SWEET HOMES FOR ALABAMAGive today to help us raise $100,000 by Nov. 1st and make Sweet Homes for Alabama and extend an arm of Christ's love.
START YOUR SWEET HOMES FUNDRAISER WITH USClick here to create your own fundraising page and start sharing with your friends!
Or just text "Give" to 334-731-7637!
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It’s that time and I cannot believe it. I get excited this time of year to see what God is going to do through so many people.
In the middle of my excitement is the heartbreak we all feel. So many unnecessary lives lost in Las Vegas to a senseless shooting. We question, why would anyone want to do that? Do we devalue human lives and our own life that much? What gets us to a place like that? A sickness of the soul is one of the most heartbreaking and destructible forces we face. Pain caused from so many who lost homes, memories, and lives is still fresh from the three powerful storms that hit our US coasts. The list of disasters world- wide and a Syrian crises grows. In the midst of pain and suffering, with lingering questions that can never be answered, we grasp for beams of light and hope.
Hurting people rush to the aid of other hurting people. Acts of violence are countered with acts of love and kindness. We commit to serving and loving our neighbor. Darkness never wins or gets the upper hand when we counter with expressions of love and light.
Living in the shack is the tangible way that I and others try to understand hardships. Hardships when we see the leaks, when we dodge the unsafe places, when the drafts come in and we do our best to stop them and even moments when we do not feel safe. I have names and faces of families who struggle with these conditions, who wonder if they will ever be able to raise the money to afford the repairs. People who wonder if there is another way and if people care.
The answer is yes. Yes, there is another way. Yes, we care. Yes, there is hope. Paul writes, “in Jesus, we have a ‘yes’”. We can co-labor together and repair homes. We can share our stories together. We can build trust, community and together bring about transformation. All of that from living in a shack? I would like to think so.
Come see us at the shack at 131 S. Gay Street. If you are out of town, take some time to watch the story unfold on Facebook and through Twitter. Share this with your kids. Find ways to serve whether with us or another ministry or organization. Together, our lights will outshine the darkness!
To give: www.arm-al.org or text 334-731-763
Want to set up your own fundraising page?
Thanks so much!
Normally September is when we are all excited about football, cooler weather. But for thousands of people, it has come at a price. As I write, we face another developing storm system with Maria tracking the same path as Irma. … Continue reading
Let’s end substandard housing in Alabama and help Ms. Sanford make her home warm, safe, dry, and beautiful! It’s time for Alabama Rural Ministry‘s 10th Annual Sweet Homes for Alabama fundraiser! Formerly known as “Poverty Awareness Week” and “No More Shacks,” we are launching our Sweet Homes for Alabama fundraising campaign from September 1st through November 1st in order to raise funds and awareness about poverty and substandard housing in rural Alabama.
Because it is our 10th anniversary, we have set a huge goal! We are raising $100,000. This will help families in Alabama like Ms. Sanford restore their homes making them warm, safe, dry and beautiful! Executive Director and Founder, Lisa A. Pierce and others will live in a shack beginning October 4th and staying as late as October 10th! Local pastors, board members, and some students will be staying at the shack with Lisa for three-hour slots or overnight. Rain, shine, hot, or cold, they will be in the shacks in order to experience (on a much lesser scale) some of the challenges that come with these living conditions.
Come by the shack, learn about how ARM is working in the community, and make a donation so that we can restore the sweet homes of Alabama (and get Lisa out of the shack, of course!). Starting September 1, we will be accepting pledges and donations online through the “Donate Now” button on our Facebook page, through our website http://www.arm-al.org/, and mailed to our office at P.O. Box 2890 Auburn, Alabama 36831.
What if you are not in the Auburn area but still want to experience the shack or get your church directly involved?
Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find in the kit:
AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO PHYSICALLY COME TO MAKE AN IMPACT! Join the event on our Facebook page (make sure you like our organization’s Facebook page too), share it with all of your friends, and pass the donation link to others, encouraging them to make a small donation. Even $10 will go a long way!
Poverty education lunch workshops will be held on Wednesday Oct. 4th, Thursday, October 5th, and Monday, October 9th at 12:00. Room information at Auburn coming. All are welcome to come and join us as we learn about other organizations and the different ways they are serving with low-income families in our community and hands-on ways we can all get plugged in.
We would love for you to drop by and help us spread the word! We need your help so that families have Sweet Homes in Alabama!
I have been pondering a few things and wanted to invite you all into a possible conversation or thought process. In our heated political scheme which seems to become increasingly divisive, I have wondered at how we make decisions around the expression of individual rights. This has been exasperated by the events in Charlottesville and informs how we work through the ideologies that perpetuate racism, bigotry, or any other type of “ism” that makes one person less to make someone greater. I heard a politician say that in our context today it is about who’s rights trump another’s rights. If that is so, how do we choose the best way to act as a follower of Jesus? What happens when the rights of one person clash or oppose the rights of another? Are there contexts for when one expression may succumb to another expression? Are there ways to have win/win scenarios rather than win/lose outcomes? Furthermore, in our disagreements, how do we not fall into acts of violence? (Another topic)
Focusing upon the question of the expression of individual freedom and what happens when it clashes with someone else’s rights:
When I was growing up (mid 70’s), smoking was rampant. There was not nearly a place you could go where you were not subjected to cigarette smoke. Both my parents smoked for years. Smoking was allowed in most public spaces…except for churches, I guess. Airplanes, restaurants, football stadiums, hotels, movie theaters, bowling allies, and just about any other space were always filled with smoke. Smoking was an individual right and a lot of people smoked. But what about people who did not smoke but had to constantly be subjected to it? There simply were not a lot of places that did not ban smoking. What about those with asthma or other respiratory issues?
Over time, the conversation began to change. As more and more health warnings were issued and people started to express their desire for cleaner air, discussions shifted to those who had a right to breath clean air. Now there were two competing sets of individual rights: the right for a person to smoke and the right of a person to breathe clean air and not be subjected to unwanted smoke. It took several years for the ideology shift. Today, most of us benefit from the decisions that made access to breathing cleaner air more important. Rights of smokers was limited with substantial parameters placed upon where one could smoke when in a public venue.
Here are my questions. How do we choose whose right is more important? We will not always have the politicians and judges making decisions so how will we choose? What is our process?
Is there a point or context where one person’s rights must be limited for another person’s rights to be expressed?
As followers of Jesus, how does the body of Scripture…not cherry picking one or two verses out of context…inform our decisions? What does the Old Testament, the Gospels, Paul, and other writers say?
To give a biblical situation, Paul faced a dilemma that he discusses in First Corinthians. It was whether a follower of Jesus should eat meat offered to idols. There was one group of people who were adamant that meat offered to idols was the equivalent of worshipping that idol and should not be consumed. Others believed it did not make a difference. If you prayed and gave God thanks for the meat, it did not matter. You were basically acknowledging the idol had no power or meaning. Paul tended to agree with the latter group and did not recognize the power in the idol. Food was consumed, digested, and passed through the body. It made no difference if sacrificed to idols. However, Paul, out of love and high value on unity and peace of his fellow brothers and sisters and for those new in the faith, said that if his eating meat sacrificed to idols was a stumbling block, he would put aside his individual freedom for the sake of the other. He desired there to be no stumbling block for a person and their relationship with Jesus. Chapter thirteen of Corinthians becomes a beautiful expression of what love looks like when we put the needs of others above ourselves. That was what a “stronger” believer did. It was always about putting someone’s needs above your own. It was about selfless service. And it was not just a “good idea”. Jesus expected and expects us to live by this command.
I wonder if this account gives us any guidance in the complexities we face. As a nation built upon the expression of individual freedom how do we become faithful to Scripture and align ourselves with Jesus when we look at our own liberties and when they may come into conflict with the expression of someone else’s. These same questions go the heart of our issues regarding racism and bigotry. I wonder if we all took the high road what might that begin to look like?
I would be interested in hearing how you work these out and if you have children, how you teach this to them. What are the ways you use Scripture and especially Jesus’ two commands: Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself, to inform your decision making?
I would enjoy hearing your insights around this delicate yet important topic.
Grace and peace,