gentry13

Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Shameless Self-Promotion

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I’ve banged another double off The Outfield Ivy. Would love for you to join this conversation about the Cardinals’ 2010-2011 offseason.

Recent Encounters

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

on tuesday night andrew defranza, the executive director of harborlight community partners and one of my closest friends, spoke at the north shore emergent cohort about the personal cost of social justice. andrew’s talk focus on the economic implications of working for a nonprofit – i.e., it’s very challenging for a nonprofit worker to support her family if she is not in upper management and there are only so many seats at that table – as well as the unexpected realities that upend many idealistic nonprofit employees – i.e., the more direct service you provide to the people you care about, the less money you make; providing direct services can blind you to the systemic realities that produce the inequities you are desperate to address.

andrew’s talk was a short form of the hard-won wisdom that he’s been sharing with me for years. hearing him reminded me that i am still idealistic enough to fight the (probably) eventual movement towards more administrative functions and i definitely need to simultaneously reduce my obsession with helping individuals with disabilities navigate their barriers to success and invest more energy in understanding the inequities in the system that effect the disabled community at large.

andrew’s talk was terrific, the turnout was great and i am tempted to get more lecture opportunities in front of groups like the boston faith and justice network on andrew’s slate. if you have reflections on the talk that took place during the meeting or over drinks after, please share.

in lighter news, on wednesday morning i asked the twitterverse “how long will it take me to offend the doctrinaire liberals who attend leadboston?” the answer, dear readers, is 40 minutes.

during group introduction time, in which we were asked to provide name, vocation and an unexpected fact about ourselves i said something like the following: “my name is jeff gentry. i work with triangle, an organization that empowers people with disabilities and their families throughout eastern massachusetts. the funny fact about me is that i was introduced to my current line of work while participating in an alleged felony that ultimately did not lead to a conviction, but to a career.” as soon as i said the word felony, i spied an emphatic grimace on our facilitator’s face and knew that i was going to have a story to tell at cocktail hour.

Social Justice and Eschatology

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm

when i applied to leadboston i had to answer an essay question concerning “what issues seem essential to advancing social justice in boston today?”

at first glance, this question seemed like a gimme since i have been aware of social injustice and have been attempting to act in ways that i think are just for quite some time. but the more i thought about it, the more thorny the question became. what is the world that social justice is trying to call into being? it’s definitely not that. but what is it? the Kingdom of God? a western democratic system in which everyone shares my ability to consume until their heart is content and meet their perceived individualized needs and desires? a libertarian state in which the safety of the other is protected and no other guidance is provided?

it seems to me that pursuing social justice requires more than a hint of a developed eschatology. other than a strong desire to see “the redemption of all things” and a deep longing for a new heaven and a new earth that is matched only by my lack of comprehension about what that will look like, my eschatology is amorphous, amillenial, a thing i don’ t often consider.

i probably should so something about that.

what about you? as you act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God, what world are you trying to call into being?

Confession

In Uncategorized on September 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm

as ridiculous as it is i have to be tolerant of tebow’s haircut because i have pondered the same do in the past (after watching brother sun and sister moon in catholic school, when considering putting on a show with my own (now dead) gubbio, etc.) but for a fear of male pattern baldness goes me.

i’m still reading duncan’s the brothers k and it continues to amaze. hardly a page goes by without a word of wisdom or quotable quote. one of my recent favorites: “to defy the God of Progress is often to marry the Goddess of Poverty.” that’s a good word for heavily leveraged liberal arts students with a commitment to social justice, progressive church planters and the like.

as much as i would like to confess otherwise, i am an intensely emotional baseball fan. i would far prefer to be analytic, ready to W.H.I.P. out the stats at any moment and contrast my spreadsheets with keith law. but that shit just ain’t the truth. i live and die with the laundry and facts, while not completely disregarded, are far from the foundation of my fandom. recently i’ve felt like my approach to christianity is similar and that, frankly, scares the shit out of me.

i’ve been walking around with tears in my eyes all day. i’d love to believe that means, like buechner oft suggests, that i am a little closer to the hidden and holy heart of all things, but i suspect that i am only exhausted.

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