This was the title of an article run recently by the Huffington Post. You can read the entire piece here.
The article reminds us of the impact that poverty has not only on children, but on the entire nation. A few points of the case made by the author:
USA Today reported this week that the national poverty crisis now affects 1 out of 5 children in the United States, up from 1 out of 6 just four years ago. This astonishing figure is a sober reminder that the recession isn’t just stretching our safety net, but it’s also threatening the success of the next generation of Americans.
Indeed, childhood poverty in the United States ignites a devastating chain of consequences that leads to equally devastating places:
- Four-year-old kids living in poverty are 18 monthsbehind their peers. These gaps in early childhood persist throughout a child’s youth, with clear and established links to the high school dropout rate, teenage pregnancy and unemployment.
- Only a little over 15 percent of fourth graders from poor homes are reading at levels considered proficient by the U.S. Department of Education. According to a recent study from the Casey Foundation, the clearest sign a child will drop out of high school is subpar reading scores in elementary school. Almost half of all high school dropouts are on government assistance and a high school dropout is eight times more likely to be incarcerated.
- Half of kids living in rural areas — where poverty is at extraordinary levels — are obese or overweight, compared to one third nationally. The obesity crisis puts kids at risk for “adult” diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, stunting their productivity and straining an already exhausted health care system.
I am a lifelong Chicagoan, a pastor at River City Community Church, and an author who writes a lot about resisting and confronting white supremacy from a faith lens.
Our church was founded in January of 2003 in the west Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, and is centered on the core values of worship, reconciliation, and neighborhood development. We long to see increased spiritual renewal as well as social and economic justice in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and entire city, demonstrating compassion and alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God. It is also through the gift of this faith community that I have learned to see the profound historical and spiritual impact of the stronghold of white supremacy, and where I have been challenged to broaden and deepen my understanding of discipleship in the hopes of becoming a serious enough Christ follower who is able to meaningfully participate with those who have risen up in defiance of this evil principality.
The lessons learned in this journey have been captured in a pair of books on race. The first, White Awake, explores the barriers that white people tend to face – white Christians specifically – when we attempt to awaken to and understand white supremacy through a faith lens. I spend a lot of time here addressing the internal defenses that are bound to go off when this journey is taken seriously, and I chart out a path for developing a resilient spirit that steadfastly moves towards truth, justice, and equity. The second, White Lies, further builds out the path for the white Christian who longs to actively participate in the resistance and confrontation of white supremacy. I spend a lot of time here exploring why it is so hard to tell the truth about race, as well as expose the lies that sustain it, within white, Christian, Bible-believing environments. I then propose nine practices that position us for engaging in this task.
On the personal front, my career started in the marketplace, as I was part of three dot.com startups in the 90’s. My vocational path shifted when I joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in 1998, and I spent five years working there. I started River City Community Church in January 2003 and have been happily serving here ever since. On the education front, my undergrad was in Business (Purdue University), my graduate degree in theology (Moody Bible Institute), and my doctoral degree in community development (Northern Seminary). On the family front, my wife is a Professor of Psychology, and we have two amazing children (Xander and Gabriella).
Leave a Reply