We Can’t Continue To Pass By

There’s a famous parable told by Jesus in scripture about the “Good Samaritan.”

If you are unfamiliar, it’s a parable where Jesus is trying to teach people with status, religiosity, and power how to love those that are down and out.

If you have read this before check it out in 10:25–37.

Jesus tells this story of a man that lost every single thing and was left on the side of the road to die because he was beaten and robbed.

There were two opportunities for him to receive help, but the two persons that could have helped passed right by and did nothing.

However, the story takes an interesting twist.

There is this least likely person that appears on the scene and sees the man battling for his life! This Samaritan  makes his way over to the man and chooses to close the social and geographical distance between himself and the man’s poverty.

He doesn’t stop there! He cares for the man until he is restored back to full health.

The man that should have died life changes because a person refused to pass by and do nothing.

The message is clear in this story–we should stop walking by problems when we have the power to do something about the problems right before us.

We’ve got to deal with both the climate that produced the conditions that had the man on the side of the road, and we ourselves must also take time to lift up the people that life has broken down (by choosing to get closer to the issues).

Yesterday, I met a man sleeping on a bus stop bench. Tears fell down my face because as I gazed behind the man, there was an abandoned building right behind him.

Literally, the answer to his poverty and homelessness was gated and boarded up.

Although I am well aware of how some Real Estate properties have private owners, I still dream of conscious courageous capitalist(s) placing people on their agenda and even considering how they can invest in people and communities rather than waiting until communities are gentrified to make a profit.

As I walk to Memphis, TN to commemorate MLK’s last stance for MAP18, I’m reminded that we must stop walking by!

We must not be like the religious leaders in the parable I mentioned above that walks by without stopping to address the issues that plague us all.

This morning before I start DAY 3, I’m thinking about the words found in one of my favorite songs by Kindred The Family Soul. The song is called, “ALL MY PEOPLE.”

The hook says,

“I want all my people around me
Everybody living good
Everybody eatin good
Everybody chillin
I want all my people around me
Everybody eatin good
Everybody living good
I want for my brother what I want for myself.”

I believe what they are communicating in this song is what I feel in my heart at this very moment.

I want to see every single human have access to the resources that will make life a little more peaceful and stable for them.

I would like to see people who don’t have anything have the same quality of life that I have, and many others have.

But, in order for this to happen we must stop walking by!

Terence

Gather Atlanta – Feburary 2018

Here’s a recap from our recent “Gather Atlanta” in the heart of the city!

We are leading “A Movement of Doers” from all walks to love those who are vulnerable and living on the margins of society.

One of the great things about our “Gather Atlanta” serve days is that people come from everywhere under the umbrella of love to build relationships with those experiencing homelessness and poverty and to take #lovebeyondwalls

 

Gather Atlanta – February 2018 from Love Beyond Walls on Vimeo.

LBW Team

10 DAYS AWAY – MAP18 Reflections

I’ve been up since 3AM reading words that chronicle the last few months of Martin Luther King’s Jr. life —
 
Before he was assassinated, he started to campaign about people in this country that were experiencing extreme poverty.
 
His agenda was to ensure that those on the margins of society were not forgotten.
 
King believed poverty was a Civil Rights issue, and so do I.
 
Every single day, I feel that same burning passion to ensure that this nation remembers the voiceless and invisible of our society.
 
In 10 Days, I’ll set out on another journey.
I’m literally walking from The Center For Civil & Human Rights to the Lorraine Motel (386 miles) to honor the 50th year of King’s passing, and to bring attention to an issue that he stood against—poverty.
 
I’m grateful for the historical partners we’ve had to endorse the #MAP18 campaign!
 
In the words of King,
 
“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.”
 
Learn more at marchagainstpoverty.com
 
Terence

18 DAYS AWAY – MAP18

In 18 Days, we will launch #MAP18 to take a stand against systemic poverty and racial division.

Terence will walk 386 miles from Atlanta, GA to Memphis, Tennessee to the motel where King was assassinated to bring attention to poverty and division (two of the triple evils that King stood against).

Through this journey Johnny & Terence hope to model what in means to walk together in unity and stand against an issue that plagues millions of lives.

Will you join us in the March Against Poverty 2018?

Follow the conversation! #MAP18 #LoveBeyondWalls #MLK50th

LBW Team

James Is Transforming

Sometimes we are unable to put into words how we feel doing this work at Love Beyond Walls —

I (Terence) met James a little over a month ago. He was homeless, jobless, hungry, and without a place to stay.

We welcomed him into our #lovebeyondwalls community and surrounded him with tons of people who saw his worth and value.

In a little over a month, he joined a church, got a place to stay temporarily, started volunteering with us, and yesterday we celebrated that he got a new job less than a mile away from our Center.

Not only does this affirm his dignity, but it reveals to us ALL the importance of the “one.” It’s not always about huge numbers!

Sometimes it’s about the impact you can make in someones life right in front of you.

We are giving our lives to see people’s lives transformed.

Terence

documentary critique by rev. neichelle r. guidry, phd

voiceless: a documentary on systemic poverty: is a poignant portrayal of the complexity and humanity of poverty in the United States of America. this documentary illuminates the hypocritical paradox of inequity and disparity in the “land of opportunity.” the primary vehicle for accomplishing this end is through the self-narrated stories of several individuals who are suffering through the imposition of homelessness.

in their own voices, viewers hear of how the problem of poverty is exacerbated by social location. sexism, racism, immigration status, criminal history and generational poverty produce nuanced intersections of suffering, immobility, and hopelessness. through their stories, people like Erica, a single mother of three, weave two common threads through the film. the first common thread is the idea that no one ever desires to be homeless, and the second is the fact that despite their greatest efforts, systems that were built to privilege the wealthy make it impossible for the poor to change their circumstances.

in the wake of the “tax cuts and jobs act,” these people and their stories are the clarion calls to conscious advocacy, self-surveillance of privilege and doing justice. enter Terence Lester, the starter of Love Beyond Walls. in this film, he gives an insider perspective on his March Against Poverty from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the poor. montages of his daily musings and meetings punctuate the film with images of the costs, challenges and joys of doing justice with and for the poor.

as a clergywoman, i am especially convicted by the critique of the church as an institution that does good only on Sundays, conflates justice with charity, and exchanges the poverty of Jesus for capitalistic prosperity. there is a flailing faith center in the fight against poverty, which is unfortunate because religious traditions, including but not limited to, Christianity, possess the means for leveling economic fields, galvanizing political resources and making lasting transformation. altogether, this documentary is a formidable, motivation, and it calls viewers into the fight. more importantly, it calls viewers into relationship, thereby humanizing the numbers and statistics of poverty through personal engagement with the poor and taking on their pain as our own, to feel and to eradicate.

rev. neichelle r. guidry, phd