Who I Was, Who I Am Becoming

Who I Was, Who I Am Becoming

I have a thing for ships. This is Edward Moran's "Ship at Sea, Sunset" painting. Ships have been a prevailing metaphor for my journey of faith as I travel from who I was to who I am becoming. It is fascinating to me that the ship in this picture does not have a motor, depending only on the wind to propel it toward the intended destination. You cannot see the wind, and I cannot "see" the Holy Spirit. I can feel the wind. I can feel the Holy Spirit (most days). I am also struck that the crew has to work with the wind by adjusting the sails to get this ship to the destination. I am working with...

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A Review of Isaiah 58:1-14 – God’s Heart for Equity and Justice

A Review of Isaiah 58:1-14 – God’s Heart for Equity and Justice

Introduction             Spiritual disciplines are practices that orient the heart and mind of followers of Christ to see past the distractions of our culture and uncover the heart of God.  Dallas Willard states, “Our plan for a life of growth in the life of the kingdom of God must be structured around disciplines for the spiritual life. A discipline is any activity within our power that we engage in to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort.”[1] God will faithfully lead his children to the things that matter to his heart, but each person must choose to orient their lives in a...

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Religious Leaders & the Poor (Mark 12:38-13:2)

Religious Leaders & the Poor (Mark 12:38-13:2)

**This is an academic paper written for my Doctor of Ministry program at Southeastern University. The formatting is weird (bullet numbers, spacing, etc.) but my only desire is to give this an online home, with the hope that it may benefit some. God cares so deeply for the poor and marginalized, and he's not nearly as impressed religious systems as we are...  I hope this is a blessing to those who take the time to read and consider the story from Mark's Gospel. All footnotes are found at the very end and correspond with the number in the body of the writing. Introduction Mark 12:38-13:2 is an...

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The Church’s Response to Generational Poverty

I've been doing a lot of reading, research, and writing for my doctoral program these days. One more semester to go before I start writing my dissertation in June. Normal routine is to finish my papers for school and then send them to Dara, my mom, and my dad with a similar message. "You are my wife and you just saw me at the kitchen table writing this for hours. Please read this."  "You are my (insert mom or dad here). You have to read this."  Beyond those three people, most of my work has only been read by my professors (who are brilliant, kind, caring, and encouraging) at Southeastern...

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A Celebration of Life (The One Year Anniversary of the Day My Friend Was Stabbed)

“Please pray, we are in an ambulance and Dan has been stabbed.” August 12, 2016 was a pretty simple day. I looked at my calendar the night before and realized that I only had one meeting scheduled – lunch with my friend Darren – and the remainder of the day was simply getting final details in order for the upcoming service that weekend at Center City Church. I was sitting on my couch when this message came through. My heart sank and my mind raced in terror. I called out to Dara and we prayed. We prayed hard. Through the fear and the questions and the worry. We prayed. Corrie never makes...

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Recommended Reading / Generational Poverty, Race, Socioeconomics, Community Development, Ministry in High Poverty Communities.

I've had several people ask me recently for a recommended reading list from the stuff I'm reading for my doctoral program on generational poverty. This is a wide ranging list of some of the books that have been the most impacting to me so far on this journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Personally, I would start with Drew Hart's book, "Trouble I've Seen" if you're wanting to explore the church's role in racial reconciliation. I would also put Ronald Sider's "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger" near the top of the list, as well. For a more technical selection,...

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The Kingdom of God Has No Church Logo

A great ill of the current contextual state of ministry today is what seems to be an insatiable desire for recognition. More and more, churches are drawing from best practices from the business field to implement strategies that will draw the most attention to their specific vision for the expansion of their own kingdom. I'm not against that, but there's got to be limits to borrowing from the business world when trying to carry out ministries that reflect the character of Jesus. However, the kingdom of God has no church logo. There is not one ministry that has the market on how to reach an...

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Becoming a Voice for the Poor and the Marginalized

Author, professor, and poet Clint Smith was invited to give a presentation at a conference on the topic of engaging people across racial and socioeconomic lines. He gave a powerful four-minute talk titled, “The Danger of Silence.” He encouraged the audience to speak up against ignorance and injustice. He stated, “Explore the silence of your own life, fill those spaces, name them, and share them.”[1] This is a powerful challenge to individuals that are privileged to inhabit the middle and upper class. The bottom line is that a unified effort to care for the poor and marginalized will disturb...

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4% of Kids Born Into Poverty in Charlotte Have a Chance of Ever Leaving Poverty.

During the fall of 2016, I started a doctor of ministry program at Southeastern University in which I am focusing on the implications facing kids that are born into poverty. This was inspired by the heartbreaking statistic that was released recently that children that are born into poverty in Charlotte have a 4% chance of ever coming out of poverty. I can't sit by idly and not do my part. This is much longer than a normal blog post. It is a portion of the first research project that I completed on the topic of generational poverty. If you're interested, I will continue to post what I'm...

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Defining Poverty (Generational / Situational)

Dr. Ruby Payne wrote her seminal work on poverty in a book called A Framework for Understanding Poverty. In this classic work, she gives a working definition that brings clarity to two different types of poverty: generational and situational. She states, “Generational poverty and situational poverty are different. Generational poverty is defined as being in poverty for two generations or longer. Situational poverty is a shorter time and is caused by circumstance (i.e., death, illness, divorce, etc.).”[1] It is important to remember that poverty is relative. Dr. Payne says, “ If everyone...

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