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Poverty and Abundance

Years ago I attended a conference on urban ministry that was convened by Walter Brueggemann. One of the attendees was a Roman Catholic nun who lived and worked in North Philadelphia. She described the paradox of her situation: that in a neighborhood of considerable poverty, she discovered more abundance than any other place she had ever been. She described a rather spontaneous neighborhood festival -- everybody came, all sorts of food showed up, and people stayed and celebrated long after the appointed time for it to end.

Jonathan Kozol describes a similar abundance in the afterschool at St. Ann's Episcopal Church: "Even on the days when I've run out of steam I never like these afternoons to end" (page 218). Part of the appeal of Kozol's work is that he clearly presents the poverty -- and the inequity that produces the poverty; and at the same time he discovers and describes an abundance that the poverty cannot destroy.

Ordinary Resurrections.

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