Saturday, December 30, 2006

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 2007,

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 (one each quarter) 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 during the New Year!

[This post first appeared here on January 1, 2006 and is reprinted this year in hopes of encouraging positive new action in inner city communities around the United States.]


Anonymous said...

I focus on issues of poverty in Chicago and work as you do to draw needed resources to non profits working to help connect inner city kids to learning, mentoring, tutoring, enrichment and career paths.

I have piloted uses of maps to show where poverty and poor schools are most concentrated in Chicago, and use links to help people find tutor/mentor programs in these areas. This might be something to add to you blog so that as people read your call to action, they can also shop by zip code to see where to get involved with time,dollars, leadership, etc.

The web site is and my blog is

Good luck to you in 2007.

Dan Bassill, Tutor/Mentor Connection

Larry James said...

Dan, thanks so much for this post and for your helpful information and suggestion. I will look into it for sure!

Happy New Year and best wishes as you continue your important work!

Frank Bellizzi said...

Thanks for this list of suggestions/ideas. Before I came to the comments here, I was planning to ask about being a mentor. That seems like a truly good thing, but I want to take a longer look.

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Great list Larry. I have printed it out and will be using this as a gut check guide for 2007.

Thanks for pointing us to the concerns of the kingdom.

Bobby Valentine

Steve Jr. said...

Larry - I've forwarded your list to the others on the leadership team of the Boston Faith + Justice Network, "an emerging network of Christians in the Greater Boston area who are committed to seeking God's justice as an expression of Christian faith and love." (