Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conservative, Evangelical Christians on Immigration Reform

On Oct. 8 the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) voted without dissent in support of cmpre-hensive, national immigration reform.  NAE president Leith Anderson rallied and solidified the troops to see this position paper and value statement adopted after a couple of years of intensive study. 

The U. S. Congress would do well to read the document. 

Here's a taste for your consideraiton: 

Immigration 2009

The significant increase in immigration and the growing stridency of the national debate on immigration compel the National Association of Evangelicals to speak boldly and biblically to this challenging topic. The complexity of immigration issues provides an opportunity to mine Scripture for guidance. A biblically informed position provides a strong platform for the NAE to make a contribution in the public square that will be explicitly Christian. Out of commitment to Scripture and knowledge of national immigration realities comes a distinct call to action.

Biblical Foundations

Discussion of immigration and government immigration policy must begin with the truth that every human being is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). Immigrants are made in the image of God and have supreme value with the potential to contribute greatly to society. Jesus exemplifies respect toward others who are different in his treatment of the Samaritans (Luke 10:30-37; John 4:1-42).

The Bible contains many accounts of God’s people who were forced to migrate due to hunger, war, or personal circumstances. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the families of his sons turned to Egypt in search of food. Joseph, Naomi, Ruth, Daniel and his friends, Ezekiel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther all lived in foreign lands. In the New Testament, Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to escape Herod’s anger and became refugees in Egypt. Peter referred to the recipients of his first letter as “aliens” and “strangers,” perhaps suggesting that they were exiles within the Roman Empire. These examples from the Old and New Testaments reveal God’s hand in the movement of people and are illustrations of faith in God in difficult circumstances.

Migration was common in the ancient world. Outsiders were particularly vulnerable. They stood outside the kinship system that regulated the inheritance of property. They did not have extended family to care for them in case of need. The Law recognized their helplessness and stipulated measures that served as a safety net. The motivations behind this generous spirit were that the people of God were not to forget that they had been strangers in Egypt (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33-34) and that God loved the foreigner (Deuteronomy 10:18-19). The New Testament adds that all believers are spiritual sojourners on earth (Phil. 3:20; 1 Peter 2:11). Christians should show compassion and hospitality to outsiders (Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2).

The Bible does not offer a blueprint for modern legislation, but it can serve as a moral compass and shape the attitudes of those who believe in God. An appreciation of the pervasiveness of migration in the Bible must temper the tendency to limit discussions on immigration to Romans 13 and a simplistic defense of “the rule of law.” God has established the nations (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26), and their laws should be respected. Never-theless, policies must be evaluated to reflect that immigrants are made in the image of God and demonstrate biblical grace to the foreigner.

To read the entire statement click here.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An observation. . .

Jesus never told or asked rich people how they intended to "convert" the poor.

Rather, he offered invitations like, "Give all you have to the poor and come and follow me."

Maybe our ministry is really to and for the well-to-do--a ministry of giving it all away. 

What do you think?

Immigration: An Interactive "Explorer" Resource

The New York Times offers a very interesting interactive "immigration explorer" that allows users to target the entire nation, county by county to understand immigration patterns in the US since 1880. 

To view the map and explore for yourself, click here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You and/or your group can furnish a home for a homeless person

People frequently ask me, "Larry, what can I/we do to help a homeless person?" 

Or, "What can I/we do to make a real difference in the life of a 'poor' person?"

Often, folks are looking for up close and personal moments, times that are very difficult to "arrange" without the loss of dignity or authenticity. 

Almost universally, though, those who ask about what they can do, really mean it. 

People want to do something.  They seek tangible involvement.  They want to look back and be able to say, at a minimum, "I did it!"

Defining the "it" is the challenge!

Well, here is something you, your family (possibly as part of an alternative Christmas giving approach), your business, your civic club, your Sunday School or Sabbath School class, your fraternity or sorority can actually do:  furnish one of the apartments set aside at CityWalk @Akard, our new building located at 511 N. Akard in Downtown Dallas.

Above you'll see a visual of the furniture for a typical studio apartment floor plan.  In addition, with my plan you'll also be furnishing the basics for cooking, cleaning and just living in a new place. 

The cost to completely outfit a unit with everything a person will need to set up housekeeping? 


Interested in putting your name on a unit? 

Email me at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Prison and fathers

Working in inner city Dallas has made me very aware of the impact of prisons on neighborhoods and families. We spend far too much on locking people up, when we should be directing our resources at preparing people for life.

My good friend, Rev. George King sent me this clip created out of the experience of one young man.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dallas police ticketed 39 drivers in 3 years for not speaking English | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News

Dallas police ticketed 39 drivers in 3 years for not speaking English | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News

Posted using ShareThis

Two other very troubling reports in our paper this morning. . .

1 of 6 Americans classified as "living in poverty"

a new homeless doll now available for children at Christmas this year

More later. . .


Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) has been at it for twenty years. 

My experience in coaching inner city youth a few years back taught me that baseball serves as a great tool for building community and cooperation across a number of traditional and useless barriers. 

Check out the RBI story here

Friday, October 23, 2009

CDM lands award for "digital connections" training for youth

Janet Morrison, Director of Education Outreach at Central Dallas Ministries, decided to write a grant to establish a "digital connectors" group in the Roseland Homes community to benefit teens involved in our educational efforts. 

Well, guess what?  Her grant was judged a winner and CDM received funding to provide this amazing training to our teens!

Wireless carrier companies donated $1 million to train 360 urban youth in the latest wireless and digital technologies. 

Learn more about the concept here.  Once at the site, scroll down the column on the left to "One Economy Wireless" to view the interview about the program and the awards.

Way to go, Janet!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

COMMUNITY HUNGER DAY: Early Evening Update

My team is 39% of the way to our goal of $5,000!

See posts from earlier today. 

Click in here to help us reach our goal. 

I believe the crowd from now until midnight can get us over the finish line! 

Every dollar you give buys groceries for those in need.

Please pass our appeal along to 10 friends before you leave your computer. 

COMMUNITY HUNGER DAY: Mid-afternoon Update. . .

My team is now at 38% of goal! 

Your gift will move the needle away from "hunger."


My team is 36% of the way toward our goal of $5,000! 

Every cent raised will go to the purchase of high-quality grocery products for very low-income families who need a hand up.

So far this year, CDM has distributed over 1,200,000 pounds of groceries, a number equal to twice as much as we conveyed to the community during all of 2008!

So far this year, CDM has met with over 5,000 new families as compared to this time last year.  That is 5,000 new and unduplicated families who've come to us seeking assistance.

We need your help today. 

Click here to make a donation to our team's fund! 

Community Hunger Day is Here! You can help. . .

Distributing food is essential, especially in tough economic times like these. Savings achieved by families who use our food pantry means dollars freed up from tight, limited budgets to pay for housing, clothing, health care, transportation and child care.

Today, October 22 CDM hosts our "Second Annual Community Hunger Day."

You can help!

To find out how click here!

I know we can count on you.  Act before the day is over! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So, last Sunday, the preacher got around to answering the very important question, the most essential question, "What does God require?"

I grew up in a religious tradition that made an awful lot out of that question. 

Most of the answers that were found and "fed" to us had to do with matters related to church stuff--religious jargon, patterns, practices and ritual.  Sort of like what may be back of the billboards I've seen around town touting one congregation as "a church you can believe in." 

My heritage was like that.  We wanted to be in the right church and most of our belief system orbited around matters of church and organized religion and established traditions.

See, we were very concerned to understand what was required so that we could "get it right," especially in the church.

But, on last Sunday, the preacher messed with my mind. 

He stirred up all the assumptions of my childhood. 

He whacked me bad, I'm telling you! 

Oughta be a law against it, I tell you! 

So, then on Monday, I have lunch with a buddy who also attends the same church. 

He's messed up too! 

"Larry, I got stuck on the Bible reading and couldn't get off of it.  I locked in and my mind rolled!" he confessed. 

He grew up in the same heritage.

"What does the Lord require of you?"

There it was in black and white, right off the page of the pew Bible and into my head and heart. 

Oh, man, this is gonna be good! 

Here comes the answer, we both thought! 

Then, he messed with us. . .I mean, the Bible messed with us. . .well, both of 'em messed with us!

"To do justice!"

Uh, oh.

To act today to see that fairness, equity and practical, earth-related righteousness wins and is established as "standard operating procedure" wherever I find myself. 

It's on me.

Oh, my!

"To love mercy."

Hit me again!

To really love, enjoy, even dance in forgiving and overlooking the mess-ups of others, especially the sure-enough-guilty!  To get a charge out of extending grace to those who don't deserve anything but punishment and disdain and rotten comments on blog pages!


And finally, "to walk humbly with your God."

In other words, don't go around bragging when you occassionaly satisfy the first two requirements!

Help me, Lord! 


My buddy at lunch commented that such was a pretty good rule for life.

I agreed.

In fact, it is the only rule.  The one certain requirement.

How have we strayed so far away?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My young friends and "health insurance"

On Thursday, October 15, my young friend, David Null appeared before a U. S. House of Representatives committee considering health care reform.  David, Sherry and little Tatum experienced the failure of our current system of caring for one another's health as a people.  I decided to post David's comments in their entirety. 

United States House of Representatives
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Testimony of David Null

My name is David Null and my family’s insurance story begins in 1999. My best friend and I finally came to realize what we considered the American dream; we started our own company together. Our baby, Tatum, was now two and my wonderful wife, Sherry, quit her job teaching so we could raise our family at home.

We employed 12 and had group health coverage sponsored by the company. We were doing well, life was good. But like many Americans, 9/11/2001 hit our company hard. Contracts got cancelled, our business plummeted and we were forced to discontinue our group coverage within 6 months. That’s when we had toswitch to the individual policy market. Business was bad but we knew the value of insurance and didn’t want to go without, although sometimes we did. Three times in 5 years we were unable to continue coverage without lapse because of decreased business in the 9/11 aftermath. We’d lose coverage for a few months and then we’d get a good contract and get a new policy.

January of 2005 I found myself shopping for health insurance again. We had been without insurance for about 3 months when our youngest daughter, Hannah, fell in the bathtub and split her chin. A quick trip to the ER for a liquid bandage cost us almost $800. It served as an excellent but costly reminder for the need to be insured. So I began the search for another policy.

Sherry and I spoke at length to an insurance agent at our dining room table. I explained an event in detail to the agent when my mother had become deathly ill suddenly. Her intensive care had cost nearly $200,000. I explained to the gent, “I don’t mind paying for the doctor’s visit for the head cold. We can handle that out of pocket. It’s the big “Oh, no!” like what happened to my mother that I need to protect my family from financially. Something like that could bankrupt us.” The agent told us, “You’re a very savvy shopper and this is the policy for you. By the time you factor our negotiated rates and what the policy pays out, you’ll hardly have to pay anything.” The way he explained it, it sounded like we were getting what we asked for, protection from being bankrupted by the $200,000 example I gave him. Our premiums were affordable at $320 a month, about $100 less than what we paid just before for insurance. I was under the impression my savings were due to not having significant office visit coverage like I asked. We felt relieved to be protected again.

March of 2005, just three months later. We started out for Sea World for Tatum’s first spring break, she was seven. Tatum had been sick to her stomach a little but we left thinking she’d be better the next day. She was a quick healer and always the picture of health. We had been in the hotel only hours when she looked at us with canary yellow eyes. We knew something was very wrong and immediately headed home to see the doctor the next morning. We didn’t realize until we arrived home that Tatum’s condition had deteriorated so much that her peaceful sleep in the truck was actually her slipping into a coma. We rushed her to the hospital and before the sunset that day we were told she would require a liver transplant within days to possibly save her life, if they can keep her alive that long.

Tatum laid in the ICU clinging to life. Her brain swelling from the poisons accumulating that her liver normally removes. The doctors told us she was the sickest kid in the hospital and they struggled constantly just to keep her alive. She had only days at best to live. In the midst of all this, the transplant department administrator came to me and said we needed to talk about insurance and walked me to a council room. As we walked I thought to myself, “Aren’t I glad we picked up that policy when we did. Wonder what he wants to talk about”. We sat down and he proceeded to explain that my insurance had a 25,000 max and Tatum had reached that after the first night. She had no more insurance from this point forward and its hospital policy to collect a $200,000 deposit to proceed. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Could this be true? Surely it’s a mistake because this is the big oh no I was buying protection from. Now my precious child lies just down the hall struggling for her life. Suddenly, not only were we facing the possible death of our child but now the financial death of our family at the same time. How could this be happening to us when we have insurance for this?

Thankfully, the hospital CEO agreed to proceed without any guarantee of payment. Tatum’s life is most important to the hospital and we’re grateful for that humanity. Miraculously, within two days a donor had been located. A loving family, who lost their daughter Angela, graciously donated her liver to Tatum so she could keep living. Tatum received her transplant with probably less than 48 hours to live.

Once Tatum was stabilized, the hospital helped me apply for Medicaid and we were narrowly approved. The coverage was retro active so they covered the entire transplant. Tatum’s bill for the first stay of 21 days approached $600,000 and our so-called hospitalization policy only covered about 1/10th of that cost.

Even with insurance, this left a balance we could never bear to payback, it would have bankrupted us. Our insurance had failed us. We were clearly relieved that Medicaid covered the entire cost. Tatum and our finances both had near death experiences. Although, we didn’t know at the time what going on Medicaid was going to mean to our family. Our daughter had been on total life support for a week and now our finances would be going on life support for the next two years.

Post transplant is also medically expensive. Her blood labs were $4,000- 6,000 a month. Her medicine over $1,000. CT scans and liver biopsies were the norm. The first sign of rejection was cause for 3 days inpatient for IV treatment. Nine months post she developed a complication of the anti-rejection medicine and developed a cancerous like infection. That required 7 weeks in the hospital with IV treatments daily. That treatment caused her to need another monthly IV treatment that was several thousand dollars for each bag. We never knew what the next day would bring but we knew for sure we can’t afford even one day without insurance.

We began to look for insurance that would help cover her post transplant expenses so we could get off Medicaid. We thought Medicaid was there to help people who couldn’t afford insurance or their medical bills. Then I was told by insurance agents to “not waste the time, paper or ink filling out an application with Tatum on it because they won’t even accept it.” We were learning Tatum was blacklisted from individual policies. Getting a corporate sales job for group coverage didn’t seem like an option for me. I’d make too much during the waiting period for company insurance and we’d get dropped by Medicaid, leaving a gap we couldn’t cover. Sherry is a teacher and schools do most their hiring just once a year. Additionally, our family was instructed by the hospital to self quarantine from public for infectious reasons. Teaching is a sure way to bring home a virus that could put Tatum’s life at risk due to high immuno-suppression. We now had no where to turn. We were somehow stuck on Medicaid. Not because we couldn’t afford insurance, we thought we had insurance when this started. It was simply that the insurance industry would not make a policy available to us in the individual market.

So, in order to keep receiving health care for Tatum we had to voluntarily drop our income to near poverty to satisfy Medicaid requirements. The allowed monthly income limit on Medicaid was a shocking $1,613 a month for a family of 4. This barely allowed us to cover our mortgage, most utilities and some food bills. That’s under $20,000 a year. This meant I would frequently have to pass on work because I’d make too much for Medicaid. It was even suggested that we might fair better financially if we got a divorce.

Those were tough times and we found ourselves in the red every month. Many expenses went on credit waiting for a day when we could afford to make the money to pay it back. Interestingly, with Medicaid we never incurred any cost for her healthcare. We’re very lucky; we actually have no debt related directly to medical bills. The high cost of staying on Medicaid is on the backside, trying to survive financially on less than $20K a year. We took on tremendous debt, eliminated our savings and retirement and put our growth on hold trying to survive while she got the healthcare she needed. All because we didn’t get the insurance coverage we specifically asked to have.

After two years Tatum began to reclaim her new normal life. Her immune system and new liver were getting along much better and she was on a bare minimum of immuno-suppression. There were now more good days than bad so her mother could return to teaching, group health coverage and an entirely different insurance experience.

I found it interesting when we transitioned to group coverage; Tatum was accepted with open arms and without question. They wouldn’t give us the individual application and yet on the group application, all we had to do different was check a couple ‘yes’ boxes and write ‘liver transplant’ in a blank. Next thing we knew we had insurance cards in hand. The insurance cost deducted from Sherry’s paycheck is actually reasonable and identical to other co-teachers. Our rates have remained that way for three years now. Under group coverage we’re treated like we don’t have a preexisting. It would appear individual policies and group policies exist in completely different universes.

Her mother and I are thankful Tatum’s physical recovery is quicker than our finances. She’s growing, thriving and giving back. She regularly appears on behalf of Children’s Medical Center, the Southwest Transplant Alliance and is active in supporting her favorite charity, Make-A-Wish. Her life has been a joy and inspiration to many. We’d do it again for her sake. We’re thankful Medicaid was there for us to provide the protection that nobody else would. We’re equally thankful to be off Medicaid.

We do hope our testimony illustrates for you how the Hospitalization and Surgical policy in question here today was obviously worthless at actually protecting anyone from financial disaster with its ridiculously low maximum caps. Through all this, we’ve learned the languages of policies and agents can be confusing. In spite of both being college educated, we didn’t recognize or understand at the time that $25,000 maximum for “Misc Hospital Expenses” meant the total of the medical bill. We thought it literally meant misc hospital expenses. Even today we still find the wording a little counter-intuitive and misleading.

While policy language can be confusing, we asked in very simple terms, for a policy that would protect us from the big “Oh, no!” We ended up with a policy that would do no such thing. We trusted the agent was matching our needs to his product. He was not. His policy was saving us only 25% compared to our last policy but the $25,000 cap was 1/40th the coverage ($1million). No college degree is needed to see that’s not a good deal. Obviously not a policy with the consumer in mind.

While our testimony should be labeled “Grossly Under-insured”, we’ve since learned that even traditional $1 million policies are sometimes no challenge for long-term life threatening illnesses. Maybe 10 years ago it was sufficient. Today it’s very possible that $1 million will still leave you under-insured. They estimate that transplants, nationally, average somewhere in the ¾ million dollar range, plus post transplant expenses. Had we started our experience with a million dollar policy, we’d be close to maxing it out now, if not already. If that ever happens, my wife will be forced to move to another school district with a different insurance
provider or I must give up self-employment and take a corporate job. Only time will tell.

Most importantly, we’ve learned that being under-insured really is the same as being uninsured. They both lead to the same end. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that if your American dream is to be self-employed, the insurance companies can make it your nightmare. Under-insurance certainly impacted our lives. God has carried us through and we trust He will continue to do so, and we’re glad. We’ve certainly learned from this experience and are trying to move on.

It would seem like the story ends here but it’s actually just the beginning for Tatum.

Under-insurance isn’t the biggest tragedy of our story if you ask me. Tatum’s story encompasses another shortcoming of the health care system that you need to do something about so people like Tatum can be truly free. Without health care reform from Capitol Hill there will be more challenges for a grown up Tatum and those like her.

What will continue to sadden Sherry and me is the issue of blacklisting on the individual market, for life. That carries a lot of ramification behind it that most of us never consider. We’re lucky because Sherry’s dream has always been to teach and with that career choice we have access to group coverage. But that’s not every bodies dream. Does this mean Tatum and those like her, will be required to dream of corporate work for group coverage or marry into it. What if they get laid off? Small companies will certainly find reason to not hire her, or her husband, if they find out she’s transplanted because it will torpedo their insurance rates. Will
Tatum and her husband be forced into the Medicaid trap too, not because of finances but because of policy unavailability? Her career options to access affordable health care in the future are tremendously effected simply because the industry has designed it. Is that really fair? Is that American?

Consider this. When Tatum was four, she and her mother went to New York City. Tatum visited Ellis Island and stood transfixed on Lady Liberty, our American symbol of freedom and beacon to the world. Tatum even got herself a Lady Liberty costume. She was told Lady Liberty stands and invites the world to come to the land of opportunity, where anyone can follow their dreams. And yet Tatum, a born and bred American citizen, might not get to share in this dream through no fault of her own. Simply because the insurance industry has developed a system that won’t allow it. Our Tatum has so much potential, but for now, she doesn’t have full access to Lady Liberty’s promise to pursue her dreams. She can’t pursue little girl dreams to be an artist, or have a dress shop, a restaurant or self-employed in any fashion that requires individual coverage.

When she asks me what she should be when she grows up, I can’t tell her the same thing you probably told your kids. Right now I can’t tell her she can be anything she wants and you need to fix that. Do I tell her Lady Liberty does not stand for her too because the insurance industry has made it so with underinsurance and preexistings? Do I tell her the government before her today, a government for the people, by the people, refuses to take the steps to also protect her rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

What do we tell her? Tomorrow our family plans to see with our very own eyes our Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights. A true privilege and honor as an American. These documents were bought and upheld with the blood of men for all of us. What do we tell about her place in those? What do we tell her?

In closing, while my purpose today is to testify and answer your questions as an American citizen, I also come to pose just one question to the very distinguished committee as a father. Which of you, will commit yourself today to be able to look Tatum in the eyes and tell her, that you will be helping lead the way and you will see to it that when she grows up she’ll have affordable access to adequate healthcare, regardless of her occupation, and that today she too can start pursuing all her American Dreams?

We sincerely pray that God bless you and guide you. And God bless America.
Thank you.

To read a story on David and Tatum's powerfrul testimony click here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spirit in the Material

Does the spiritual become material so that the material can achieve amazing spiritual outcomes? 

Can it be that a new spirituality of material creativity, focused on touching all people in ways that relieve and connect, is now emerging?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"I see this every day. . ."

"This is the most amazing statement I believe you have ever made. Have you ever seen residents of a poor neighborhood make an annual trip to a surburb of perhaps $200,000 houses for a drive to "clean up" the community? I never have. On the other hand it is an annual event to go to a poor neighborhood and make a "clean sweep" of junk and old tires, old appliances tossed out the backdoor, etc. It takes dozens of people all day to do this, even serving lunch. So no, one will not find junk on the property of nicer neighborhoods at the same rate."

The statement above was posted as a comment in response to something I had written here not long ago about property values and urban redevelopment.  The comment comes from a regular reader who seldom, if ever, agrees with me. 

My daughter, Joanna, had an interesting comment about the statement. 

"Dad, I wanted to reply that I see this every day of the week in my neighborhood," she said.  "Poor, hard working people come into my neighborhood every week to clean the houses, to keep the landscape looking perfect and to haul off everything we throw away and waste.  We pay them to take care of all of the dirty work."

I like that.  I like that alot.  Thanks, Jo!

Many poor neighborhoods are filled with houses owned and ill-maintained by absentee landlords (i.e. slumlords).  Codes aren't enforced.  City services can become sub-standard.  Residents do the best they can with the resources available. 

I guess I'm like my daughter.  We've just seen the folks.  We just know the people.  Cheap judgment and knee-jerk hatred just doesn't get it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hybels on Immigration

Bill Hybels founded the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.  Church leaders by the hundreds of thousands have made the pilgrimmage to Willow Creek across the past twenty-five years or so to glean wisdom on church growth and effectiveness from Hybles. 

Now Bill and Lynne Hybels participate in Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform as advocates for the millions of immigrants who find themselves in the U. S. without the documentation that they need to function fully and freely. 

I find the statement made by the Hybels before Congress both surprising and encouraging. 

Here's the beginning of a longer statement:

I, Lynne Hybels, would like to submit this testimony on behalf of myself and my husband, Bill Hybels … Even though the issues of immigration can often be viewed as a political, economic, or security issue, our perspective on immigration has been formed at the community level as local church leaders. In this capacity, we are continually confronted with immigration, not necessarily as a policy issue but as a personal issue in which we witness the human consequences of a broken immigration system every day.

Our faith informs us that we were all strangers and aliens once, separated from God. Because God was willing to include us in his redemptive plan, we “are no longer strangers and aliens, but [we] are fellow citizens” (Ephesians 2:18-19a). As Christians, we accept the biblical perspective that we are all sojourners on this earth, commanded to steward it while we await the full arrival of God’s eternal kingdom. Recognizing that we are all sojourners on this land, no matter what our legal status, compels us to extend solidarity to all. This deep sense of solidarity with others is a foundational truth of our country. We are a nation with historical roots grounded in immigration: out of necessity, many of our ancestors came to this country, and then found a home here.

This perspective can help inform our current perspectives on immigration. Remembering our own history as immigrants, we must take God seriously when, in Scripture, he repeatedly calls on his people to remember their past as sojourners and to treat the aliens among them accordingly. “The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Throughout the Old Testament, God repeats the command to love the alien just as he himself does (Deuteronomy 10:18), and makes clear his desire for us to emulate his special concern for the foreign-born who, along with orphans and widows, are recognized as particularly vulnerable (Psalm 146:9, Zechariah 7:10).

To read the entire statement click here and follow links to all of the material. 

Bravo, Hybels!  Bravo!

While you're at it, take a look at the editorial comment that appeared in The New York Times last Sunday, October 11, 2009 by clicking here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic.

Not sure I've ever seen or heard anything quite like his story or his attitude.  Life through a million tears, tears that can inspire a transformation; better, a revolution of living!

Learn more at Nick's website here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Help me raise $5,000 and serve 5,000 meals

Please join my campaign to raise $5,000 to provide 5,000 nutrious meals to low-income families living in inner city Dallas.

Check here to learn how to join my team today.

Every cent will go to purchase nutritive food products.

Or, even better, create your own team and help us expand the effort beyond belief!

Thanks in advance for your support! 

Dallas Morning News points to Justice Revival

The "Points" section of The Dallas Morning News today features a Q & A with Sojourners founder and leader, Jim Wallis

The subject of the interview is the upcoming Justice Revival here in Dallas on November 10-12 each night at Market Hall

Participants will be called to engage the community at two crucial points:  partnerships involving local congregations and public schools and housing development for the homeless. 

Read the conversation with Wallis here

Learn more about the Justice Revival here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Justice Revival Seeks Church-School Partnerships

The upcoming Justice Revival set for November 10-12, 2009, will be seeking to identify churches willing to establish partnerships with local, public schools.

Here's an example of what we hope will happen with at least 25 churches.

Click here to read more about the experience of Pastor Jeff Jones and the Chase Oaks Church.

For more information, call us.

The NFL's Jackie Robinson

In the October 12, 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated, Alexander Wolff published a fascinating essay dealing with the "lost history" of "The NFL's Jackie Robinson."

Here's a taste of Wolff's very enlightening commentary:

He broke professional football's color barrier in 1946, yet even though he played alongside Robinson in college, few people remember the great running back Kenny Washington or the shameful history of segregation in the NFL.

The actors took their marks, director Stanley Kubrick stood at the ready, and Woody Strode turned on the 100-yard stare he had deployed so effectively a decade earlier on the football field. By then, in late 1959, Strode had largely moved on from the frustration of his single season in the NFL. He and Kenny Washington, his teammate at UCLA, had broken the league's color barrier with the Los Angeles Rams in 1946, and since then Strode had cashed in on the physique that once made Leni Riefenstahl beg him to model for her. He had gone to Canada and won a Grey Cup and spent off-seasons barnstorming as a good-guy pro wrestler. Now he was in the movies, preparing for the scene in Spartacus in which he and Kirk Douglas are ordered to fight to the death. Suddenly Strode heard the voice of another actor in the cast.

"Woody Strode!" said Laurence Olivier.

"Yes, sir?"

"I'm a fan of yours and Kenny Washington's."

"I don't know what I'm doing here in your business," Strode said.

"What you're about to do," Olivier replied, "I could never do."

What Strode does in Spartacus—he subdues a fellow slave in one of cinema's epic one-on-one battles but refuses to kill him and is instead finished off by a Roman general, played by Olivier—emblemizes the ferocious, tragic grace with which Strode and Washington made history. Today those feats go essentially unremembered. Their NFL careers were brief and, in Strode's case, personally unfulfilling; both men had passed their primes when the league finally admitted them. But together they were to the NFL what their UCLA football teammate Jackie Robinson would be to major league baseball one year later: pulling guards in the sweep of history.

Baseball, bless its pastoral soul, offers a tidy and reassuring desegregation narrative. It's a story that reflects how we like to think of ourselves, as a society forever improving if not perfecting itself, and it offers ennobling roles for whites as well as blacks. We know the archetypes: commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, overtaken symbol of the bigoted past; Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, patron of a new day; Robinson, who fulfills his potential once given the chance. Robinson is one of the first men we see when we visit Cooperstown, at the very portals of the Hall of Fame, in life-sized bronze paired with the words CHARACTER and COURAGE.

By rights the NFL should be able to celebrate a history of abiding enlightenment. Whereas organized baseball began excluding African-Americans in 1898 and kept them out for the next five decades, pro football's Shelby (Ohio) Athletic Club paid a black man, Charles Follis, to play for it in 1904. In 1920 the Akron Pros' black quarterback, Fritz Pollard, was the first great star of the league that would two years later rename itself the NFL, and he even served as his team's player-coach. (Not just a black NFL quarterback, not just a black NFL coach, but both at the same time!) At the peak of African-American participation, in 1923, six players suited up in the NFL. But as the pro game grew in popularity, the ranks thinned to just two in 1933. The following year the league began a stretch of 12 all-white seasons that, Arthur Ashe writes in his survey of the African-American athlete, A Hard Road to Glory, has to be "one of the blackest spots on the record of American professional sports.... All NFL records should properly show asterisks beside any records made during this era."

How did the league come to bleach itself white?

To discover Wolff's conclusions, click here.