Better Later than Never
In 1 Corinthians 12:21-26, the author uses the metaphor of the special attention paid to parts of the body that are less socially approved to exhort readers to pay special attention and respect to the poor. The reason given is not that the poor are somehow wiser, more virtuous or more capable than others, rather this is the only way to avoid division in the body. Paul knows that the poor are likely to be forgotten and disrespected, so the only way to ensure that each person’s gifts are fully utilized is to prioritize the perspective and gifts of the poor
The common good is tied up in the needs and concerns of those at the bottom of society’s ladder
If we want to know how healthy a community, a school, a church, a family is, look at how they treat the weakest, the smallest, the poorest.
This book continues to help me strengthen and hone what I’m doing in community organizing and activism.
Tuesday I got to spend more time with Pastor Benny Custodio, as we continue to talk about how my work might help Immanuel UMC in our neighborhood. I am excited for more to hear his story and passion at Locked in Solidarity in February. Tuesday night, I was at the NY Rescue Mission for their chapel training, WOW. They have organized their speakers and chapel around their priorities of providing, quality, Jesus-centered, trauma informed spiritual care. I came away more grateful for their work and wanting all pastors, ministry leaders and chaplains to go through their excellent material. You can contact Yvette if you want to know more. You’ll be glad you did. I had spent a couple of years going once a month to speak at their chapel and look forward to getting back into the rotation and being with the dear folks they love and serve so well.
Wednesday I was invited to participate in a faith leader discussion with DHS [Department of Homeless Services] about how the faith community and the city can do a better job of collaborating to serve the homeless in our city. It is always such a privilege to be in a room full of faith leaders who have been actively supporting and advocating for the homeless in New York City for years.
That night I was at the Build the Block community meeting for the 76th Precinct/PSA 1 [the precincts serving the Gowanus neighborhood and public housing in the community] As they describe,
These neighborhood safety meetings are strategy sessions between local police officers and the people they serve. The meetings have two simple goals: identify the public safety challenges of a specific neighborhood and discuss potential solutions.
These are opportunities to meet officers, ask them important, even pointed questions and hear other residents in the community who have questions and concerns about their neighborhood. You can find out more about your Build the Block meeting in the link above
Thursday I was doing outreach for jobs for the Trellis Crew and walking a few of them to meet managers and supervisors at stores hiring in the neighborhood. These are opportunities to calm their nerves, prep them and encourage them and help them to know these are safe and welcoming spaces for employment. You can find out more about this work HERE This was followed by a call with Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) a nonprofit child advocacy organization doing incredible work around public policy research, data analysis and organized action. This was a great opportunity to hear about what they do and find out about how the Trellis Crew can benefit from their work. This busy day finished with the monthly GNCJ [Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice] meeting, where it got hot as NYCHA residents are rightly getting fed up of being left out of city plans and improvements. The coalition is working hard to be ready for DCP’s [Department of City Planning, sooo many acronyms] next phase of the re-zoning planned for Gowanus. You can come and find out more February 6th
Friday, I had the privilege of leading a community circle at the Citywide Roundtable on Restorative Approaches. Restorative [or transformative] justice practices form a foundational part of the work I do and it was such an honor to lead a circle filled with largely newcomers to these practices.
All of that on top of preparing for a sermon that I had the joy of bringing at Immanuel UMC this week talking about the counter culture of God’s Economy