“When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.” Proverbs 11:10
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Our city focus is on the neighborhoods to whom we have geographic proximity: Camp Greene and Westerly Hills. We will continue to say “no” to good opportunities in other parts of the city, because we can never forget the real and pressing needs literally across the street. And while there are many opportunities in which to invest, we will prioritize our involvement in the lives of those most vulnerable: at-risk students at underperforming neighborhood schools, local families whose homes are in disrepair, and homeless children who attend nearby schools.
As we serve, we will continue to ask, “Are we pursuing a Development approach, rather than a simple Betterment approach?” Dr. Robert Lupton crisply articulates the essential difference between these two models of charity in chapter 7 of his profound book Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life. In essence, this philosophy reminds us never to do for our neighbors what they can do for themselves. Our friends at Habitat for Humanity remind us that a “hand up” preserves a person’s dignity a whole lot more than a mere handout.
*If you are interested in pursuing the theological roots of our methodology, we cannot recommend a sermon more highly than this one: Creation Care and Justice, by Timothy J. Keller. Download it and listen to it promptly for further study and reflection.