Mary Nelson is president emeritus of Bethel New Life, a faith-based community development corporation on the West Side of Chicago. She has served on the board and as Interim Executive Director for the Parliament of the World’s Religions for the last four years. She is also the former chair of the board of Sojourners.
Posts By This Author
The Mother Who Hated Nukes and Loved the Lord
“Why did you, American Mother of the Year, commit civil disobedience in front of the Trident nuclear submarine?” a reporter asked the white haired, 78-year-old woman as she left the courthouse.
The woman, accused of being in a little boat blocking a nuclear submarine, answered without a moment’s hesitation.
“I did it for the children of the world,” she said.
Extremes Stretch One’s Faith, Then Leave Us With Hope
“Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit, revives my soul again.”
So where does this revival come? Often when we looked at a dilapidated building in our community, the revival comes with the eyes to see the possibilities of rehabbing, of new uses. The revival comes in community, in coming together to take action. There is nothing like some music and food, too, to bind us together.
Health-Care Reform is a Life and Death Issue
Push, not Protest, for a Budget with Better Priorities
Hope and Action in Hard Times
Remembering Millard Fuller
Lift Every Voice
Chicago Sit-in Victory: 'Yes We Can'
A Different Economic Measure: Quality of Life and an Economic Bill of Rights
Our Children's 'Audacity of Hope'
Campaign Community Organizers as the Foundation for Future Change
Post-racial? No, Not Yet -- So Let's Get to Work
Humpty Dumpty Falls off Wall Street
In Money We Trust
New Study on Abortion Reduction
The heated abortion debate has up to this time been focused on legal measures. A new study commissioned by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good concludes that government social spending and economic conditions do more to reduce abortions than legal strategies such as parental consent laws.
Joseph Wright (Penn State University) and Michael Bailey's (Georgetown University) examined the dramatic drop in [...]
"Don't shoot -- I want to grow up," read the protest sign an 11-year-old boy held in the wake of 30-plus shootings of Chicago schoolchildren this school year. The Supreme Court's recent assertion of the individual's right to own a gun for self-defense stands in sharp contrast to the anguished pleas of the father of one of the schoolchildren to stop the tragic gun deaths in our community, and to get rid of the guns so available on our streets. His pleas reminded me of Jeremiah's [...]
A Better Answer to High Fuel Prices
Recently, both President Bush and an oil company spokesperson, speaking to the rising gas prices, pushed for building more refineries and upping the production of oil here in the States. No mention of exorbitant oil company profits. No mention of our need to drastically reduce use of cars and gasoline, to change lifestyles. No mention of the working poor who are stuck without public transportation to jobs remote from their inner-city or inner-ring suburban homes.
Reducing dependence [...]
Fighting Recidivism with Resurrection
On Easter Sunday sermons about new life and transformation, resurrection and redemption abound. At our church we celebrated the baptism of a young man living in a half way house and doing work-release in our community. The genuine hugs and welcome from the mostly black congregation for this young white man were warm and genuine. One church member sponsors work release, another church member picks up the four to five who come for events and church, and this young man felt touched by God in [...]