Sunday, July 20, 2008

So What's This All About?

So, why another blog?

I resisted writing one simply because it has been different for me to answer that question. Larry James is already writing a serious and substantive chronicle consisting of personal reflection, advocacy and the promotion of our work at Central Dallas Ministries. I enjoy reading it and it has a very wide readership. Larry's one of the smartest men I know and he is far too modest to promote himself as one of our foremost passionate and progressive thinkers and actors.

I have the unusual opportunity to share my experience and reflections in a monthly column in the Dallas Morning News. I enjoy the challenge and I hope to not only advocate for change, but also stimulate public conversation around some issues from a perspective that is not often given voice in Dallas' 'official' daily.

But that is monthly. And things happen and important events occur that are usually past a monthly news cycle. There are also things that happen in our community that don't make in our local daily newspaper, television or radio broadcasts or even regular private dialogue. And there are differing public perspectives that I think are important, and for better or for worse, I'd like to provide, what I hope will be as substantive a view as Larry provides.

So what will this blog be about? Obviously advocacy from a public policy standpoint. But I've found out that what influences public policy convesation stems from virutally every influence on the thinking of the advocate: the places you've been, the people you know, the positions you've held and the experiences you've had. The first entry, for instance, was a reaction to the news that the American Medical Association admitted that for one century, racism had been reflected in their policies and activities. Go figure! Yet at the same time it was accompanied by an apology and a stated attempt to correct this wrong. I felt compelled to write because there are so many whites who believe that contemporary and historic grievances of African-Americans - and other minorities - seem to be imaginary. Some sort of societal paranoia that we experience because we've either read too much, watched too much T.V. or listened to too many of the wrong people. Here is an official admission of their complicity in an American tragedy and apology. It's significant, but it seemed to fly under the radar of most mainstream press. So forgive me if it wasn't very well written. It was my first attempt at a public, unedited statement and I'm learning.

What I hope to do is to share with you my understanding and reflections on how we must address issues of poverty from a public policy standpoint. But, I have almost 25 years as a pastor in the inner city and the flap over Jeremiah Wright shows that the public doesn't understand the Black Church or Black culture and community. Central Dallas Ministries is doing great work and it would take every program director we have to tell you about all of it. That may not (or may, who knows!) be possible. I'd like to share with you what I'm learning from the PDs I supervise.

I'll also post links to my monthly columns as well as to those of columnists I like to read or find interesting. So I guess it won't be that different from other blogs, but I hope those who read it find it interesting. I hope you'll respond and I hope you'll share with me the resources that shape your thinking as well.

Its a new world and the public conversation and debate we have - even in cyberspace can help us understand one another better and hopefully provoke us all to an engagement which can make our world better.

No comments: