Up & Coming Weekly

October 31, 2017

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/894958

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 48

6 UCW NOVEMBER 1 - 7, 2017 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Much of my writing and speaking address what might be seen as the failings of American society. Among these failings are poverty, troublingly high crime rates, rapidly disappearing standards of morality, a political system out of control and tremendous racial and economic tensions. By no means is this a complete list. Part of what wears on me – scares me – is that the solutions applied to the myriad failings are, far too often, destruc- tive rather than helpful. In the face of this reality, I struggle to hear from God as to what he would have me do by way of contributing to turning this tide of helping, which keeps proving destructive instead of productive. My thought that efforts to help often prove destructive is not a w idely ack nowledged or ac- cepted premise. Consequently, a recent experi- ence was unexpected and shocked me almost beyond belief. My w ife is a marriage and family therapist. at means she attends a good many conferences. W hen she is in a generous mood, I get inv ited to tag along – to freeload. My latest inv ite was for a trip to Nashv ille, Tennessee. She was staying at the Gaylord Opr yland Resort & Conference Center, which is w ithin easy walk ing distance of the Grand Ole Opr y. e resort pro- v ides a shuttle to dow ntow n Nashv ille. I planned to go to the Opr y, eat barbecue dow ntow n and enjoy the resort amenities. at plan went well until my wife came in one night and told me she had met some people she wanted me to meet. ey were in the exhibit area sharing information regarding their nonprofit. Meeting these people, or even going to the confer- ence, was not in my plan. Denise, my wife, was excited and told me I had to meet these people. In the interest of peace in my marriage and not jeopardizing future freeloading opportunities, I agreed to meet the couple. ey were Meredith and Rob Kendall, who lead Renewing the Mind Network. eir brochure states, in part: "RTMS has grown nationally and is used to help men and women conquer the pain, anger and anxiet y from their past and write a new stor y founded in Christ." e 180 Program is a division of Renewing the Mind Network. It was because of the 180 Program that Denise said I had to meet this couple. Foundational to this program is e New Beginnings Study that, ac- cording to a brochure, "leads students to identif y, understand and overcome the thoughts, feelings, behaviors and patterns that are the root cause of their negative cycles." e New Beginnings Study covers these top- ics: job readiness; Budgeting 101; relationships; parenting; and leadership. What I find encourag- ing is that these topics are presented in a fashion that addresses the causes of poverty and other societal ills. For example, there is no doubt that less-than- adequate parenting can contribute to the perpetuation of a generational cycle of poverty. is description is given for the parenting section: "Parenting is a four-week study for the student to learn that their actions and attitudes impact their children and focuses on directing the heart of the child and not merely gaining obedient behavior." My constant argument, my lament, is that we, as a nation, do not seriously look for the causes of conditions that are indicative of our failings as a society. Instead, we put programs and efforts in place that feel good and seem right but do little or no good. In fact, when it comes to address- ing poverty and some other challenges, societal actions, especially those of governments, are destructive. When I met Rob and Meredith, Rob started making this point; I knew Denise was right to insist that I meet these people. Rob talked, Meredith monitored, and I listened. I walked away with a "180 Sample Book" and Rob's book, "Breaking the Broken: Debunking the Myth of Social Justice." Please go to w w w.youtube.com/ watch?v=L1PK10z2AvI and view Rob Kendall be- ing interviewed by Monica Schmelter regarding his book. Talking with Kendall and reading "Breaking the Broken" has provided some relief now that I realize I am not alone in my thinking about the lack of effectiveness of most social programs. Talking about their previous efforts to help the poor, he writes, "Our service to the poor had been counterproductive. We were making things worse and adding to their struggle. We were actu- ally breaking the broken. Tr ying to make some- one more comfortable in a life that is falling apart isn't really helping." erein is the point. Regarding povert y, look at all the programs that have been put in place. Many studies have taken on this task. Several that I looked at contend some programs are help- ful; however, the overall effect is not impressive by any means. In a 2014 article titled "Paul Ryan's Audit of Federal Anti-Poverty Programs Finds Many Are Actually Very Effective," Igor Volsky wrote regard- ing an assessment by the House Budget Commit- tee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-W.I. Here is some of what Volsky wrote: The assessment, which is designed to k ick off his campaign to revamp federal welfare programs, broadly characterizes federal aid as counterproductive and ineffective. Ryan arg ues t hat federal programs have contributed to t he nation's high povert y rate and 'created what's k now n as t he povert y trap.' The report arg ues, "Federal programs are not only failing to address t he problem. They are also in some signif icant respects mak ing it worse." Volsk y then says, "Ryan's own analysis points out, numerous progressive-minded spending programs have helped millions of Americans and significantly reduced the nation's povert y rate. Below are 16 examples from Ryan's own report of how the government can help lower-income Americans make ends meet." He lists 16 pro- grams. I find it revealing that the first program on the list of 16 is the Veterans Health Administra- tion. He is talking about the VA. Given all that has happened with that organization, I hardly think it should be held up as effective. Our goal should be ensuring that actions intended to help do help. e 180 Program brochure says that "Only 33 percent of inmates remain out of jail/prison more than three years." Regarding inmates who participate in the pro- gram, the brochure states, "76 percent of inmates remain out of jail/prison more than three years." e 33 percent statistic also appears in a 2014 report by the National Institute of Justice. e information here clearly shows the 180 Program to be ver y effective. American governments at ever y level, especial- ly the federal, are in the business of passing out money and in-kind support to citizens in povert y and other dire circumstances. Rob Kendall and congressman Paul Ryan are totally correct in say- ing, for the most part, these efforts do not move people to some higher level of living. ey are made more comfortable in their difficult, chal- lenging circumstance. Kendall contends we should be about ensur- ing t hat people have resources, opportunities, instruction/work and relationships. This is not t he approach of government, or of most efforts, to help people overcome povert y or ot her life challenges. I encourage A mericans to face t he fact t hat ver y litt le of what our societ y is doing to help people is prov ing effective. As stated above, we are mak ing life even worse for many people who are supposedly being helped. Meredit h and Rob Kendall are offering an effective approach – God's approach. My call is for serious examination of what t hey offer. It is different, and we desperately need a different approach. Producing destruction when helping is intended by KARL MERRITT OPINION KARL MERRITT, Columnist. COM- MENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. (910) 484-6200.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - October 31, 2017