Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Working for the Common Good

<<Here's a photo of a display on the fence outside Hancock-Hamline University Collaborative Magnet School in St. Paul.
Each ribbon represents one child who was homeless in 2006. It got me thinking, (as I'm sure it was intended to do!) about the many people who are becoming homeless because of the predatory lending practices of the past few years and the resulting tide of foreclosures. I'm always mystified by arguments that claim that the marketplace can regulate itself. This situation is a prime example of why that sometimes isn't true. It's not fair competition when fraud and deceit are involved, and a certain measure of accountability is provided as a brake on those temptations when these types of transactions are regulated and scrutinized. The labyrinthine selling and reselling of securities is nothing more than pushing money through modems. May their consciences prick them, who enrich themselves in this dishonorable fashion, and may they turn to work that benefits the common good of us all.
This is excerpted from the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless website:

Every three years, Wilder Research Center conducts a one-day study of the number of people experiencing homelessness throughout Minnesota. It is the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind in the nation. The Center conducted its latest study on October 26, 2006.
Wilder Research Center’s Homeless in Minnesota 2006 report estimates that on October 26, 2006, the total number of homeless and precariously housed persons in Minnesota numbered 20,347. Children, youth, and young adults age 21 and younger made up 47 percent of all people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota the night of the survey. A total of 2,726 children age 17 and younger experienced homelessness with their parents on the night of the survey.

One does wonder what the numbers are like now.

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
Releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Isaiah 58

Today I'm grateful for: my home and my community, my education, my work, my friends, for fresh snow, for a good conversation with really interesting companions at lunch, for the Wilder Foundation and the good work it does for the City of St. Paul; for the students and staff at Hancock Elementary School.
Holding in prayer today: people who are homeless, especially when it is so cold; people who engage in fraudulent practices which cause other people to suffer; immigrants. esp. K & J, for Olga; Tim Counts and people who work for ICE; the community of Cottonwood, Minnesota; legislators and leaders; Sisters of St. Joseph in Romania.

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