special collections for the unfortunate. They do major charity work throughout the world. I’m not criticizing them.

I’m pointing to a form of hypocrisy like that found in the American politico-religiosity, such as prayer breakfasts when supposedly sincere politicians come together to pray and then go vote against the help needed by so many of our fellow Americans.

Let’s get past labels, because labels hide the truth. The real truth so many of us are willing to ignore so we can fit in with the majority views of our social groups. Because fitting in is more comfortable.

Although Finley Peter Dunne was referring to Newspapers when he coined the phrase “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”, I think it’s the proper role of religion. But as Caputo so aptly points out, the truth can be very uncomfortable and the last thing post modern Americans want is discomfort. In fact, the reverse is true, post modern religion, comforts the comfortable.

We can go to church and feel good about ourselves because we are there. We hear how we are made in God’s image. An image based on our ideals. An image of successful people who look and dress like us. We must be the chosen because we’re there in church.

So we’ve modified our religious beliefs to be easier to apply, more civil. Excuse the word, but genteel comes to mind. And the truth is anything but genteel.

Please understand. I’m as guilty as the next guy. I saw it in myself one day a few months ago when a particular couple came to my church. They were poorly dressed, obviously didn’t practice good personal hygiene, and I wondered why they were there.

Then it came to me. The Biblical quote from Matthew, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

And there I was trying desperately to be comfortable in the presence of the uncomfortable truth. The majority of people in the world look and smell like this couple because they have no access to sanitation, education, healthcare, nutrition, clean water.

All the resources we take for granted here in the U.S. All the resources that allow us to justify our sanitized religious beliefs.

So we practice the idolatry of worshiping sanitized religious beliefs that ignore the truth of the conditions, in which most of humanity lives.

From Caputo again, “The next time we look up to heaven and piously pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” we may find that he is already here, trying to get warm over an urban steam grate or cross our borders.”

Our ability to separate religious truths from our politics, all the while using religion as a political litmus test is breathtaking. In this regard, we are truly exceptional.

Robert De Filippis

 

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John Cusack

John Cusack

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May 8, 2013 · 08:08