Several weeks ago we were privileged to be a part of the Blue Zones Project Fort Worth’s “TransFORTmation” campaign. The first You Tube video became available this morning. We couldn’t wait the share it with you. It was perfect timing as always – #GivingTuesday!
I sat down to check emails before I wrote this. I was astounded by the volume of emails I received about Giving Tuesday. I sat down to write this and, if I’m honest, I wondered if Opal’s Farm email or post would even be read today. We’d be just another one of many organizations working to make our world just a bit better. So many options…
We can’t compete with the big NGOs or service organizations. We are a small but growing (no pun intended) urban farm seeking to bring fresh, healthy food to folks that often don’t have it available. We simply believe that an urban farm can change lives and build community. Our five-acre farm makes a difference!
I could give you all the reasons you need to choose Unity Unlimited, Inc. and Opal’s Farm on this special day of giving. I won’t bore you with all the statistics and needs. I’ll just let you know that every dollar you give today is doubled, matched dollar for dollar. We need your help more than ever as we expand our growing area to reach more of your neighbors.
So please push the donate button right now or go the www.unityunlimited.org/opalsfarm to make your secure Giving Tuesday contribution. When you’ve done that come out and join us at Opal’s Farm and see how your contribution is making Fort Worth a better place – one neighborhood at a time.
I need to confess something. I skipped the traditional Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboy game. I ate more than I should have yesterday, especially the desserts. Although our Thanksgiving celebration was small, a couple of the kids and a few good friends, there was an overabundance of food. We all ate until our tummies were full and then added a tad more for insurance. I trust many of you did the same. Unfortunately, many of your neighbors did not.
Most of us don’t deal with food insecurity. We hop in the car and head to the grocery store. The option for healthy eating habits with lots fresh fruits and vegetables have a wide array to choose from. We make our selections and go home. That’s not the case for many of our neighbors right here in Tarrant County.
According to the Taste Project, “In the state of Texas alone food insecurity is higher than the national average at 17 percent. In Fort Worth’s Tarrant county community food insecurity is at 18.1 percent. That is 2.7 percent above the national average covering a total of 340,620 people who are food insecure” (italics mine). Those 340,260 people can’t guarantee they will have enough to eat today. Thanksgiving for them is often a reminder how precarious their situation is.
The mission of Opal’s Farm is to end food insecurity in Tarrant County, one neighborhood at a time. Everyone has the right to healthy food no matter where they live. If they can’t get to the store, we bring the grocery store to them. Moreover, we seek to educate our often-neglected neighbors in the preparation and health benefits of nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. We believe in a three-prong approach to ending hunger in Fort Worth:
Through growing organic fresh produce on our five-acre farm and bringing it to affected neighborhoods.
Through education programs such for children and adults that let everyone know how important a healthy diet is, how prepare fresh food, and how to develop their own farming skills to offer a hand up, not just a hand-out.
Through employment and job training, especially for those who have difficulty finding employment due to previous felony incarceration or other life-altering events.
If you’d like to join our mission, we have a golden opportunity this coming Tuesday. Facebook announced that it will provide matching contributions for much of what is donated on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019.
That means you dollar doubled and has a greater impact for Opal’s Farm. Imagine one seed becoming, one meal becoming two, and each family fed becoming two families fed. Most importantly, those people may be the people down the street of next door to you. Every dollar stays in Fort Worth!
Please plan your donation today and make your donation on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd, and join us on our mission.
Thoughts From the Porch: A gorgeous Fall day greeted me this
morning as I stepped out on the porch. Every day is gorgeous in my mind, but
this morning was especially bright and inviting. My “porch time” has included an
email series I’ve been receiving from the Center for Action and Contemplation.
I’ve always appreciated Father Richard Rohr and I hope you will appreciate
today’s meditation as well.
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
From the Center for Action and Contemplation
Old and New
The Gospel Economy
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Jesus said to the host who had
invited him, “When you hold a lunch or dinner . . . invite the poor, the
crippled, the lame, the blind; and blessed indeed will you be because of their
inability to repay you.” —Luke
I’d like to begin this week’s meditations
by contrasting two economies or worldviews. The first economy is capitalism,
which is based on quid pro quo, reward and punishment thinking, and a
retributive notion of justice. This much service or this much product requires
this much payment or this much reward. It soon becomes the entire (and I do mean entire!) frame for
all of life, our fundamental relationships (even marriage and children), basic
self-image (“I deserve; you owe me; or I will be good and generous if it helps
me, too”), and a faulty foundation for our relationship with God.
We’ve got to admit, this system of
exchange seems reasonable to almost everybody today. And if we’re honest, it
makes sense to us, too. It just seems fair. The only trouble is, Jesus doesn’t
believe it at all, and he’s supposed to be our spiritual teacher. This might
just be at the heart of what we mean by real conversion to the Gospel
worldview, although few seem to have recognized this.
Let’s contrast this “meritocracy,”
punishment/reward economy—basic capitalism which we in the United States all
drink in with our mother’s milk—with what Jesus presents, which I’m going to
call a gift economy.  In a gift economy, there is
no equivalence between what we give and how much we get. Now I know we’re all
squirming. We don’t like it, because we feel we’ve worked hard to get to our
wonderful middle-class positions or wherever we are. We feel we have rights.
I admit that this position
satisfies the logical mind. At the same time, if we call ourselves Christians,
we have to deal with the actual Gospel. Now the only way we can do the great
turnaround and understand this is if we’ve lived through at least one
experience of being
given to without earning.
It’s called forgiveness, unconditional love, and mercy. If we’ve never
experienced unearned, undeserved love, we will stay in the capitalist worldview
where 2 + 2 = 4. I put in my 2, I get my 2 back. But we still remain very
unsure, if not angry, about any free health care (physical, mental, or
spiritual) or even free education, even though these benefits can be seen as
natural human rights that support and sustain peoples’ humanity. All too often,
we only want people like us to get free health care and education and bail outs.
Brothers and sisters, you and I
don’t “deserve” anything, anything. It’s all a gift. But until we begin to live
in the kingdom of God instead of the kingdoms of this world, we think, as most
Christians do, exactly like the world. We like the world of seemingly logical
equations. Basically, to understand the Gospel in its purity and in its
transformative power, we
have to stop counting, measuring, and weighing. We have to stop saying “I deserve” and deciding who does not deserve.
None of us “deserve”! Can we do that? It’s pretty hard . . . unless we’ve experienced
infinite mercy and realize that it’s
all a gift.
Gateway to Presence: If you want to go deeper with today’s
meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back
to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and
 “A gift economy, gift culture, or gift exchange is a mode of
exchange where valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an
explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. This contrasts with a
barter economy or a market economy, where goods and services are primarily
exchanged for value received. Social norms and customs govern gift exchange.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy)
“Jesus wasn’t executed because he went around healing people; he was crucified as the worst kind of criminal because his Gospel message was viewed as dangerous by the ruling class. In fact, the entire Gospel of Luke is one long lesson in speaking truth to power—to the corrupt elite in Jerusalem. If we Christians claim to have anything to do with Jesus, then we must inherently be engaged with the political issues of our time.” – Peter Armstrong