Thursday, December 15, 2005

''You Can't Serve The Master And Master Card''

Social change from the grassroots: "Today, there's also a new movement stirring in Norfolk, and again, it is the
black community that is leading it. As in the 1960's, it is based in the black
church, more specifically in the massive Mount Carmel Baptist Church here led by a white-bearded firebrand Bishop named C. Vernie Russell. He is leading a
liberation war against what one of his parishioners calls "the enemy" -debt.

He is doing it with debt liquidation revivals at which church members donate to
a fund that emancipates fellow church families from debt. They literally give
their money so that members of their community can buy their way out. Later, those freed fom personl debt are expected to destroy their credit cards, cut back on consumer binges and build the church and its mission. These revivals are working.

The Bishop's "praying off" debt movement has so far helped 75 families
eliminate $600,000 in debt. Its sparked a campaign that has freed over 450
families from $1.5 million in debt.

This may be but a drop in the bucket when set against nearly a TRILLION dollars in personal debts held by Americans, but it is a start.

Debt is the biggest economic crisis in America that threatens to explode in a
bubble bursting meltdown but both political parties are silent and in the pay
of the credit card companies. Theirs is a bi-partisan consensus against
reforming this ticking time bomb. Instead they are making matters worse with so -called "bankruptcy reform" that makes it hard for debtors to have a second

When you are in debt, you often feel ashamed depressed and alone. Not at Mount Carmel. Their services are alive with music, clapping, dancing and collective problem sharing. The anthem sung by the choir and repeated by the congregation in the call and response tradition of the Black Baptist church 'I need you and you need me.' It's an uplifting message of unity and mutual caring something all too conspicuous by its absence in this era of Bushian "faith-based" politics. These people are turning to their faith tradition to fight back and turning each other on with a way of doing it."-from News Dissector Blog.

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