Thursday, August 9, 2007

TWO HOME GROWN EXPRESSIONS OF "THE UPSIDE DOWN KINGDOM"

NOT LOOKING FAR. I don't have to look far for expressions of "grace between the lines" or the "upside down kingdom." Two home grown examples in Indianapolis immediately come to mind: Recycle Force and Rebuilding the Wall. These two non-profit start-ups are responding to real personal, neighborhood and community concerns with a creative, passionate focus.

WORKING WITH EX-FELONS. Recycle Force, Inc. targets to employ hard-to-employ ex-felons. Recycle Force deconstructs old computers and recycles the fine parts for resale to industry. Employees are paid a living wage and encouraged and counseled toward better employment and whole-life living. It's a win-win. I wish Recycle Force had been around all those days I worked with ex-felons, fresh out of the penitentiary, who came to Horizon House desperately seeking work and who, finding none, returned to familiar patterns of survival. Learn about Recycle Force, Inc. via their website. What other opportunities can be created and reserved for ex-felons that will help them begin a new life?

IT'S NOT ABOUT THE HOUSE. If I say that Rebuilding the Wall, Inc. is about rehabbing homes to sell to local urban neighborhood families, Chris Province, RTW's passionate and innovative director, will set me straight. Okay, so RTW DOES rehab homes within a specific Indianapolis neighborhood and local families DO purchase and dwell in them. But it's not about rehabbing homes for Chris and Mary, his wife (a gifted MSW social worker who once-upon a time served on staff at the community center I directed). It's about community and it's about relationships. To be more specific:

"The mission of Rebuilding the Wall, Inc. is to stabilize and empower
low-income families by renovating vacant inner city properties and giving
the families the opportunity for home ownership. We combat social injustice
by building relationships across racial and socio-economic barriers; and we
stabilize community by the recycling of resources within the neighborhood. "


With a proven track record and a complete commitment to its mission, RTW is en effort worthy of volunteer and investor involvement. Explore Rebuilding the Wall's website to get directly involved.

WHAT WE CAN DO. I will continue to name home grown examples of "the upside down kingdom." I do this because too often we either (a) are not aware of these grass roots efforts in our backyard, or (b) are so focused wringing our hands about seemingly intransigent national and global issues that we overlook what God's grace is making possible in the micro close to home. It will take a while to end poverty; but an ex-felon in Indy might be employed today if you will recycle your old computer. And you may be changed forever through your brief involvement with an RTW relationship and build effort.

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