We are offering this because (1) when we believe we can be a part of the solution solely by not laughing at racist jokes or by being disdainful of racist comments, we are fooling ourselves, and because (2) it is not so easy to step into the world in ways that might truly move us all forward. Unless we run a mortgage loan business or have rental property that we have hesitated to offer to a family with a father returning to the free world or handle harassment complaints at our company, it may be a bit overwhelming to figure out how we might make a practical, respectful difference.
I am grateful for every person who prays for justice and for every family that goes without a treat in order to send a check to support organizations that are working for a more just world. But there is great danger in relying on a check as long as we are able to do more. There is even more danger if we think that refraining from “doing harm” is enough when there are huge numbers of wounded people all too many of which believe that because they are invisible to the church and professing Christians that they are hopeless!
People who are involved in the WORK of an organization are better able to identify ways to improve respectful, effective programing. Every prison and jail and juvenile detention facility is safer for detainees AND employees when volunteers are on site. Every program for at-risk individuals is more effective (and less susceptible to abuse) because of the relationships -- people-to-people, face-to-face relationships -- that allow people to walk together during difficult circumstance. I have been blessed by contact with a large number of people who are working to stop human trafficking, care for wounded women, children and men affected by the brokenness of the world and of our legal system, and teachers and volunteers modeling healthy relationships to at-risk kids at school and play. The best of them have plans to do more and yearn for volunteers with a wide range of specific skills. Others are less structured. But they all need people whose hearts have been broken by the needs of a world filled with people who have less, worse, people who have lost hope or never known any. These amazingly resilient folks work hard to build better lives for themselves, their families and their communities, so often with challenges most of us would find debilitating and all too often without the support of a healthy, caring community to listen to and love them.
So if you have been thinking that there might be something worthwhile you can do, use the "contact" link above. I will send you information on the class or even arrange to get the materials to you to start with self-study. I can suggest areas where your prayers would be a blessing, especially if you send a note of encouragement too. (If you have never Zoomed, we can help with that too.) If your church is struggling with this and you want to see what we are trying to do (we are a work in progress), you are welcome too. All are welcome.
NOTE: If you are dealing with a loved one and/or family member whose criminal behavior or legal issues are adding to your stress, feel free to contact us to arrange a private discussion. If there is enough interest we may be able to add a Zoom support group.