lenten journal: keep talking


I love a good conversation among friends. We make each other better when we challenge, when we question, and when we dream — together. My post from last night brought three notes my way that kept me thinking and praying about what needs to happen here in our town, across the country, and around the world — and what my part in it is, beyond a blog post. I offer them tonight without my response, in hopes that the conversation will both broaden and continue.
The first came from a friend in Memphis:

Hey Milty, Hope  you are well.

As usual, you started my day off by rattling my cage. So today, instead of just reading I have a question for you: what exactly, specifically, do I do? Wasting time with legislative lobbying is one thing. I can do some of that. But what exactly can I do today to start making this better.

Finding a family and giving them money doesn’t help. Every professional aid agency I have ever heard from says that doesn’t work. I give to local aid organizations. I have my company giving to them. You say “support, engagement: allies” . Define that for me.

Adopt a family? Adopt an individual? Give them financial aid until….? When does it become co-dependent? Not helpful? What about the corruption in their families where the clothes or resources for the family are taken and sold or re-allocated by folks around them? It seems to me to be mobilized to do some good people like me need more specifics or actionable steps.

The last two came independently of one another, though I go to church with both of them. The first came by email:

Hi Milton,
I just read your blog post.  I’m sorry to have missed last night’s program because of work.  Your post reminded me of Momastery.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with the website.  I can’t remember who I’ve talked to about it.  Anyway, yesterday, there was a “love flash mob” going on.  This is (at least) the 3rd time it’s happened.  The idea was to raise $85,000 online to change someone’s life.  The kicker is that each person can only donate a maximum of $25.  The money was raised in less than 6 hours yesterday.  I wanted to share in case you hadn’t heard of it.  It’s right up your alley, and I think it epitomizes a Durham-like can-do approach.  Last night, as the Faith Approach to Poverty Series was going on, a teenage mother and her infant son who were homeless yesterday morning were moving into their new home in Indiana.

Yesterday’s story;

one from last May and the followup;

one from last February and the followup.

The second was  Facebook post:

Read your blog post today and thought of another blog I follow: www.momastery.com. It’s all about “small things with great love”. Yesterday, the blog followers (called Monkees) raised $110 thousand dollars in 15 hours — part of the catch is that the maximum limit per person was $25 and many gave less than that. The Monkees far exceeded the $83k they were aiming for — that $83k literally took a teen mom and her 4 month old into the care of a non-profit home for the next yea — that mama and her baby had a safe and warm place to sleep last night — and for the next 364 nights — and the mama will return to school tomorrow. It’s amazing. The Margaret Mead quote in action. I think you would enjoy some of Momastery’s postings, especially about Christianity.

I spent part of the evening at Fullsteam tonight talking with people about how we could become the Foodie City that makes sure everybody eats. We need big ideas and specific actions. The more we talk, the more I am convinced there is enough to go around — enough food, enough housing, enough love. We have to become determined enough to make sure it all gets shared.

Keep talking.



  1. It makes me wonder why I don’t know anyone personally to help without depending on a third party to identify him, her or them. How cloistered am I that I am not close enough to anyone who needs help, or that I am too self-centered to notice? People needing assistance can’t be so rare that I/we have to depend on “clearing houses” to distribute our generosity.

  2. Milton, i love your book, it arrived in the mail today from the seller. I’m halfway through reading it already and am planning to give it away immediately as a gift.
    if you would give me another address, online or street address, I would love to write more
    about why i’m so excited and how the grace of God is in its timing and arrival.


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