Archive for February 5th, 2008

February 5, 2008

Table Talk 2: Education

For our next issue, we’ll be taking on a big issue. An issue so huge that we’ll dedicate not one but two weeks to it. This is a personal fight of mine. I believe that 75% or more of all our problems stem from a lack of knowledge or education (My personal statbook. Don’t even bother questioning it. It is law!!)

Some more statistics; According to the Christian Science Monitor; the high school drop out rates are nearly 50% for blacks, hispanics and native Americans. This is even more alarming when you think of it this way; most schools only report students who register as a drop out. Of course a lot of students don’t register when they want to stop going to school.( The Washington Post )They simply stop showing up.

Most other publications and research on the matter agree with that. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the poorer minorities (and I say poorer minorities because Asian Americans are a minority too but have the lowest drop out rate of any group) have the higher drop out rate. The way out of a problem is to know how and simply put; we don’t know how.

Why is this? I believe that the problem is two fold. Certain educators and the system in place right now does not try hard enough to go after these troubled kids. On the other hand the same kids do not value school enough because their eyes are on other things. Education isn’t a top priority in the “hood”. When was the last time you heard a rapper say something deep about school? Or for that matter say something deep period. Knowledge is power and since we have no knowledge we have no power.

So what do we do? Well this is why I am opening up the conversation to everyone. We need to reach out to our folks and let them see the light. The word needs to get out and we need to change this culture of stupidity around. The government can do whatever it wants to do but until we as a people start to value knowledge, learning and pick up a book, things will never change. They’ll stay the same.

February 5, 2008

Interview with a man bringing change

In light of what our theme was for this week; which is highlighting the positive news and positive events that are going on around the world.

So I talked to one of those people who is a living example. Compassion Dave is a volunteer advocate for Compassion International. Now, for those of you who do not know, Compassion is an international organization that is focused on providing for the “spiritual, physical, economic and social needs of children”

I met Dave via myspace as he was campaigning to win the Myspace Impact Award for Compassion International (he did win and earned a cool 10,000 big ones for their cause). He graciously agreed to answer some questions that I have for his motivation. Here it is, completely unedited and in his own words;
1. Tell us a little bit about what it is that you do?

I am married and am a stay-at home dad. As far as the ministry of Compassion International goes, I am a volunteer advocate for children living in the worst kind of poverty around the world. I am also a volunteer ‘area coordinator’ for Compassion. All that means is that I facilitate a team of other like-minded volunteers in my area (essentially the top 1/2 of New Jersey and New York City.

2. How did you come to be doing it?

I started out as just a child sponsor about 9 years ago. About 6 years ago our family was up to about 4 sponsorships and I wanted to sponsor more children, but thought we could not afford to, so I looked into becoming a volunteer. Ironically, as soon as I became a volunteer my wife announced that she had sponsored another child.

Obviously the Lord was leading us and enabling us to do these thing. Today my wife and I have 11 sponsorships, although not all of them are with Compassion International.

3. What drives you to do it?

The Lord is the driving force. I confess that perhaps ‘initially’ I was driven by the flesh to, “do something good” for these kids, but soon after, the Lord and His mandates for the poor took over. About 4 years ago I was on a mission trip to India and while there, the Lord truly broke my heart for the ‘least of these’ and He focused the ministry He has given me.

4. Why do you think that causes like yours do not get appropriate coverage in our media today?

I think there are several reasons. I believe the bottom line is that the god of the world, satan, has his fingers in much of what we know as the ‘media’, and all of the ‘other’ reasons stems from that basic one. Frankly, the media industry is a business, and they aren’t very quick to give cut-rate airtime to anybody, let alone non-profit ministries.

This is precisely the reason we focus on bringing our message directly to the church and we rely very much on the Body of Christ to yield to the moving’s of the Holy Spirit so that His will (will) be done on earth.

Sadly, I really cannot blast the media to much when so many churches are dropping the ball in the area of world missions as well. The church NEEDS to be more obedient, plain and simple.

5. How do you think that we can improve that?

I kind of touched on it in the last response. The media is ‘the media’, and the church is ‘the church’–I think we should focus on our individually responsibility as Christians to the Body of Christ, the Church. That can be summed up in one word: obedience.

Now I am not suggesting that our Lord is telling every Christian to sponsor a Compassion child; that would be ridiculous, but I am saying that the Lord is guiding each of us to do SOMETHING. Imagine for one moment what a blessed place this planet would be if every person who identifies himself or herself with Christ was determined to do what the Lord was asking of them.

6. What advice would you give someone on how best they can change the world?

Listen to the Holy Spirit and obey.

For those who have read that last sentence and thought, “But God isn’t talking to me, ” I would respond, “Yes He is, but maybe you’re doing things that block His voice.” In order to hear God’s voice clearly, we need to be obedient to the last thing He said to us. What is that last thing? I’d suggest to you, “You know exactly what it is.”

But still, some may not hear God and are looking for a ‘starting point’ in order to know God’s will in their life. That starting point is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Start here, and after a ‘season’ of obedience, the Lord’s voice will become clear to you. I guarentee if your heart is in it, the Lord’s voice will get clearer and clearer.

God bless.

If you are interested in helping Compassion International out, check out our blogroll for the link to their site.