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March 28, 2007


Nick Connell

Sounds like an invigorating week! I wish I could have been in those conversations. Since I wasn't, I'd like to highlight one thing for ongoing conversation in the church. Context: I have been reimagining church for eight years, and during that time I've lived in FL, CA, and now CT. And I'd like your feedback. I'm highly interested in how the church is going to treat the poor, the immigrants, and the racially discriminated against in this nation...in the next decade or two. Making up a large part of the US's population, the church (disregarding intentionality) has seemingly gone along with the flow, contributed to, and been complicit in the dismal treatment of this nation's poor (especially children), immigrants, and blacks/Latinos/American Indians. All one has to do is look at the national data (compiled by the Census, which is the best barometer we have) and see the great disparity in key categories of health, education, household income, and so on...and the disparities illustrate exactly who is privileged in this society. But there are hosts of stories that also illustrate these realities. My contention is that this privilege is baked into our society and government, white-skinned privilege. And the gaps of privilege are significant and unnecessary, especially when you consider that 13 million children (18% of US pop.) are in deep poverty, and 28 million children (39%) are in low-income (barely scraping by) families. With 1.3 million more children in poverty TODAY than in 2000, what does that say about the US church (not to get to our culture and government)? Where is the kingdom of God at in this extremely wealthy, powerful nation when such pervasive poverty and structural and institutional white privilege are baked into the society, our policies, our psyche? What can the church do to increase the value and dignity and privilege of our nation's poor, esp. children, and our nation's non-white-skinned inhabitants? A human right is that all flourish, right? Are our government, corporations, media and society too strong for the church to make any significant difference? At minimum, I see a HUGE opportunity for the church to be a contrast! (Sorry for the long post.) Here's some links: http://www.nccp.org/media/cpt06a_text.pdf; http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html.

Nick Connell

Actually, Ryan, I just read your previous post, and you are going to be too busy reading to give a response. Besides, you're previous posts are a pretty good theoretical response already. It's exciting to see these conversations taking place, and I look forward to when they are firmly rooted in practice, and success stories abound (like water overflowing in a cup), and critical masses emerge to bring about a more equitable society, where all people can flourish.

Andrew Eaton


Just wanted to thank you again for letting me sit in class that day. I really appreciated it, and got a lot from it. - Even if it included figuring out I am an 8 with a 9 wing...hah!

The class was very inspirational for me. I am looking forward to the day when my educational experience resembles that. Thanks again for everything, and I really enjoy reading the blog!



Thanks for your post. I want to clarify -- these are theoretical discussions rooted in practice - the kingdom of God made flesh through human service. Much of what we talked about was the urban location of congregations and how they served the poor.
Indeed, your stats are daunting and we have a long way to go -- but I think we are moving in the right direction...

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  • Hi, welcome to my former blog! My name is Ryan Bolger, and this is where I posted my thoughts on Jesus, culture, new forms of community, among other things. Come visit me at my new blog: http://www.ryanbolger.com. I still teach at Fuller Seminary in Southern California where I'm doing some writing as well. Feel free to bounce around the new or old website -- I hope it might stir your imagination -- feel free to stir mine as well by leaving some comments, preferably at the new site... Peace...


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