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“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.” -Hebrews 11:1-2

Imagine a group of people gathered before you.  You must select from among them those most likely to play a pivotal role in God’s plans for humanity.  They are so at ease with you that they open up and share their darkest secrets.

One tells you that after a night of heavy drinking he was sexually abused by one of his own sons.  Another confesses that he gave his wife to another man to sleep with.  Another plotted with his mistress to kill her husband.  Another one murdered a man and is still on the run from the law.  One is a prostitute.  Another has a lifestyle marked by violence, killing people to impress a girlfriend and his prospective father-in-law. Yet another confesses that he cheated his brother out of his inheritance.

Could you use them?  I hope so, for they are the heroes of faith described in Hebrews chapter 11.  Noah is the man who got drunk and was sexually abused; Abraham is the man who gave his wife to sleep with another; David is the one who plotted to have his mistress’ husband killed.  Moses is the one who murdered an Egyptian and was never brought to account for it.  Rahab was the prostitute.  Samson’s life was marked by violence and who killed to impress his girlfriend.  Jacob is the person who cheated his own brother out of his inheritance.

We often have the thought that a person of faith is a person untouched by sin.  These examples show us that it is far from the case.  Faithful people are also flawed people, people who can easily bounce from great acts of faith to great acts of evil and disobedience.

Scripture shows that God uses very flawed people!  Have you experienced a time when God used your imperfections to glorify Himself?

Author Unknown, Submitted by Jim Shearer for Leading Hearts: The Spirit Ranch Blog: http://spiritranch.us/flawedpeople

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“The contrast between the world of wealth the stadium represents and the deplorable conditions in which its neighbors live is barely one of the social sequels of the partnership between the county and the Marlins.  That partnership is among the worse deals for the public that has ever been struck in an American city, sealed without government officials even examining the Marlins’ allegations of poverty.”

Read More: Two Miamis clash on one street – Daniel Shoer Roth – MiamiHerald.com.

Educational Leadership:Poverty and Learning:The Myth of the Culture of Poverty.

by Carey Casey http://fathers.com/what-mlk-taught-me-about-how-to-be-a-dad

“We don’t take black money.”

Those were the cruel words my father-in-law, Dr. Little, heard when he was a young man at a public golf course in 1959.

“Good,” he responded.  “Because money is green.”

He left his cash on the counter, turned around, and walked out the door to go play a round of golf.

Later, he and his friends were escorted away by police for playing on a “whites only” course. Rather than exploding into a violent rage, as many others would have done, Dr. Little stayed calm and held his head high during his arrest.

That highly publicized event and his example of a dignified man were instrumental in the future of the golf course, which would be integrated a few years later.

On MLK Day, I find myself reflecting on my father-in-law’s story.  I am also reminded that Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech was about being a father.  It was about envisioning the future he wanted for his children, and then working to make that dream a reality.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” he said.

We can all learn something from Dr. King, Dr. Little, and Championship Fathers across the globe …

More important than a man’s circumstances—his race, his socioeconomic status, his custodial or marital situation—is the way in which he handles his circumstances and envisions the future.

Do you model self-control?  Do you remain calm and rational, even when others are becoming bitter … perhaps even violent?  Can you hold your head high because you know you are acting like the dignified man you want your children to see?  Do you communicate to your children that the world is a good place and that the future is bright and colorful?

Or do you act as though the world is a bleak place to live?

When I think about what other fathers—black, white, Asian, Latino, poor, rich, married, divorced—have been through, I am motivated to hold the mantle just as high and to walk with dignity.

I am reminded to be mindful about what my children see through my eyes and how they envision the future.

What are your deepest longings for the world in which your children grow up?  How do you want them to see you?  The future?

Let this holiday be not just about civil rights, but also about Championship Fathering.  Tell your children what you dream for them.

My dad was there for Dr. King’s speech in Washington, D.C., August 1963.  Years later, I said to my dad, “I wish I could have been a grown-up back in 1963, when all that was happening with civil rights.”

My dad said, “No, Son, you’re going to be part of something even greater.”

Today, I’m convinced he was right.

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need.

Closing the Achievement Gap – NGA Center for Best Practices – www.subnet.nga.org/educlear/achievement

School reform has been a top priority for governors and other state policymakers since the mid-1980s. This movement has enjoyed many successes, but significant challenges remain.

In this policy primer, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices explores a key education-policy challenge facing states today: the achievement gap. We discuss the history and nature of this problem, state efforts to close this gap, possible state-level strategies and solutions, and pitfalls for policymakers to avoid.

What is the achievement gap?

The “achievement gap” is a matter of race and class. Across the U.S., a gap in academic achievement persists between minority and disadvantaged students and their white counterparts. This is one of the most pressing education-policy challenges that states currently face.

New urgency at the federal level

Recent changes in Federal education policy have put the spotlight on the achievement gap. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires states to set the same performance targets for children:

  • From economically disadvantaged families
  • With disabilities
  • With limited English proficiency
  • From all major ethnic and racial groups

Within a school, if any student subgroup persistently fails to meet performance targets, districts must provide public school choice and supplemental services to those students – and eventually restructure the school’s governance. This is required even if the school performs well overall.

In other words, schools now are considered successful only if they close the achievement gap. Many schools are struggling to meet this benchmark.

Measuring the achievement gap

There are several ways to measure the achievement gap. One common method is to compare academic performance among African-American, Hispanic, and white students on standardized assessments.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows that reading scores for 17-year-olds narrowed dramatically for both African-American and Hispanic students from 1975 through 1988. From 1990 to 1999, however, these gaps either remained constant or grew slightly in both reading and mathematics.

Looking at the NAEP data, the Education Trust concluded that, “By the time [minority students] reach grade 12, if they do so at all, minority students are about four years behind other young people. Indeed, 17 year-old African American and Latino students have skills in English, mathematics and science similar to those of 13-year-old white students.”

Another way to measure the achievement gap is to compare the highest level of educational attainment for various groups. Here too there are gaps at all levels.

Hispanic and African-American high school students are more likely to drop out of high school in every state. Of these high school graduates, college matriculation rates for African-American and Hispanic high-school students remain below those of white high-school graduates – although they have risen in recent years. Furthermore, of those students enrolling in college, Hispanic and black young adults are only half as likely to earn a college degree as white students.

Evidence of progress

Despite these challenges, several states have demonstrated that the achievement gap can be reduced – if not entirely closed. For instance, according to the Education Trust:

  • Texas: Here, NAEP writing scores for eighth-grade African-Americans are equal to or higher than the writing scores of white students in seven states.
  • Virginia: This state boasts one of the nation’s smallest achievement gaps between whites and Hispanics. Here, eighth-grade Hispanic students had the highest NAEP writing scores for Hispanic students in any state.
  • Department of Defense (DOD) schools: Despite high mobility, minority students in DOD schools do better on NAEP than their counterparts, yielding a smaller achievement gap. Fourth-grade white students in DOD schools outscored their African-American counterparts by an average of 17 points on the NAEP reading test – a considerably smaller gap than the national average of 32 points.

What some states are doing

Several states have initiated various strategies to alleviate the achievement gap. For instance:

  • Texas: This state’s accountability system requires schools to show each year a minimum proficiency level (percent proficient) in each student subgroup. In the five years since this legislation was enacted, the percentage of African-American students passing statewide exams rose by 31%, and the percentage of Hispanic students passing the exam rose by 29%. Meanwhile, the percentage of white students passing the exam grew by only 18%. This means the achievement gap in Texas closed by 13% and 11% for African-American and Hispanic students, respectively.
  • North Carolina: Governor Michael Easley has appointed an Education First task force to examine best practices from high-performing schools, in order to learn how to close the achievement gap. The goal of state education leaders is to eliminate the achievement gap by 2010.
  • Missouri: Here too, a state task force on K-16 issues released a report early in 2002 which concluded that improving teacher quality is the single most important factor in eliminating the achievement gap. The report recommends raising teacher quality through increased accountability, better understanding of urban issues, and financial incentives for teachers in low-performing schools.

In addition to such comprehensive strategies, states also can take many steps within their current policies to reduce persistent gaps in student academic achievement.

Closing the Achievement Gap
NGA Center for Best Practices
Hall of States, 444 N. Capitol St., Washington, D.C. 20001-1512

“For all of the charitable institutions that we’ve seen in the last century, these things do not account for the rise out of poverty of the poorest of the poor… what accounts for this is enterprise – the application of human intelligence, of human action, of human will, of ingenuity into the economic sphere.”  -Rev. Robert Sirico

Enterprise and Wealth Creation

The experience of the last 200 years demonstrates that living standards can be raised even as population density rapidly increases. Innovation and entrepreneurship can and do create new wealth for both the rich and the poor. There are, in other words, enterprise solutions to poverty.

Enterprise can spur wealth creation in several ways. Perhaps the most obvious is through invention, as with the invention and dissemination of the steam engine, or when someone discovers a new use for a natural resource. Oil was little more than a sticky annoyance until inventors figured out how to use it to fuel engines. Telecommunication lines required expensive copper until inventors figured out how to use cheap and abundant sand to produce fiber optic lines.

A less obvious way that business enterprise boosts the rate of wealth creation is through division of labor. At its best, this process frees individuals to focus on jobs that they are especially suited and trained for.

In Mad About Trade, Daniel Griswold uses World Bank figures to summarize the extraordinary progress that the world has made against poverty. For all of human history until 1800, the vast majority of the world’s population lived on a subsistence income. As gains from invention, the division of labor and global trade increased, the proportion of the world’s population living in dire poverty halved by 1950. Between 1980 and 2005, the proportion of the world’s population living in dire poverty halved again. That these improvements came during periods of significant population growth indicates that the world’s workers had become rapidly more productive.

Wealth Creation in Developing Nations

Development economists increasingly are focusing on encouraging wealth-generating enterprise as the most sustainable method for countries to move from poverty to prosperity. Such efforts are moving forward along several paths, including microfinance, angel investing in small-to-medium size enterprises; and efforts to reform government and lower trade barriers. Churches are also playing a role in such work by supporting microfinance efforts and through efforts at moral formation and cultural transformation, which in turn helps entrepreneurs in the developing world realize their full potential.

Business Enterprise as a Worthy Calling

Many view business enterprise as greed-based, an attitude that prevents many people from supporting and encouraging enterprise solutions to poverty. In an effort to remove this obstacle, champions of enterprise solutions to poverty note that greed exists in every profession, and that entrepreneurs need not be greedy in order to start and run a successful business. An entrepreneur might be motivated by greed; but she also may be motivated simply by a desire to make a better product, or to provide better opportunities for his or family and community. Labor directed toward the production of something that benefits other people is a worthwhile endeavor. Through such work, people find fulfillment and contribute to the common good.

The Role of Government in Enterprise

The idea that government is the primary source of wealth is mistaken.   The experience of Communist economies in the twentieth century demonstrated that, while a domineering state could accelerate industrial development in some cases, it could do so only at immense human cost and at an immense cost to long-term development.

At the same time, government does have a crucial role in the process of wealth creation. Establishing the consistent rule of law where property is protected and contracts enforced is a necessary condition for thriving businesses and the economic growth they bring. When government is riddled with corruption, enacts excessive levels of taxation, or imposes excessive regulatory requirements, business enterprise is stifled and the creative potential of a nation’s citizens remains largely untapped. In sum, governments promote wealth creation by promoting justice and protecting economic freedom.

See: http://www.povertycure.org – Advancing Entrepreneurial Solutions to Poverty

By  June 22, 2011 / http://www.urbanfaith.com

It had been a long day. Not long because I had crammed one activity after another into a very small window of time, but long in the tangible way I had felt every hour pass. Even though I arrived late to pick up my son from track practice, his older brother and I ended up having to wait for him to come out of the building. As he opened the van door, pitched his backpack into the van, and hopped onto the seat, I skipped my customary “Hi, how was your day” greeting. My mind was too harried to bother with perfunctory courtesies.

I swerved into the exit lane of the school driveway, but just then a man walking alongside a bicycle stepped into the crosswalk. He appeared to be talking to himself. At the precise moment when my car stopped to wait for him to pass, he turned and saw me. Now he was coming back toward the van. Oh no, not today, I thought. But yes, today was the day, and it has now become to me an act of mercy and life-altering grace that I will never forget.

I rolled down my window, lowered the radio volume so he wouldn’t hear the Christian music playing, and fixed my face with an impassive look that I hoped would indicate an absence of hostility but also a need to finish quickly whatever our interaction would be.

When he came to the window, I was expecting him to start explaining what he needed. But instead, he handed me a piece of notepaper that I could see was about half full of writing. As I started to read, he began saying something that I couldn’t quite make out, but I could tell he was probably hearing impaired. His note basically related that he was new in town, didn’t have a place to stay, had no friends or family in the area, and hadn’t eaten in three days. He concluded with a simple request for money to buy food.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on the experience, I realize that should have been my first clue that something unexpected was about to happen. Even with all his apparent needs—without a home, physical and perhaps cognitive impairments, hunger, no family—he had narrowed his request down to one thing: I’m hungry. Can you help me get some food? I see this now for what it was: raw humility.

I looked up from the note and explained that I didn’t have any cash. Usually I at least have some loose change in my ashtray or the well in the driver side door, but not today. So being satisfied that I had dispatched my obligation as best I could, I apologized for being unable to help and began rolling my window back up. Unlike other people in his situation I’ve met before, he didn’t look angry, nor did he become aggressive. He took the note back from me, smiled, and started walking back in the direction he was originally going.

As I pulled out onto the road, I said to my sons, “I really need to start carrying some cash so I can help when situations like this come up.” They both mumbled, “Yeah,” and I could hear in their voices that surly cynicism people get when they hear someone say something that they knew would quickly be forgotten. They were right. I had said this before.

But this time it felt different.

Continuing in the vein of my day, I started mentally processing what had just happened. Unsolicited, I heard and felt God’s whisper in my heart, saying, “You don’t have any cash, but you can still give him something to eat.”

Duh, of course … I did have my debit card! In a flash, it hit me with such intensity that it came bursting out of my mouth without me really intending it to. “Hey, I have a card!” I shouted.

Now my sons were energized too. They both sat up straighter in their seats and started looking for a place we could stop and buy our stranger something to eat. At the same time, we all spotted the Burger King to our left. In my new excitement and haste to rectify my original un-helpfulness, I swung the van into the turn lane and practically skidded into the BK drive-thru line. We were all thinking the same thing: we needed to hurry because he might not be in the near vicinity for too long. My sons both started yelling things we could order, and we settled on grilled chicken, fries, and a sprite. We figured if he hadn’t eaten in three days, his stomach might be sensitive, so grilled rather than fried seemed to fit the bill. I also was price conscious because my own finances were pretty slim.

After we ordered and paid, we started looking for him. Panic began to rise as we scanned the street in front of us and the sidewalk on both sides and didn’t see him.

“There he is!”

My younger son spotted him in the parking lot of a corner convenience store where he appeared to be talking with another driver about his plight. I made a half u-turn into the store parking lot and pulled up beside our friend. When he shifted on his feet to face us, I could see on his face a flicker of recognition, but just shy of familiarity. My older son was closest to him, so I handed the bag of food to him and he reached out the window. A look of sheer surprise spread over the man’s face. Clearly he couldn’t believe we were back. My son handed him the bag, and tears welled up in the man’s eyes.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, and God bless you,” the man said. We blessed him back and pulled off.

I knew what had just happened, but I also knew something else had happened. That simple hand-off of food had ushered something “other” into our midst. A hush fell over all three of us, and my spirit bore witness that the interior of my van had been transformed into holy ground. The presence of God was overwhelming. Tears started running down my face, and I saw that my younger son was struggling to hold back the tears that sat pooled right behind his eyelids. Finally he said, “Gosh, he was so grateful … poor guy.”

I heard what my son said, but I also heard someone else speaking: “Whatever you do to the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me. Thanks for feeding Me when I was hungry.” Then again: “When you give to the poor, you lend to the Lord. Thanks for the loan; I’ll pay you back.”

I was speechless. On a day when I felt the burden of so much of my own need, and was almost near the edge of panic about my own money situation, the Lord Himself visited my little tribe and gave us an opportunity to see Him, and to be blessed not just by Him but with Him. God was there as real as I’ve ever experienced Him. I saw Him in the man’s unashamed humility, his open gratitude, his peaceful demeanor despite what had to be a grinding existence, and his ready forgiveness of my earlier rejection. This man may indeed be a pauper by earthly standards, but he was just as sure a prince by eternal standards. In that simple act of obedience, I had received so much more than I had given.

Since my meeting him that day, now more than a month ago, I have thought of him every day and prayed for him when I thought to do it. He makes me wonder how many times, in our harried and distracted living, we miss the opportunity to see Jesus because we don’t recognize Him when we see Him.

Our cities and urban areas are full with people who need to be fed, clothed, comforted. But I believe we pass Him by because of the “distressing disguise” in which he appears to us. Run-down tenements, trash-strewn alleys, and overrun housing projects are not usually our idea of heavenly places. But heaven is where Jesus is, and I think maybe He’s waiting for us to realize that truth.

I almost wish I could see my hungry friend again, just so I could thank him. Through his humanity and his need, he gave me a glimpse of Someone I desperately needed to see. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, CHANDRA WHITE-CUMMINGS

Chandra White-Cummings is a columnist for UrbanFaith and a freelance writer, nonprofit consultant, and speaker. She’s currently working on a devotional series of books to help people apply God’s wisdom to their everyday lives. She has a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University School of Law, where she was named an Asuza Scholar.

By Christopher Linder July 30, 2009 -www.urbanfaith.com

President Obama reads letters from the public, as he sits at his desk in the Treaty Room Office in the Private Residence. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza, 2009.)

Now that we’ve all had a chance to settle down and let this most recent and unfortunate situation fade into the mists of past news cycles, I just wanted to humbly offer a few words of advice. In the future, please refrain from telling the truth about racial situations when asked. Clearly some of us in America aren’t quite ready for it yet. In fact, many are still trying to come to grips with the fact that you got elected in the first place.

Now, between you and me, we both know that the existence of your presidency doesn’t erase the centuries-long tradition of racism in America. Many of us — or our parents and grandparents — can still remember the days when segregation was an institution and a daily fact of life … not just a word waved around in the month of February.

You ran on the promises of hope, change, and a unified America. When I saw you speak at the Democratic Convention in 2004, I thought to myself, there’s the man who should be leading the country … and the thought was so incredibly far-fetched at the time. Even after you announced your candidacy, it seemed impossible to even dream that it would actually result in having you as our President. When Joe Biden uttered those ill-chosen words, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy …” we knew what he was trying to say, but it underscored the delicacy of the racial situation these days.

But you have to admit that we’ve certainly come a long way in these past few years, though I know we’re not there yet. However, in these critical early months of your administration, it’s important that you recognize the need for the masses to hold on to their warm, fuzzy feelings about your victory last November — not to mention their need to keep their racial blinders firmly in place. Is the danger of being stopped for “driving while Black” still a reality in 2009? Of course not! And do young Black men and women still get watched more closely in the store than their White counterparts? No! That is all completely behind us! Let’s move on; after all, slavery was a long time ago. We’re equal now!

Sure, we’ll hear the reports of the occasional group of school kids turned away from a swimming pool in the Philly suburbs … but that wasn’t a racial issue, that pool was simply too crowded. And we know that the situation with Professor Gates had nothing to do with race (not in this day and age). If Professor Gates would’ve just taken a deep breath and showed the proper respect to Sergeant Crowley, understanding that police officers seldomly treat people differently based on the color of their skin, there would be no need for your beer summit today.

Let us continue to believe that racism is dead in America, and that racial profiling is no longer an issue in our cities. Be patient with us, Mr. President … perhaps in a few years we’ll be able to engage in open, honest dialogues about race and racism. But for now, let’s just keep it our little secret. Give my best to Michelle and the kids.

Sincerely, Christopher Linder, Color-Blind in Atlanta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, CHRISTOPHER LINDER

Christopher Linder lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Rozlyn and their two daughters. A graduate of Judson University, he divides his time between writing, computer programming, and procrastinating. He is a professional web developer for churches, small businesses, and individuals. Says Chris, “I am a child of God who realizes that now, 30 years after being born again, I am still just beginning to learn how to walk.” He can be reached at Chris@iLinder.com.

For more than 50 years, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has not only captivated audiences but transformed them. Now, a new book explores the novel’s lessons of spiritual truth.

Last year one of the most memorable novels in American history reached an important milestone. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird celebrated 50 years since publication, and next year marks 50 years for the equally iconic film version of Lee’s story.

Many of us recognize To Kill a Mockingbird as one of the books on our required reading lists from high school. For others, it is one of their favorite classic movies, with Gregory Peck’s quiet strength as Southern lawyer Atticus Finch representing one of the all-time great screen portrayals. Either way, Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel imparts a story of great significance; its characters leave a lifelong impression on our consciences and hearts. We don’t just read or watch To Kill a Mockingbird; we experience it.

Matt Litton understands this better than most. His latest book, The Mockingbird Parables: Transforming Lives Through the Power of Story, explores the insight and wisdom To Kill a Mockingbird offers those who venture into its pages.

Litton, a high school teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio, was first introduced to Harper Lee’s only published book by his mother, an English teacher. She read it to him and his siblings one year during a family vacation to the beach. He recalls, “I found it deeply affecting that first listen. When I read it on my own, I think I was, like many others, enthralled with the courage of Atticus and the honesty of Scout, shocked by the actions and attitudes of the “churchgoing” folks, and grieved by the conviction and eventual death of the innocent Tom Robinson.”

Like most others who read the book, Litton found that the story of Scout, Jem, and Atticus brought a new perspective to life. “As a young person, it was my first glimpse at what can happen when good people make the decision to stand by and do nothing. I grew up in a middle-class setting, with parents who were both educators; we were taught that people are just people no matter their color, shape, size, gender, or income. I think To Kill a Mockingbird was my initial look at some pretty harsh realities about the world — my first inkling that there is injustice, my first realization of the existence of prejudice and racism. I didn’t understand it at the time, but it was also my introduction to true courage in the character of Atticus, and my first realization that real courage doesn’t always win the day. Like most young readers, I was also caught up with the mystery of Boo Radley.”

An educator himself, Litton also notes the impact the novel has on his students. “They are certainly touched by it on different levels. I think most of my students are immediately fascinated with the reclusive and mysterious character of Boo Radley. Initially Boo captures their imaginations, but then they are drawn into the greater story. For many of my students, it is also their first experience with prejudice and its destructive impact — not just on individual people, but whole communities.”

The greater story, a tale of the darkest and brightest aspects of human nature, still draws many to its pages. When asked about To Kill a Mockingbird’s relevance on American culture, Litton says, “I think it remains relevant because it teaches us so many lessons about how to live in community with one another.”

In The Mockingbird Parables, Litton points out that the essence of Harper Lee’s story is the message of compassion.  “Atticus tells his daughter, Scout, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’ In my opinion, the novel continues to be relevant because the message of compassion is one that we still need to hear. I don’t believe people can change, or that the world can change, without compassion. Change only happens when we take the time to stand in someone else’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.”

To Kill a Mockingbird is a great opportunity to see the world from a different perspective. Scout Finch is a compelling narrator and, in Litton’s opinion, adds to the relevance of the novel.

“Harper Lee’s choice to use a child as the narrator is one of the things that add to its lasting relevance. I think most children view the world with an innate sense of fairness. Scout sees things as they are — she has not yet been conditioned to see the world like the adults of Maycomb.”

He adds: “There is a remarkable moment in the novel that I discuss in The Mockingbird Parables where Scout walks out of the courtroom with her friend Dill. He is really upset about the way the white prosecutor has been talking down the witness, Tom Robinson, just because of his skin color. Dill is so disturbed by the behavior of the adults that he tells Scout he is going to join the circus when he grows up so that he can laugh at all of them. He simply can’t process the attitudes of the adults; he can see the injustice of it, so why can’t they?”

Litton also connects this childlike perspective to bedrock principles of the Christian faith. “In many ways that is exactly what Jesus is pointing to when he calls a little child to himself and stands him among the adults and tells them that we must become like little children if we are going to enter the kingdom of heaven. As we grow older, we begin to look around at the illness, the sin, the prejudice, the poverty, the injustice, and just resign ourselves to it. Adults are conditioned to think — that is just ‘the way it is.’ Children still possess that sense of idealism — a belief that things can change. Scout’s age allows her to speak the truth from that perspective.”

As Christians, we need to recognize that Jesus calls us into the same sense of idealism, Litton says. We must maintain a conviction that the world can change and things are not as they should be. “We need to grab hold of that ‘childlike’ view of the world.”

For more information about Scott Litton, visit him at mattlitton.com.

By Terri J. Haynes at http://www.urbanfaith.com/2011/03/listening-to-the-mockingbird.html

______________________________________________________________________

Terri J. Haynes Terri J. Haynes is a writer and freelance graphic artist. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is an adjunct professor at National Bible College and Seminary in Ft. Washington, Maryland. Terri and her husband are the leaders of Joshua Generation, a ministry for young adults ages 18-35. Her book credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, and she blogs at terrijhaynes.blogspot.com. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.