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The Staying Power of Focus
Allan Tibbels and his all-White family moved into a thoroughly African American neighborhood on Baltimore’s west side. There he embarked on an ambitious effort to reverse the run-down image of “Sandtown,” and to face the crime, poverty, and vacant housing problems head on. His faith, courage, and resolve just keep on rolling.

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Grace Matters, 2009

March

  • March 8, 2009
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    Allan Tibbels – The Staying Power of Focus
    Luke 21:19

    Allan Tibbels does not have a particularly memorable job description title for the important work he does, so host Peter Marty gives him one – urban renewal enthusiast. Tibbels and his all-White family moved into a thoroughly African American neighborhood on Baltimore’s west side. There he embarked with others on an ambitious effort to reverse the run-down image of “Sandtown,” and to face the crime, poverty, and vacant housing problems head on. Tibbels literally rolled into Sandtown two decades ago on a wheelchair. His faith, courage, and resolve just keep on rolling.

     
  • March 1, 2009
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    Don Johnson – Loneliness
    Luke 22:39-46

    The Native American community is often lost from our immediate consciousness. Either relegated to an American past of unjust treatment or to an insignificant present in today’s population base, Native peoples are not well understood or recognized. Don Johnson has an insider’s vantage point that we need to hear. This chaplain to Native American communities is also executive director of the Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots U.S. He joins the program to talk about many facets of life for Native peoples, including a spiritual loneliness.

February

  • February 22, 2009
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    Christine Grumm – A Hard Look at Poverty for Women
    The Book of Ruth

    Christine Grumm is president and CEO of the Women's Funding Network, more than 130 organizations devoted to assisting women around the globe. She is a change agent who goes after critical areas of need from combating poverty to achieving advances in health care, education and human rights. Host Peter Marty talks with Christine about the state of women in the world today, and why women bear the brunt of poverty in most nations.

     

  • February 15, 2009
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    Terence Fretheim – God’s Forever Promises to Abraham
    Genesis 12:1-9

    In a world fractured by religious wars, Abraham could be something of a unifying figure. He is central to the world’s three major religions, a defining player in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Twelve million Jews, at least 1 billion Muslims, and 2 billion Christians position the roots of their faith around his name. So who was Abraham? What exactly constituted his relationship with God? What were God’s promises to Abraham all about? Old Testament scholar Terry Fretheim is special guest on this edition of Grace Matters.
     

  • February 8, 2009
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    Tom Stoner – Sacred Green Spaces
    Revelation 4:11

    Tom Stoner and his wife Kitty do interesting work. They head up a foundation that commits dollars and energy to creating sacred green spaces. Many of these spaces take shape in urban landscapes where vacant lots get reclaimed, drug addicts get moved along, and plants, trees, and water replace concrete rubble. They are spiritually driven people who feel a priority in helping others center their lives in God. It’s quite a story of peace, hope, and civic commitment.
     

  • February 1, 2009
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    Elizabeth Marquardt – Children and the Painful Consequences of Divorce
    Mark 10:2-12

    It is not uncommon to hear divorced couples speaking admirably of their children’s resilience in coping with their own separate lives. Whether it is over confidence, guilt, or a desire to believe that one’s own kids are exceptional in this regard, we cannot know the different forces that guide parents to speak like this, but author Elizabeth Marquardt calls much of it “happy talk” – talk that denies the very painful consequences that go with every divorce. Host Peter Marty reflects on the spiritual side of this pain.

January

  • January 25, 2009
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    Wayne Messmer – Finding Release From Hatred
    Revelation 21:5

    Wayne Messmer has quite a story to tell. This professional singer and broadcaster was shot at point blank range in the throat one night during a bungled robbery attempt. His vocal cords survived, as did his life and spirit. Through an amazing act of courage and faith, Messmer later found his way to the prison where his assailant was doing time. What happened there is a testimony to the dissolution of hate when one understands life as a supreme gift of God.
     

  • January 18, 2009
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    Catherine Wallace – The Perplexity of Choice
    Deuteronomy 30:19

    Most people will admit that we live in an age when a barrage of choices keep assaulting our lives. Bombarded by choice, we are forced continually to reevaluate our identities. We repeatedly must remember or figure out exactly who we are. Living in this confounded way rarely feels good. It fragments and divides up our lives. Catherine Wallace, a social historian and free-lance writer, joins this edition of Grace Matters to wrestle with the perplexity of choice in our modern world.
     

  • January 11, 2009
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    Jacob Needleman – Your Relationship With Money
    Matthew 6:19-21

    It is a strange phenomenon to equate happiness with having money, especially since having more money (at least beyond a certain point) rarely makes people more happy. Jacob Needleman has a philosopher’s mind for thinking about the subject of money. Clearly, the pervasive inability among Americans to take money more seriously, and to talk about money with true honesty, distresses this San Francisco State University professor. Here is a program that gets to the heart of our relationship with money.
     

  • January 4, 2009
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    Ralston Deffenbaugh – A Refugee Named Jesus
    Exodus 23:9

    Ralston (“Ralie”) Deffenbaugh knows his way around immigration issues. He is a first-rate lawyer who understands the intricacies of immigration law. But more importantly, for the past 17 years, he has been president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a vantage point for getting inside the hopes and heartaches of refugees and immigrants around the world. In these times of contentious debate over how to handle immigration reform in America, Deffenbaugh has some wise and faith-inspired words to think about with special freshness about the subject.
 

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