Jan 082015
 

When I was in banking, the world was pretty much a black and white world.

Either you met the requirements laid out in the 566 page Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guideline and got the loan or you didn’t.    Rarely was there a gray area where you could/would be able to dispute things with the underwriter.    It was a pretty comfortable world from that standpoint.

The world of caring – caring for orphans, caring for foster kids, caring for the marginalized, caring for those on the edge, caring about social justice is rarely clean cut.   It’s very rarely easy to judge what works and what doesn’t.   It’s hard to see and predict the long term implications of short term actions.

That’s why there are books  called, “When Helping Hurts.”  

That’s why many people outside of the international development community like UNICEF and many inside the community consider UNICEF to be a four letter word.   

There are so many issues and so many layers and so many misconceptions.    So many things that look one way but then end up resulting in a different thing.

Like the time when a short term volunteer bought a neighbor boy a bike.    Sounds like a good thing right?

  • Until the kid got mugged two days later, beaten up and his bike and all of his school supplies stolen.
  • So, not only did that little boy go from the high of getting a gift that was totally beyond the realm of possibility to seeing it taken from him.
  • But he also went through the trauma of being attacked and beaten up.
  • And losing his school supplies.
  • School supplies that cost his parents a couple of months worth of income to pay for.

There are a lot of misconceptions, a lot of “layers” of understanding and misunderstanding.

Many things look one way on the surface – but then when you look under the hood, you see that things aren’t the way they first seem.

We’re going to be talking about a lot of those type of issues here.

Issues with no easy answers.

Issues that matter.   

I hope you’ll join us.

Tom

Jan 062015
 

What’s this all about?

This caring for the poor “thing?”

Helping the homeless

Adoption

Orphan Prevention

Missions

Social Justice

What’s it really all about?

What’s really going on?

 

 

It’s rather simple but very painful.

We’re at war.

The devil is doing everything he can to harm, hurt, kill and destroy God’s people.

And how does he do that? 

  • Corruption
  • Disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Abuse
  • Sex trafficking
  • Comfort and complacency
  • and every other way that he can attempt to damage, hurt or destroy God’s people.

And as usual, he starts with the weakest link.   So he’s first going to go after the children, the weak, the ill, the defenseless.

Precisely because they are defenseless.

Everything we talk about here at The Vulnerable Project will be focused through that framework.  

The devil wants the darkness to win.

We need to push back the dark.

Jan 052015
 

So, we’re 5 days into 2015 and what’s next?  

I don’t know.

Honestly, I don’t know what’s next.   I know what I think is next but only God knows what is really next.

But let me tell you what I’m thinking…….

I’ve taken some time and assembled a VERY long list of blog topics all related to vulnerable children.    It’s a list that is going to take me a long time to get through.

Why?

Because one of the main goals of the Vulnerable Project is to help further understanding and action about the needs of those who are less fortunate.

Understanding – understanding of a group of issues that is horribly complex.

Understanding of a group of issues that many big non-profits wouldn’t necessarily get a passing grade on.

Understanding of something I don’t fully grasp either.

But if we have a conversation about these topics, we probably won’t all agree, but we will all be better off for the discussion.

And then there’s the other piece…….

Action – once you know, you can’t plead ignorance.

Once you know, you can’t claim you didn’t know.

So, in between the discussion of the issues, we’ll also have discussions about ways, healthy, productive ways that you can make a difference. 

Not always with money – many times not with money.

But ways that you can take the understanding and make it into more than just head knowledge.

My target is going to be two or three posts a week – more or less depending on the issues, the other things going on in my life and my family.

How can you help?

  • Read and discuss when you see something that resonates with you.  
  • Share it with others – spread the word, engage and educate more people.
  • Support what we’re doing – put a tip in the tip jar, get involved in helping with one or more of the action plans that we’ll be talking about and promoting.

Thanks for reading.   Thanks for helping me kick off a new year.   It’s going to be really interesting to see where God takes this in 2015!

Tom

Dec 092014
 

Obviously, the name of this site is, “The Vulnerable Project.”    But who are the vulnerable?    I think it helps to have some criteria in terms of what you mean when you talk about the vulnerable.    So, with that being said, here are 5 things (in random order) that define who could be considered vulnerable:

  • Where – where you live has a big impact on whether you could fall into the category of vulnerable.    Someone who lives in Middle Class suburbia in the United States isn’t necessarily going to be vulnerable.
  • Health care – do you have access to adequate health care?   Is there a significant risk that you  could fall ill with a disease that is potentially curable given adequate health care but is fatal in areas that don’t have it?   An example?   Malaria.   For someone with adequate healthcare, malaria is (so I’m told) a really bad time but is rarely fatal.    For people who don’t have access to medical care, malaria is highly fatal.
  • Family – is the family unit together?    Is there sufficient income in the family unit to keep the family alive?
  • Dysfunction – is there dysfunction in the family unit?   Is there abuse?   Is there a fear for the physical safety of one or more family members due to abuse?
  • Social Justice – are there systems in place to protect the innocent and deter or punish those who do wrong?

 

So, using those as guidelines, who potentially qualifies as “Vulnerable?”

  • Obviously orphaned children all over the world do.
  • Children in foster care do.
  • Parents of children in foster care – those who are really trying – do.
  • People like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others do.   People who might or might not have been violating the laws of society but who, from many viewpoints, were treated differently and treated less well because of their skin color – they do.
  • Women and their children suffering from abuse and domestic violence do.
  • Christians in Syria who are being persecuted and killed by ISIS do.

 

So, given those thoughts and those “guidelines,”  what is The Vulnerable Project going to do?   I’m in the process of reworking some of my thoughts on that, in light of Ferguson, in light of New York and in light of conversations I’ve been having with many people who I respect very highly.

The need to protect and assist the vulnerable has never, in my eyes, been greater.

God’s call to care for the orphan and the widow and to do justice and love mercy are or should be front and center.  (James 1:27 and Micah 6Alien

The Vulnerable Project is working on ways to do that.

I hope you’ll stay tuned and join us as we venture down this path and see what God wants us to do.

Thanks,

Tom

Nov 292014
 

It’s been three days since I read this article by Lecrae – http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-juice/6327837/lecrae-ferguson.

Who is Lecrae?   Here’s what Wikipedia says about him……  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecrae.

That article has gotten me thinking.    Thinking a lot.   Thinking about some tough questions.   Questions that Lecrae has no answers to.

Questions that I have no answer to.lecrae-billboard-650

But a question that I am asking myself a lot is this…….

Does the whole Ferguson mess illustrate and expose that we have another a different kind of vulnerable that we need to pay more attention to?

Are the vulnerable not only the women and children in 3rd world countries but also the children who aren’t white but live in first world countries and are faced with a system that at best has biases against them and at worst is downright discriminatory?

Should we, as the privileged in places like the United States, do more and be more focused on the vulnerable in our country as well.

While they might not be at risk of dying from malnutrition, they are at risk of dying.

And as such, should we be doing more to stand up and fight on their behalf?

I’d love to hear your thoughts,

TJV