About Street Psalms: "Equipping for Good"


Our Mission

Street Psalms is a resource center for life-giving perspectives and practices that sustain those who engage in transformation among the urban poor.

 

Our vision

Our dream is to see missional communities in cities around the world equipped to make tangible the vision of Jesus expressed in his first public address:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor...

to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

(Luke 4:18-19)

 

Opportunity

Street Psalms recognizes the most powerful and renewable resource in high-risk communities resides within the communities themselves – the web of people, relationships and institutions that sustain the life of the community. The critical need is to recognize, network and train indigenous leaders to activate these resources in a sustainable way.

Unfortunately, the leaders who are closest to the needs are often overlooked and overwhelmed. They do not receive the encouragement or training they desperately need. As a result, high-risk communities are vulnerable to well-meaning but unsustainable solutions that are foreign and artificially imposed. Solutions that are not owned and led by the communities themselves suffer along with the people. They fail to experience transformation from the inside out.

Therefore, Street Psalms is committed to offering affordable and accessible training that inspires and equips indigenous leaders to be agents of transformation in the context of chronic poverty and violence.


Our Values

Our core values are shaped by the life of Jesus Christ. We understand the story of Jesus to be the full unveiling of God’s presence among us, the full expression of God’s saving action for all creation, and the purest revelation of what it means to be human. This story of the incarnation of Jesus calls forth and sustains a people with particular ways of life in the world.

People

We gather and equip grassroots leaders who typically are marginalized misfits and overlooked one-offs. From such quirky stock we are formed as missional communities profoundly centered and mutually supported in our commitment to serve among those most vulnerable in society.    

Perspective

We see from below. We do theology from below, reading the Bible with the excluded and damned.  We practice spirituality from below, together learning to see and celebrate good news in hard places. We share a spirituality of imperfection that delights in the Spirit’s dance among awkwardness and disarray.

Place

Cities are our classroom, parish, and playground. We recognize the global, urban and postmodern forces that shape the cityscapes in which we live and serve. We eagerly lean into the challenges and opportunities we see emerging in our urbanizing world.

Prayer

We are contemplative activists, and active contemplatives. All of our work is an attentive act of prayer, whether in the bustle of street life or in the quiet inner room of the soul. “Lord, teach us to pray.”

Pain

We recognize our own pain and the pain of others as the primary gateway of transformation.  We are wounded healers; we recognize that if we do not transform our experience of pain, we will transmit it. The way of the cross demands disorientation and loss on the way to renewal and life, both for individuals and communities.

Practice

We embrace asset-based approaches to personal growth and social change. We begin with God’s exuberant Yes rather than the world’s dismal No. We are continually amazed by the overlooked and neglected vitality to be tapped in unlikely contexts, and seek to employ emerging tools for unleashing such energy.

Peacemaking

We are blessed to be peacemakers, seeking a true center that holds in a fractured, unjust, and violent world. We are committed to unmasking and unplugging from the mechanisms of violence (physical, spiritual, emotional) within ourselves, as well as in those people and places we serve.  We explore and model real-world alternatives to violence—“beloved communities” of justice and embrace.

Preaching

We follow the tradition of St. Francis who said, “Preach the Word always, and only when necessary use words.”  Our commitment to the preached word is grounded in our deep trust that true words transform the world when spoken, acted, or even held silently in love.  The world, especially the most vulnerable among us, is hungry for daring, holy and humble speech that bears witness to the reality of God’s mercy and grace.  

Poetry

We enjoy lyrical and poetic language as we seek the Word of God among us, retell stories of grace, and express good news. We listen for the music among us and around us. Our taste is more jazz than classical—informal, communal, conversational, coming in and from the margins to influence the center.

Play

Amid the monumental challenges of our contexts, our worst mistake is taking ourselves too seriously. Humor is a staple of our life. We risk; we fail; we laugh together with God at our fumblings. Wonder and curiosity take us around the next bend of our journey, and joy will carry us home.


 "It takes grace to see grace" - Karl Barth

 Standing by an open sewer in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum

Standing by an open sewer in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum



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