Our family’s gift to Jesus this Christmas was a financial gift to Heifer International. We all kicked in some money to buy chickens for a Third World village. Heifer raises animals in America then ships them to these villages. The provision is that once, say, the chickens have other chickens, the baby chicks are to be given to other villagers, who in turn give the next offspring to other villagers… It’s a gift that keeps on giving, in a big way… I found my self in a conversation with a Libertarian at the YMCA. He said he was not particularly in favor of entitlement programs. I said we’d just spent five years in the inner city of Cleveland on the front line, if you will. Kids growing up trying daily to dodge hunger, needles, bullets… While the kids in the suburbs (and many small towns) have a way better shot at life. And I believe it’s a spiritual imperative we help level the playing field. (And no, that doesn’t have a damn thing to do with socialism. It has everything to do with Christian love.) As coincidence would have it, last night I stepped in to help coach my son’s home school basketball team. Most of the kids are from suburban Atlanta. They show up in Lexus’s (etc.) driven by their parents and play in $100 basketball shoes. Of the teams I coached at the Cleveland Rec Center in the city, these kids showed up primarily on foot or by bus (through some pretty rough neighborhoods). and their shoes, for the most part, were bought used in thrift stores. What’s more, many of them were going home to places without a father; or to parents who are alcoholics, or crack addicts… Note: While at the Open Door Community in urban Atlanta, I interviewed a volunteer here who just retired as legal counsel for the Weather Chanel. In her retirement, she has become involved with “Leadership Atlanta.” This is a year long program for seniors who want to “…give back to the community.” Each month there is a day long seminar on various social issues in Atlanta. Some of the topics include: race relations; education, health care… The intent of the program (each class has 75 students) is to not only expose people to the issues, but create “leaders” who will take the ball and either create programs, or get involved with existing programs, to impact some of these issues.