Unemployment, Poverty, and Politics: A Personal Testimony

I grew up conservative in every way—theologically, socially, and politically. But things change. Circumstances change. Perspectives change. People change. I changed. And here, as succinctly as I can make it, is an example of how and why.

As a faculty member in my eleventh year of teaching at a small, conservative, Bible college in the Anabaptist/Mennonite tradition, I taught a course called Peace, Justice, and Simplicity. Prior to that, I had preached several series of sermons on the text of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). When I taught that course, however, in the spring of 2005, I read that passage as I had never seen it before, and I heard Jesus saying things I had not previously understood. Continue reading

The Arthur Chronicles—No. 15 (Poverty Is Prison)

I had expected to meet Arthur at our favorite coffee shop on Monday afternoon for our regular weekly conversation, but he called mid-morning to ask if we could reschedule.

“I sold my table,” he told me, “and the guy who bought it wants to pick it up this afternoon. Ellie is working, so I need to be here when he comes.”

I think I mentioned that Arthur loves to work with wood, and I knew the table he was talking about. He had found it at an estate auction many years ago. It apparently had not looked like much when he bought it, but beneath several layers of paint and yellowed varnish, he antique walnut dining-tablehad discovered the most beautiful solid walnut.

He had buffed out all the gouges and rough spots with sand paper and steel wool, repaired a loose leg, and attached new drawer pulls and slide mechanisms. Then he applied several coats of tung oil by hand. The result was a stunning piece of furniture now worth ten times what he paid for it.

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