Friday, January 29, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Urban war on poverty

[Now over 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.  Johnson's so called "war on poverty" has been a source of conflict and contentious debate since it became law.  No doubt his efforts relieved millions from the suffering of poverty, including senior citizens who benefited from Johnson's Medicare program. 

Viet Nam interfered with Johnson's plans, distracted him and the nation and brought the real progress he led to a standstill.  Today the battle has shifted to the great cities of the United States.  The following essay describes the new terrain of whatever war might be underway against growing poverty in our nation.]

Waging the 21st-Century War on Poverty

Lyndon Johnson signing the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

[Now over] Fifty years ago today, during his State of the Union address, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This war was to be waged primarily through federal legislation. An array of bills and acts resulted in the creation of programs such as food stamps, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid and work-study. Today, these programs make for the basis of a contentious, and often divisive, national debate about how Americans live and what we as a society envision as the rights of the most vulnerable among us.

Read the entire report here

Monday, January 25, 2016


It's really a wonder that I caught sight of it as I walked across Dallas' "Tent City" neighborhood under the I-45 overpass

Tucked away in the very back of a small tent, as if positioned on a very fine, newly made bed; I saw a small, yellow Teddy bear. 

The tent's owner was no child.  A grown woman, out for the day somewhere in Dallas, would return at some point to reconnect with one of her prized possessions

The little bear waited "at home" for her return. 

The little toy communicated a world of information about the place where it rested, as well as the person who owned it. 











The yellow Teddy bear invited me into a deeper level of concern for an unknown person who walked the streets in need of a home, a new home for her and her bear. 

The little bear challenged me to act.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


   Who Can Be Trusted?

A Translation of Psalm 15
Lord, who can be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched as their family
and the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people’s trust.
Their compassion lights up the whole earth,
and their kindness endures forever.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Work supports encourage labor

The Earned Income Tax Credit rewards people for working, even low-skilled workers who struggle to make life work for themselves and their families.

What follows is a conversation at the Kemp Forum on Opportunity about motivation to move toward a working life in the U. S.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jim Wallis and his new book: timely!

Jim Wallis' new book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, appears to be a "must read" for anyone concerned about racism in American Culture. 

Take a look at the video that previews the book. 

Do black lives matter to white Christians?
Do black lives matter to white Christians?
Posted by Sojourners on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Income shrinking for "poor" workers/families while rich grow richer. . .

Clearly, our best efforts aren't working.  And, I've about decided we aren't working on the right things.  The problem of declining earning power among your low-income neighbors will not be solved via charity.  Only large, systemic reforms and investments will move the income needle in the necessary direction. 

Read this troubling report and give me your feedback.

Dallas income gap widens, Brookings study reports

Household earnings at top of scale 12 times those of working poor

The income gap continues to grow between affluent Americans and those struggling to get by, with Dallas households near the top of the scale earning more than 12 times as much as those broadly defined as the “working poor,” according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.

The study compared household income of those in the 95th percentile — about $220,000 in Dallas — with those in the 20th percentile, roughly $18,000 a year, said Alan Berube, a senior fellow at Brookings and deputy director of its metropolitan policy program.

The growing disparity isn’t just about rising incomes for upper-class households, Berube said, but rather about shrinking paychecks in poorer households, whose incomes remain 13 percent below levels prior to the recession of 2007-09.


Read the entire article here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Christmas card from Death Row

[I received a Christmas card from my friend who's on Texas' Death Row in Livingston, Texas.  On the opposite side of this card, he wrote the words below.  He is a remarkable person.  He is teaching me some amazing things.]

Dear Larry,
I thank you for your card.  I wasn't feeling this holiday, so to speak, some weeks ago--and it is hard to describe this present feeling as I often feel this way that can be closely described as feeling, or experiencing gratitude.  Even all the things that seem "so wrong" as you called the present situation/my case.  They seem to have some purpose to me and I try to think that this is all just the experience of life and we are living it and that is all there is to it.  There is some sense in me that gives the impression that, in some deeper place, it is neither right or wrong--anything that is taking place in my life.  It just is and I am here to experience it and make some stands at certain stages where I say that his matters and that matters and then work toward making something out of this madness.  And out of the love that is there.  And out of the confusion and the contradictions that exist in me as much as outside me.  We live and we breathe something worthy into this world and we move on.  I am okay w/this; tho that doesn't mean I am read to go! :)  So, yes, let's see what we can do.  Let me know if you made contact w/Wolf.

I thank you for everything and I hope you all had a good time this season.



Sunday, January 17, 2016

Self and silence

Memo to Self Re: Meditation

Right now you don’t have to parse the entire
universe in infinite, particulate detail;
for just these few minutes merely sit and become
only breath, that is to say, spirit.

Now…what you see is a world without you,
as it was before you were born and
will be when you’re no longer here.
Are you amazed that it goes on without you?

Slowly learn the lesson about who you are:
dust of the earth, dust of a star.
The stuff that is you has always been here
fulfilling its purpose in losing its Self.

Until you.

Now it’s become human body and brain;
it believes it’s an I and stands apart
from the rest of creation, asserting its right
to be Lord of All, whatever the price.

But you know in these moments the price is too high,
far more than our planet is able to pay.
In your ego-fed effort to have it your way
you have “become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

The world doesn’t need you the way you need it.
For these next few minutes, let go and just be,
and become not an ego in charge of it all
but a part of the Whole in search of your place.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Killer Mike

Frank statement of the pervasive, persistent, systemic injustice at work in our nation.

Is there not a place for these kinds of discussions to take place in communities of faith and social opinion formation?


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wealth flow

The Miracle

The miracle of God comes not only from above; it also comes through us; it is also dwelling in us. It has been given to every person, and it lies in every soul as something divine, and it waits. Calling, it waits for the hour when the soul shall open itself, having found its God and its home. When this is so, the soul will not keep its wealth to itself, but will let it flow out into the world.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Death and purpose embraced

I sat at the very back of the beautifully ornate church sanctuary. 

The far back corner on the very last row. 

It seemed a chance seat selection, complete with a bad view of the altar. 

After all, I was late.  I stepped in as the memorial service began. 

The longer I sat there, the more I wondered about the "chance" part. 

Friends and family members spoke fondly of the departed.  Rightfully so, he was a better than good man.

As they testified to this goodness, I had a vision of us all cascading toward a singular moment essentially the same. 

All of us were headed to the same destination. 

Not news of course.  But the optics of sliding down into the grave just behind one of those seated in front of my far away back corner put things in perspective for me! 

Night cometh and our work, my work is done.

In that moment I realized the importance of knowing one's mission and purpose. 

There is something grand and final about fully embracing life, only to be totally aware that it is slipping away. 

So, I'm not in control of much.

But, one thing I can do is get up and fight the fight for one more day.  Each could be my last.  And, that is okay.

However, as long as I am alive, I will fight. 

So often I find peace in the battle itself.

Rest in peace, Dan. 

We'll all see you soon.

Hopefully, the world will be better because we knew you and lived to the full in each our own ways, pursuing our assignments here.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Volunteers needed: YOU CAN HELP!

PIT Volunteers: On Thursday night, January 21, 2016, 8:00pm–1:00am, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) will be conducting its annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Homeless Count. The Count, a requirement under federal law, helps communities and the nation as a whole, identify and understand the extent and nature of homelessness, changing trends in this area, and the measure of our success in ending homelessness.

Results of the Count will be shared with the community during the “State of the Homeless Address” in March 2016. That night volunteers will fan out from a number of staging areas, across Dallas County, to count the unsheltered homeless, while partner agencies will count the sheltered homeless.

The volunteers will follow routes created with geographic information system (GIS) mapping software, canvassing under bridges, in parks, in cars, and in (safe to investigate) wooded areas and abandoned buildings, as well as other areas where persons may be seeking shelter from the cold. In order to conduct a full and accurate count of the unsheltered homeless, MDHA will need 750 volunteers, registered as teams of 3-5 persons. MDHA is actively seeking the help of the community in recruiting volunteers.

Please help us by posting the attached ad in as many places, as possible. This event, which requires a 4-6 hour one time commitment, makes for an excellent short term service project for congregations, companies, non-profits, service organizations, and neighborhood associations.

Advance online and on-site training will be provided. To sign up, go to:

For more information, go to:
David S. Gruber
Development and Communications Director
Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance
O: 972-638-5603
C: 469-222-0047

End Homelessness – Support MDHA - 2816 Swiss Avenue Dallas, TX 75204

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Racism endures. . .

Consider this report from Sharon Grigsby, editorial columnist with The Dallas Morning News.

Strong reality check that can no longer be ignored.

The Most Racist Areas in the United States

There are neighborhoods in Baltimore in which the life expectancy is 19 years less than other neighborhoods in the same city. Residents of the Downtown/Seaton Hill neighborhood have a life expectancy lower than 229 other nations, exceeded only by Yemen. According to the Washington Post, 15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have a lower life expectancy than North Korea.

North Korea.

And while those figures represent some of the most dramatic disparities in the life expectancy of black Americans as opposed to whites, a recent study of the health impacts of racism in America reveals that racist attitudes may cause up to 30,000 early deaths every year.

Read the entire essay here.


Monday, January 04, 2016

Wages connect to quality of life. . .duh!

People like me, very fortunate and privileged people like me don't worry about housing in terms of "having it" or losing it or the basic quality of it.

In fact, most of us seldom give a thought to the cost of housing as it relates to wages earned in the work place and how this connection drives the quality and reality of the rest of life.

For example, most readers at this site have never considered breaking down their monthly housing costs in terms of hourly wages required to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Take a look at the chart below that indexes housing costs to hourly wages required.