Mike Cope's blog

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy new year, friends. Prospero ano y felicidad. I'll launch 2005 with a gift to you. Put in your bookmark this website: Larry James's brand new blog. As you know, Larry is a good friend and has been a powerful influence in my life. At times he's a blessing I eagerly receive. At other times he a pest I just can't seem to ignore. Like most middle-class Americans, I can too easily get wrapped up in my own comfortable world. It's easy to fight for policies that benefit the middle (and upper) class. And it's frighteningly easy just to ignore the poor, writing them off as people who are chronic underachievers. Just for a taste of what's to come, here is his entry today: Who can comprehend the eruption of power and the sheer force that sent the most devastating tsunami in history streaking across the Indian Ocean at jetliner speed on Christmas night? The energy shifted the geographic position of an island, moved the axis of the entire earth and generated walls of water that stole life from over 200,000 people by the time the final toll is known. Possibly it is my age, but I no longer ask "Why?" when something like this occurs. My mind turns more naturally to "What now?" One fact is clear: our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world need our help with the basics--water, shelter, food, medical care and most of all hope. All cost. If you would like to help, check out the websites of these organizations: Oxfam http://www.oxfamamerica.org World Vision http://www.WorldVision.org UNICEF http://www.unicef.org Each of these well-managed assistance and development agencies has a long and respectable history of delivering relief, compassion and hope to suffering people. Begin 2005 by reaching out to someone you likely will never meet, but who will be forever grateful for your care. Compassion, raw, human compassion may be the only force more powerful than even an earthquake like this one.


  • Here's another entry from Larry:

    Forty-five million Americans have no health insurance.

    We've heard it so often that we accept it as normal and even acceptable. Our problem is we seldom have reason to bring the statistical reality into our personal experience. Low-income, working Americans deal with this harsh fact on a daily basis.

    Consider for a moment what it means for a father like "Charlie," who works over 40 hours every week. He comes home to a wife of fifteen years and three children. He earns less than $10 an hour. His employer provides no benefits--no health insurance for him or his family.

    When one of his children gets sick, Charlie's choices are limited. He or his wife can take the child to one of the neighborhood for-profit clinics (read "Doc in a box"), if he can scrape together the money. Or, the child can be taken to the emergency room at a local hospital. Here the wait is long, the cost of care is the highest and, because there is no insurance coverage, the bill for services most likely must be written off as a loss by the hospital.

    Add to the family's health care burden the fact that Charlie is diabetic and recently has had severe bouts with kidney stones. Thanks to his uninsured status, the treatment protocol at the local hospital ER is to treat his symptoms with pain medication and antibiotics. He has never been admitted to the hospital for proper care for only one reason: he is poor and cannot pay for the treatment he needs. Adequate testing would reveal that his kidney function is deteriorating.

    Charlie's earning power makes the regular purchase of insulin and testing equipment sporadic at best. The entire system, as Charlie knows it, is unfair, inefficient and immoral. His choices are limited at best.

    Still, he gets up every morning and goes to work like all good fathers do. No doubt Charlie will die too young and suffer needlessly because the current system is so shaped by free market forces that his needs cannot be met.

    Health care is not considered a human right in America today. Rather, it is fast becoming a privilege reserved for the wealthy. Just ask Charlie and the other 45 million in our nation who face some of the same harsh, unjust challenges.

    "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31 (NIV)

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/01/2005 01:20:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the link Mike. Wow! What a powerful writer and compassionate man. I'll definatley be adding Larry's blog to my list of must reads. Thanks for spurring me on to action. By the way, I just reread One Holy Hunger. I thank God for putting people like you on the planet. You're challenging, comforting and encouraging...thank you for continually pointing me back to God.

    By Blogger Niki, at 1/01/2005 03:21:00 PM  

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