aloneinamerica

I recently read an article in First Things entitled, “Alone in the New America.” It talks about how our society has betrayed certain numbers of our population. Reference is made to Jennifer Silva’s, Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty. This study reports that most working-class young adults have difficulty trusting people and institutions. One interviewee, Brandon, found himself $80,000 in debt earning a degree in criminal justice. Eleven years later, he only has a retail job and says, “I was sold fake goods,” when told that a college degree was the way to get to the land of milk and honey. Another, Tori, enrolled in a local college for massage therapy, but when she took the state test to get her license, she discovered that her classes had not covered most of the required material. Her class had a 2 percent pass rate. With no license or degree to show for her work, the best she has found is an $8/hour job as a home health care aide, but hasn’t worked for two months now. At twenty-three, she has $20,000 debt and no job to show for it.

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outside the box

We’re always being challenged to “think outside the box.” Easter suggests that we think outside the tomb. No one was prepared for what happened early that morning. All of the explanations for the empty tomb were found inside the box. Only the angels’ message was outside the box: “He is risen.” Hundreds of years earlier, Ezekiel was shown the valley of dry bones and asked, “Son of man, can these bones live?” To his credit, he answered, “Lord, you know.” If one only thinks inside the box, the answer must be a resounding, “No.” If some were to assess the spiritual condition of their congregation and hear a voice say to them, “Can this congregation survive?” they might be tempted to give a quick, “No” as well. All indicators point to a slow death as old-timers die off with none to replace them. Or as younger folk go in search of a church home where all of their friends attend. Or as pastors and people become contentious and fail to heed Paul’s warning about devouring each other.

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lutherYes, I know it’s not until 2017, but a recent radio conversation about St Patrick’s day sparked me to think about the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The radio interviewer asked the Lord Mayor of Dublin, “Wasn’t St Patrick’s Day originally a religious festival?” The mayor replied, “Yes, but it has grown to be so much more now.” He proceeded to tell the interviewer that St Patrick was a Welshman who came to live in Ireland. “So,” the mayor said, “St Patrick’s Day reminds us how good it is to be welcoming of people from other cultures. So all people everywhere can join the day’s celebration.” Boy, do they ever! Even the Mexican restaurant where I ate supper on March 15th served green rice and printed “Happy St Patrick’s Day” on their receipts!

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