Multiply Justice

An opportunity to love your neighbor as yourself

pipesCarol Pipes writes at The Exchange:

I met Mr. Balentine in the summer of 1993. A group of 10 high school students and their leaders had been sent to Mr. Balentine’s to make much-needed repairs to his house, which sat in a secluded cove of the Appalachian foothills. What started as a simple project turned into a major rebuild. The only thing keeping the front wall attached the house was a thin layer of shingles overhead. The entire house had to be razed and rebuilt.

At the end of the project, Mr. Balentine walked into his “new” home. Tears in his eyes, he remarked that his family could finally return and all live together. His words are forever etched in my memory: “You’ve not only restored my house, you’ve restored my dignity.”

“You’ve not only restored my house, you’ve restored my dignity.”

That summer and many mission trips later have opened my eyes to the hurting and neglected neighbors who live near and far. We live in a broken world. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, creation and humanity were scarred. Enter broken relationships. Deceit. Hunger. Corruption. Poverty. Disease. Envy. War. These are only a few of the manifestations of our broken world. But God is in the restoration business.

… There are many more people like Mr. Balentine who need a love they can see—a love that can provide a new home and a new heart. They need to know about a Savior whose healing goes way beyond a fresh coat of paint, a roof over their heads, or a sack full of groceries.

I can promise that not far from you is a field rife with hurt but white unto harvest. This truly is the land of opportunity. An opportunity to love your neighbor as yourself.

Read the full article by clicking here.

What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty

Bill Ehlig, Ruby K. Payne

what every church member know povertyTo help individuals and communities overcome poverty, you first must understand poverty. Then you must have a systematic approach that helps people create a stable foundation for holistic life progress.

Bill Ehlig of Missouri Street Church of Christ in Baytown, Texas, provides a church leader’s perspective on Ruby Payne’s foundational insights into the mindset of people in poverty and how to help them see a path forward to a better life. The result is a book that will help church members enter truly redemptive relationships with people in need.

Ruby Payne‘s model calls for cooperation and collaboration across all sectors of a community to address the root causes of poverty, support individuals as they build resources, and achieve a sustainable community where everyone can live well.

Based on research based into the causes of economic class, this practical, non-political approach provides a practical model to address poverty at the individual, institutional, and community levels. By building relationships of mutual respect between and among people in different life circumstances, the model encourages knowledge sharing and innovation in a systemic approach to building resources in all aspects of daily life. Strategies that work are developed, and individuals embed them into their daily routines.

Click here to view on Amazon.com

(Purchase benefits Multiply Justice partner projects)

A large serving of dignity

archeMark Davis writes, in this 2012 article for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, about L’Arche, a home where people with developmental disabilities live full time with folks who have none:

The chicken, big chunks of white meat, went first. It popped and sizzled in hot olive oil. Sara Ellet reached for an onion the size of a baseball. A knife flashed and, moments later, the onion was cooking, too. The air filled with the aroma of good things.

John Hudson, bouncing on his feet with impatience, stood at her side. Is anything better than white Texas chili on a cold afternoon?

For Ellet and Hudson, 28 and 30 respectively, their shared moment at the stove was another small declaration of mutual respect: One encourages the other.

They’re residents of L’Arche Atlanta, where people with developmental disabilities live full time with folks who have none. The house, which opened last month in Decatur’s Oakhurst community and is the only L’Arche home in Georgia, has six occupants. That sum is equally comprised by “core residents” — those needing help in their daily lives — and “assistants” who’ve signed up to spend at least a year living with them.

A rambling old farmhouse that once temporarily sheltered homeless people, the L’Arche house is home to Ellet, Hudson, Jessica Bridges, Tim Moore, Terry Hochschild and Lara Swenson.

Bridges and Moore, like Ellet, are assistants, paid small annual salaries to live inside the thick-plaster walls of the L’Arche home. Bridges is the home’s coordinator, making sure schedules are kept, budgets followed. They’re all drivers, appointment-makers, confidants, friends.

Hudson, Hochschild and Swenson are core residents. Each has mental or physical disabilities and needs help in daily life.

So far, said Bridges, the arrangement is living up to the L’Arche principle that people, no matter their handicap, should be treated with dignity in an environment that stresses the spiritual aspects of life.

“This is a way to live in the world that’s hopefully a little more gentle,” said Bridges, 28, who has a master’s degree in divinity and is a deacon in the United Methodist Church.

Hudson was more succinct. “I live here,” he said, “and I like it.”

L’Arche is French for “the ark,” a reference to the floating refuge Noah created at God’s command. It began in 1964 when Frenchman Jean Vanier opened his home to two developmentally disabled adults. He had no grand plan. Vanier simply believed people of differing physical and mental abilities could live together, respecting the capabilities of one another.

“To work for community,” he later wrote, “is to work for humanity.”

Read the full text of this inspiring article by clicking here.
Learn more about L’Arche International by clicking here.

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