Thursday, May 21, 2009

Poor yet Generous

Not long ago I was in line at a downtown Wendy's when a homeless guy cut in front of me. He literally acted as if he didn't see me. He stepped up to the counter and ordered a .99 cent hamburger and a water. He handed the teenage girl behind the counter two wadded up dollar bills to cover the grand total of $1.07. As he stuck out his hand for the change, I noticed him reading the label of a donation box for kids with MS. In one quick move, he took the .93 cents he was given in change, jammed every penny into the box, spun around and bolted out the door.

It caught me off guard. And it was my lesson for the day (if not week).

Today I found an article that interested me and reminded me of this experience. It was written by Frank Greve and was surprisingly titled, "America's Poor Are Its Most Generous Givers". Here's how it started:
When Jody Richards saw a homeless man begging outside a downtown McDonald's recently, he bought the man a cheeseburger. There's nothing unusual about that, except that Richards is homeless, too, and the 99-cent cheeseburger was an outsized chunk of the $9.50 he'd earned that day from panhandling.

The generosity of poor people isn't so much rare as rarely noticed, however. In fact, America's poor donate more, in percentage terms, than higher-income groups do, surveys of charitable giving show. What's more, their generosity declines less in hard times than the generosity of richer givers does...
(to read the article in it's entirety click HERE)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something Happened Last Night...

I sat in a living room last night in East Austin dreaming, praying, discussing, and planning with a group of men I never would have known just a handful of years ago. Through networking initiatives like the Austin PlantR Network (, a handful of lunches, meetings, emails, and phone calls, we each found ourselves looking at each other and asking the question, "What if"?

So there we were: Two white dudes, three latinos, an african-american, a native-american, and an asian-american... all pastors, all feeling called to be a part of a collective spiritual and social renewal effort in the amazing city of Austin. Some are reformed, some wesleyan, some from the holiness tradition, and honestly some have spiritual journeys I'm still trying to figure out. One of us (who will remain unnamed) preaches in flip-flops, another wears a robe. There is much we do differently, but have at least one thing in common: the belief that it's time to look past our secondary theological disagreements and not just "say" it won't divide... but actually take major steps towards partnering together to reach a city that needs hope more than we need to be right.

It was very encouraging. The Spirit was overwhelming. And while it ended up being a four-hour meeting, I left refreshed. Something just seemed right. While part of me wishes I could fast forward five years and see what happens, I have a feeling that the joy will be in the journey of simply "what's next".

To be continued.