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Archive for the tag “WORLD magazine”

California evangelizes lottery: ‘Believe in something bigger’


Angela Lu writes for World magazine:

The ad starts with a soft choral singing of “California Dreaming,” and small white balls falling out of the sky like snowflakes onto sequoia forests, the Golden Gate bridge, downtown Los Angeles, the beach. Regular folks look up in wonder, enjoying the “snowfall” until one man joyously finds a red ball in his hand. The screen cuts away to the pseudo-religious phrase “Believe in something bigger,” and the purpose of the ad: California Lottery Powerball with jackpots starting at $40 million.

The TV spot, along with billboards that include moving images of the woman’s suffrage movement, the moon landing, and the fall of the Berlin wall with just the word “Believe” in the corner, has been criticized by commentators as tricking citizens—especially the poor—into believing a lie. The odds of hitting the Powerball’s 6-number jackpot are more than 175 million to one.

Ad agency David&Goliath expands on its campaign saying the phrase “isn’t just a tagline, it’s a mindset—one that inspires people to think beyond what’s possible. To be part of a movement of optimism and larger-than-life dreams, and to serve as a filter for the Lottery and the people who play.”

And often those who fall for this optimism are those who need the money the most. A PBS report last year found that households that earn less than $13,000 a year spend 9 percent of their income on lottery tickets. Those who feel poor buy twice as many lottery tickets.

Read the rest of this excellent article by clicking here.

It says a lot about a society — none of it good — when it is willing to raise revenue by selling false hope to the desperate poor, and the middle class shrugs off the exploitation by saying, “Hey, it’s only a game, and I enjoy playing.” How selfish is a society in which “believe in something bigger” means realizing the ultimate narcissistic fantasy of sudden “something for nothing” wealth? Who can show them what a life of faith in something bigger actually looks like?

The author’s conclusion is spot-on: God redeems the poor, and that includes “the poor, ordinary things in our lives, including ourselves” that are of greater value than all the world’s wealth. Let us walk in his paths — and teach others his ways as well.

Watch the California Lottery ad by clicking here.
Learn more about a Christian response to gambling by clicking here.

Don’t walk by – homeless in NYC

nyc homelessWorld magazine reports that New York City’s public shelters housed 50,000 people in January, a 19% surge from a year ago — not including those homeless because of Superstorm Sandy — and up 73% over a decade ago. A massive outreach called Don’t Walk By sent thousands of volunteers out to talk with homeless in Manhattan, giving them supplies and directing them to churches for a hot meal and medical care.

“We’re living in a time where people have two choices: You pay your rent, you don’t eat. You eat, and you’re homeless,” said James Macklin, director of outreach at NYC’s Bowery Mission. “We’re trying to fix the human being so he can get out of the condition he’s in, not enabling him to stay where he’s at.”

Emily Belz writes:

NEW YORK—How many blocks are there in Manhattan? More than 6,000. Over the last month, volunteers from a coalition of ministries to the homeless have canvassed every block on the island in a massive outreach called Don’t Walk By.

Thousands of volunteers talked with those living on the street and in the subways, provided them with emergency kits, and directed them to nearby churches where they can get a hot meal and medical care.

These ministries have been blanketing Manhattan for the last five winters, when the homeless population is most vulnerable. From 2009 to 2012, volunteers met about 4,000 homeless, and about 1,700 have returned with volunteers to neighborhood churches for care. For many homeless people, the conversations on the street are the beginning of a relationship that leads to rehabilitation programs, jobs, and permanent housing.

The ministries concluded their month-long project this past weekend, as new numbers emerged showing homelessness in New York at a record-high. In January, the city’s public shelters housed 50,000 people, a 19 percent surge from a year ago, according to a report from the Coalition for the Homeless released Tuesday. The number represents a 73 percent rise from a decade ago. The latest numbers do not include those who are homeless because of Superstorm Sandy.

“New York is facing a homeless crisis worse than any time since the Great Depression,” said Mary Brosnahan, president of the Coalition for the Homeless, in releasing the report.

To read the rest of this compelling article, click here.

Don’t Walk By is the work of six faith-based organizations: Bowery Mission, Relief Bus, Street Life Ministries, Betel of America, Hope for New York, and New York City Rescue Mission.

What is your church doing to help the homeless in your community?

More than a clinic

Tiffany Owens writes for WORLD magazine:

ATHENS, Ga.—Thursday, 5:25 p.m.: Mercy Health Clinic volunteers scurry like theater students before opening night. They rush from room to room carrying manila folders, pinning on nametags, and greeting each other with hugs and smiles. Doctors peek at their appointment lists and make final touches on their notes.

“It’s almost time for our huddle,” Executive Director Tracy Thompson says. Shortly after 5:30 p.m., she leads the way downstairs where staffers and volunteers have gathered to pray. Ten minutes later, they rush upstairs and begin calling names. It’s show time.

Mercy provides free medical care to people living in one of America’s poorest counties. Many patients are the working uninsured, meaning they earn too much to receive Medicaid but not enough to buy insurance without falling short elsewhere.

Read the full article here.

Learn more about Mercy Health Center here.

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