Last night was our annual Nehemiah Action Team meeting for BREAD. BREAD is an organization of faith communities (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) who are "building power to do justice."
This is from their website: www.breadcolumbus.org
"Millons of dollars are being wasted every year in avoidable hospitalizations, misdirected treatment of ex-offenders, and the sell-off of tax liens to private investors.
Adding to the shame of wasting tax payer dollars is that dollars are being spent on programs that are counter productive. Using dollars wisely will not only save money but improve lives."
At this meeting every one of the 52 organizations brought as many people together as possible so that the elected officials who were invited might understand that there is a real concern about these issues.
So last night 37 members of Karl Road Christian Church drove down in the rain and joined about 2800 other people. We learned about the latest research on crime and violence, health care, and neighborhood blight and saw some elected representatives promise to work with us. It is always - ultimately - a very meaningful time for me.
I learn about issues that in my own self involvement I am so prone to ignore or just not see. I may not care about crime and violence until I am affected, about neighborhood blight until there is a house on my street that is empty, about health insurance until it is me or my family. That really is the human condition - but BREAD forces me to think about these things and then be part of a group that works together to do something. This is all good.
Some of the invited participants could not quite say YES to everything that BREAD wanted them to do - but they were for the most part willing to work with the organization. Throughout the meeting the crowd was encouraged to repeat together:
Stop Wasting Money!
Stop Wasting Live!
Not everybody likes this kind of thing - but I do. It is good to learn, to work, and to witness TOGETHER
After that Chuck and I joined Nicki at the Crest Tavern for jazz. The Crest Tavern is a pretty nondescript place - there is a bar on one side and a larger room with a pool table and couple of tables for sitting and then folding chairs for the musicians. There are white Christmas lights all around to make it festive I suppose. But also dart boards and beer signs. Not exactly homy place like Cheers - BUT the jazz is pretty cool.
Apparantly anybody can come and play. This was my second time - there were three trumpets, one keyboard, three guys on percussion, 2 guitars, a flute. They came in and out and passed the melody around and kept the beat and played together. Jazz - working together.If there is any regret to my life - as one who loves all kidns of music - I wish I could play jazz - play loose and free. I can only play the notes on the page.
But that is not the point - the point is the music that is made when people work together. Much more interesting. But less control.
You never quite know what is going to happen.