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I’ve recently been introduced to Larry James from Central Dallas Ministries thanks to the blogosphere. (If anybody tells you that blogs are a waste of time, think about the implications of God’s healing message being spread around the world 24/7 and with the speed of light.) What I like about their work is the understanding that it is God at work in and through them who partner with the community to solve real issues. It is not about charity, it is about justice. Here is the CDM Mission Statement:

Our Mission
To share the love of God by building genuine community in the neighborhoods where we live and work.

Our Vision
A strong, safe, and supportive community that allows all of its residents to achieve their full potential.

Our Strategy
We are a community development-social justice ministry dedicated to addressing issues related to poverty, including hunger, health housing, law, children’s education and workforce development.

Our Philosophy
We do not have clients. We have neighbors. Working together, we are building a better community … one person at a time.

Our Reach
We touch the lives of over 50,000 people each year, primarily in East and South Dallas.

Our Goal
To put ourselves out of business by removing the need for our services in every neighborhood in our community.

In a blog from this week, Larry James attended a speech by Bono from U2 and here are a few highlights as recorded by Larry…

*_”Our work is not about charity. We do that really well in the U. S. and Ireland. No, our work is about justice and that is much different. Our work is about equality and we must keep moving forward.”

“What we demand for ourselves we deny to others. That is a justice issue.”

“Every generation has its ‘defining moral moment.’ This is ours.”

“As people of faith, these issues are for us a matter of obedience.”

Speaking of the world’s poor and oppressed, “God is with us, if we are with them.”_*

I can imagine an Austin ministry like CDM and the empowering principles for those served and those who serve. I can imagine my church teaming with other churches and ministries to empower the poor, the disadvantaged, the marginalized to do God’s work for their communities. I can imagine my children working alongside UT students and the members of the UA church community to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I can imagine a day when Austin no longer houses a population of homeless and populations mired in poverty from generation to generation. But, we must begin the work in earnest and we must teach our children to recognize that Jesus would have them engage in this work for God’s purposes in this world.

_”Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives.

Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone.

I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill… I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuff… maybe, maybe not… But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house… God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives… God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war… God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. “If you remove the yolk from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places”

It’s not a coincidence that in the scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident. That’s a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. [You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.] ‘As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.’ (Matthew 25:40). As I say, good news to the poor.”_ —Bono National Prayer Breakfast 2006


One Comment

  1. Again, great to see that you’ve connected to Larry James’ Urban Daily!

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