Well it is a new year and with a new year comes a time to see new things take root. I want to take this opportunity to open up a dialog with all that read this to think creatively about new ways in which we can address the poor of our communities.
In the last year, I have heard a lot of thoughts, lamentations and complaints about the increasing number of the poor in our country. In my own context of Conway, there is not one single day in which I do not talk to a man or woman who are in need of employment, housing and other basic needs. In my context it is also apparent that the willingness and energy from many local churches is lacking. Maybe it is due to the stigma of “social justice” or maybe the fear of being taken advantage of. Whatever the case, we are not responding at the level God demands of his people in his Scriptures.
But I do not want to let our government off the hook either. What they are doing does not work either. The persons that I meet and who come into my nonprofit have unemployment, disability, Social Security and all the other types of government disbursement and they still fight to survive. A common refrain that I heard last year and it was heartbreaking is, “Obama will help me.” Please don’t zero in on that one statement. But that refrain has the possibility of producing unintended consequences that none of us may be prepared for.
So I am a solutions type of guy. What our communities desperately need-Conway and the larger U.S. - are solutions that will provoke local churches to lead in poverty alleviation and at the same time have our government be a facilitator of decreasing the number of individual who fall in the classification of poverty. I believe there exist among the Christian community and those outside my beloved community of faith, men and women who possess a great wealth and depth of knowledge and creativity to see new things occur.
I invite you to join this Facebook page, “Think-Love-Act” as the first step in harnessing our diverse gifts and ideas for the sake of others. Think-Love-Act exists to gather creative ideas and implement those ideas as solutions to alleviate poverty in our communities and specifically the city of Conway, Arkansas. Whether you are a homemaker or policy maker; college student or fighting to get back into school, there are ideas that are dormant within us that are waiting to be awakened and put into loving action.
The second action I would ask you to take is to share your creative idea on Think-Love-Act and then share that idea on your timeline to stimulate discussion. As you are communicating your idea, look through the filters of faith, politics, economics and your community. How will your idea take shape as you pass it through each of these filters? What will be the final result?
The third action I would ask you to take is that of tangible action. Take this idea to your church, political, economic and community leaders. Be a catalyst for the change that many people who are the “least of these” and do not let stop until you get a clear answer of “Yes” or “No.”
Lastly, I would ask you to do the great thing of all-love. Thinking and acting without love is nothing more than a hundred vases falling and shattering on a dining room floor. We must love one another and commit to love those who are in desperate need of having the opportunity to freely care for themselves, their families and in due time their neighbors.
As we Think-Love-Act we are indeed communicating the seminal truth that we indeed know God.