Month: September 2017

A while ago, Jacobin published an article titled “A Foundation, Not a Net.” Here’s an excerpt: A better metaphor, both in terms of accuracy and rhetoric, would be the foundation. The welfare foundation provides a universal set of services on top of which people can build their lives. It is a permanent support structure, not a temporary failsafe. The precise mix of welfare benefits individuals get will of course vary depending on what stage of life they are in, but the welfare state as a whole is there for them at all times, giving them the stability to do everything else they…
This sermon was delivered at Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities in Davenport, Iowa, on September 17, 2017. The scriptures for this sermon are Genesis 50:15-21 and Matthew 18:21-35. A little over a month ago, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a young man named James Alex Fields Jr drove a Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people, hitting a sedan, which hit a minivan, which pushed into the crowd, injuring nineteen people and killing one. The person who was killed was Heather Heyer, who was a paralegal and a waitress, and who stood in solidarity with people who needed someone who was…
Recently, I’ve had a few conversations about church membership. The simple fact is that most mainline congregations are facing declining and aging memberships, and some of the congregations want to do something about it. And I always answer the same way: I’m not concerned with membership; I’m concerned with engagement. Membership in most mainline congregations is a formality. Someone who has been coming to worship for a while might take a membership class where they learn things about that congregation and its denomination. Then they stand in front of the congregation some Sunday morning and make some promises. And…
I’ve written about the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives before (here). They’re the organization that suggests that nonprofit organizations should pay their board members, and that the primary responsibility of those board members is to support a strong executive director. Recently, I received an email from NANOE letting me know that I’ve been nominated to sit on their Board of Governors. Of course, this isn’t the same as their Board of Directors. No. The Board of Governors is a large group of people who are tasked to review a handful of documents that NANOE is preparing: New…
The answer, then, is not that poor people live differently, but instead, that we create a society and an economy where people who work full time can live in the community where they work. No amount of cutting back on luxury spending or driving extra hours for Uber can change the fact that there is literally nowhere in the country where a minimum wage job can support a family, that good union jobs have been in decline for decades, or that housing costs have priced people out of their homes. Cutting coupons, commuting by bike, and enjoying outdoor activities can’t really fix…

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