Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Resolutions For the Sake of Our Cities

Made your New Year's resolutions yet?

If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of low-income people who live in urban areas, consider these:

During 2006,

1. I will make the effort necessary to discover what organizations are working in the inner city of my community. I will pay particular attention to those groups who are working from within the community, utilizing the leadership skills of the people who live in the neighborhood being affected.

2. I will develop a working relationship with at least one community development organization working in an inner city neighborhood in my area.

3. I will investigate the place that justice and compassion assume in my own spiritual tradition. I will read the Bible with "new eyes" this year to discover what the ancient wisdom has to teach me about poverty, the poor and the role of faith in responding to human need.

4. I will determine how my present community of faith regards poor people in its own mission in my community. I will ask questions about how funds are spent. I will listen with a sharper ear to what my church teaches. I will observe what, if any, public stands it takes for and with the urban poor.

5. I will reach out to an urban public school in a manner that makes sense to me and that allows me to use my talents to mentor and to befriend at least one student in either an elementary, middle or high school.

6. I will read my local newspaper with an eye to the issues that affect the poorest, the weakest and the most vulnerable in my community.

7. I will read at least 4 books that relate to some aspect of poverty and the city.

8. I will consider beginning or joining a small group devoted to learning more about my city, its people and the connection of my spiritual and civic life to these concerns.

9. I will vote in every election. When I do, I will remember the poor.

10. I will visit at least one inner city church.

11. I will do my best to begin or to deepen a friendship with at least one person who lives in the inner city.

12. I will include the poor neighborhoods in my city on my prayer list.

Pick and choose. By all means, add your own ideas.

Just please remember the city and its people.


Mr. W said...

Do you ever listen to Derek Webb?

Steve Jr. said...

Good call on Derek Webb, Mr. W. He is a prophet to the church today, and I think Larry would really resonate with Webb's lyrics.

I like this song, "T-Shirts (What We Should Be Known For"):

they'll know us by the t-shirts that we wear
they'll know us by the way we point and stare
at anyone whose sin looks worse than ours
who cannot hide the scars of this curse that we all bare

they’ll know us by our picket lines and signs
they’ll know us by the pride we hide behind
like anyone on earth is living right
and isn’t that why Jesus died
not to make us think we’re right

when love, love, love
is what we should be known for
love, love, love
it’s the how and it’s the why
we live and breathe and we die

they’ll know us by reasons we divide
and how we can’t seem to unify
because we’ve gotta sing songs a certain style
or we’ll walk right down that aisle
and just leave ‘em all behind

they’ll know us by the billboards that we make
just turning God’s words to cheap clich├ęs
says “what part of murder don’t you understand?”
but we hate our fellow man
and point a finger at his grave

they'll know us by the t-shirts that we wear
they'll know us by the way we point and stare
telling ‘em their sins are worse than ours
thinking we can hide our scars
beneath these t-shirts that we wear

Larry James said...

Sorry to say, Mr. W, that I don't know Derek Webb. Thanks for pointing me his direction. And to you, Steve Jr., for the lyrics. Strong stuff.

Mr. W said...

You should check out his new album, "Mockingbird", whenever you get a chance... Here's the lyrics to my favourite song thus far called, "Rich Young Ruler"

is so hard to see
when it’s only on your TV
or twenty miles across town

where we're all living so good
we've moved out of Jesus' neighborhood
where he's hungry and not feeling so good
from going through our trash

He says more than just
your cash and coin,
I want your time
I want your voice,
I want the things you just can't give me

so what must we do
here in the west we want to follow you
we speak the language and we keep all the rules
even a few we've made up

come on and follow Me
sell your house,
sell your S.U.V.
sell your stocks and your security
and give it to the poor

well what is this?
hey what's the deal?
I don't sleep around and I don't steal
but I want the things you just can't give me
I want the things you just can't give me

because what you do to the least of these
my brothers you have done it to me
I want the things you just can't give me
I want the things you just can't give me

Larry James said...

Thanks, Mr. W.