Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fair Debt Collection Practices

The Federal Trade Commission has information on its website about  fair debt collection practices--

Debt Collection
File a Complaint if you are being harassed by a debt collector

If your municipality has turned over your fine to a debt collection agency that then charges you exorbitant interest rates, court costs and legal fees, know that you are not alone.  Unfortunately, many citizens are caught in the same situation.  The injustice of this practice is galvanizing opposition against it, and calls for reform are growing louder.  This is a systemic evil that keeps people trapped in poverty, not an individual failing on your part, and it requires a systemic reform through political action.

Efforts to reform municipal court debt collection practices in Missouri are already underway.  For the sake of the least of these, I pray that these efforts will be successful and will set an example that the rest of the states follow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Municipal Violations

If you've read John Wesley biographies, then you know that as a graduate student Wesley ministered to those in debtors prison.  That ministry took many forms including preaching, Bible study, offering the sacraments, prayer, and raising funds to secure a prisoner's release.

The US has its own form of debtors prison, and as Wesleyans we can draw inspiration from our founder's example and work with organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center to protect people from excesses fines for minor violations.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

How to Pray

Prayer advice from E. Stanley Jones:

1. First of all, have the prayer hour

Sacredly keep it.  Build the habits of your life around that prayer hour.  Make things fit into it, not it into things.

2. In the beginning of the prayer hour be silent.

Let your mind relax and let it roam across your life to see whether it stops at anything wrong.  If so, tell God you will right it.  Let the first moment be a sincere moral search.  If nothing is shown to be wrong, then, "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God."  We are ready for bold praying.

3.  Bathe your thought in the Word.

God's Word will wash the dust from your eyes.  Then you will see, have insight.  You will get right attitudes through the Word, so you will pray right prayers.  You are pulling your thoughts up alongside of His thought, your purposes up to His purposes.

4. Take a pen or pencil with you and write down what comes to you as you pore over the Word.

That pen is the sign of your faith that something will come.  And it will. Don't hurry through that Word.  Every word is precious.  Pause, assimilate.  When a man hurries through a wood, he sees few birds or animals.  They hide.  But if he sits down and waits, then they come out.  It will be so with you.

5. Take obedience with you into that hour.

You will know as much of God, and only as much of God, as you are willing to put into practice!  For God will answer many of your prayers -- through you.