Archive for the tag “Philadelphia”

Worship and the cry of the poor

Click to view conference trailer

Click to view conference trailer

Isaac Wardell writes about the April 22-24 Bifrost Arts conference in Philadelphia:

Conversations about worship in the church often focus on the style of our music, or on the formality of our aesthetics, or on the content of our lyrics. In many churches, conversations about worship can become completely centered around the congregation’s priorities, so much so that they can even lose sight of God’s priorities for our worship.

Throughout the Bible, God tells His people time and time again that if they are disobedient to His Word that He will not accept their worship. In His Word, He commands His people to worship Him alone and to obey His commands to serve the poor and needy. In fact, God specifically admonishes His people “whoever closes His ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13).

This April, Bifrost Arts presents a worship conference entitled “The Cry of the Poor: worship, mercy, and community.” At this event we will focus on two things: First, we will make a theological case, specifically from Isaiah 55-61 for the connection between worship and obedience. Secondly, we will have a series of practical workshops about how local congregations can better serve the least of these in our midst and in our communities. We will have conversations about worshiping with those with disabilities, worshiping in a multilingual context, worship and the elderly, forming our children for mercy, and the formation of communities through the arts.

Information on conference registration, scholarships and discounts may be found by clicking here.

The war on generosity

soup-lineMass dependence of the poor on the state is more than an awful consequence of well-intentioned charity. It’s also, for some, a strategy for gaining control over an entire society. Churches and religious charities that ignore one or both of those facts are complicit in the big-government crusade in the United States promoted by leaders of both political parties.

Government officials are pushing churches out of the feeding ministry, on the premise of protecting the homeless. Government programs, however, cannot create justice for any person in need. Justice is only found in and through the Kingdom of God, which is why helping “the least of these” has been on the church’s agenda from the very beginning.

A government bent on total control must conduct a war on generosity, as Luke Moon writes at juicyecumenism.com:

For more than 20 years, Glenn Richter has been collecting food from restaurants and synagogues to donate to the homeless and local soup kitchens.  Not anymore.  Last year, Nanny-in-Chief Michael Bloomberg banned restaurants from donating leftover food to shelters and soup kitchens.  The excuse given by Bloomberg was that the health of the homeless was important and therefore they city must monitor the salt, fat, and fiber intake for the homeless.

If this was an isolated incident or limited to New York City it might not be that significant. … No, this attack on generosity is a pattern across the nation.

Last month, MyNorthwest.com wrote about how The Bread of Life Mission in Seattle was told to stop feeding the homeless in city parks. … Last year, the city of Philadelphia’s mayor outright banned the feeding of the homeless in public spaces. …

Rarely, does the IRD commend Shane Claiborne and his organization, The Simple Way, but in this instance they acted according to the teachings of scripture.  In his open letter to the mayor of Philadelphia, Shane wrote, “And it was St. Augustine who said, ‘An unjust law is no law at all.’ This [ban on feeding the homeless] is an unjust law and we are obligated not to comply.”

Lest you think this is simply a liberal big-city issue, the state of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals demanded Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission throw away nearly a ton of donated venison.  The deer meat was donated by Hunters for the Hungry, a charity which donates wild game to shelters.  Even though the Louisiana’s own Deer Management Program itself publicly states it donates deer meat to charities, the local farmer’s generosity is banned.

Since the 2009 economic crisis there have been thousands of rules and regulations passed by governments in an attempt to “stamp out corruption and greed.” Last year, parks all over the nation were occupied by angry youth and washed out hippies decrying the supposed greed and corruption of the 1%. Many were calling for wealth redistribution and prison for the guilty rich.  Both of these strategies to overcome greed misunderstand that the true source of greed lies in the human heart.  Greed is not limited to the rich Wall Street banker.  Greed is alive and well on Main Street and my street.

Read the rest of this provocative article by clicking here.

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