Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peter Dreier brings "A Tale of Two Cities" to the Rector's Forum

Sunday, January 9th 10:15 a.m.

I’ll never forget an “ah-ha! experience” I had during a speech three years ago.

Professor Peter Dreier was addressing the widening economic gap in Pasadena. He rested his entire moral argument on his understanding of Hebrew Scripture. Here was a distinguished Professor of Politics and director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College in Los Angeles, someone who for three decades had been involved in urban policy as a scholar, a government official, a journalist, and an advocate for reform. Here was a lay person who worships regularly in his synagogue with his wife and twin daughters, recalling that his own Jewish tradition (which constitutes the moral foundation of Jesus' ministry) says it is immoral for people of means to turn their backs on people who are poor. Here was a lay person courageously calling for moral leadership and integrity based on what he had learned in his own faith community.

Now Professor Dreier has analyzed the U.S. Census Bureau data released last year. His analysis reveals startling news about Pasadena: the number of affluent residents is spiraling upward while the number of families with low and modest incomes is shrinking. The data reveal that Pasadena is one of the most unequal cities in California.

I hope that you will join me this coming Sunday, January 9, in the Rector’s Forum at 10:15 a.m. to hear this scholar who grounds his academic analysis in a dynamic understanding of the moral imperatives of his own Jewish tradition. I want you to join me in re-awakening to our own moral responsibilities as we begin our journey of 2011 in alignment with the values of Jesus.

Please come and bring friends. And if you cannot be with us on Sunday, watch the live video stream of the Forum here at 10:15.

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