As a follow-up to my last post on John Perkins, founder of the the Christian Community Development Association . . . This week (September 11-14) the CCDA is holding its 25th annual conference in New Orleans. The theme is Cultivate: to foster growth; to tend, prepare and improve. Among the featured speakers are Michelle Alexander, Leroy Barber, Father Greg Boyle, and Barbara Williams-Skinner.
Here’s their description of this year’s event:
For a quarter of a century CCDA has proclaimed this passage by word and deed. Men and women across the country and around the world have been given grace, and in turn, together offer Good News to the poor. We live in under-resourced neighborhoods, challenge racism, represent and present the love of Jesus, and involve ourselves in issues of justice. As a result, life is cultivated in the hearts of the poor and in devastated places “bestowing crowns of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:3
The cultivated ones – “the planting” – who are identified as “Oaks of Righteousness”, display the splendor, beauty, grace, and power of the Lord. They are being renewed by the Spirit and are endowed with spiritual power to further cultivate hope and change, reclaiming our wasted cities.
We must cultivate these “Oaks of Righteousness” because Isaiah 61:4 is clear, “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”