Heard some staggering statistics yesterday. In South Carolina 50% of the births are to unwed mothers. In Sumter County, the percentage rises to nearly 70%! What? And what is equally amazing is where I heard the figures - in a happenstance visit with an obstetrician who probably is in her late 70's, and yet who is mounting her own campaign to address this social delimna.
In retrospect, I don't know which had more of an impact on me, the high number of children growing up without a father figure, or the social concern of Dr. B. As for the first, Dr. B. says we talk about a lot of social issues, truancy, gangs, high cime rate, number of males in prison, number of children living in poverty, etc., but we don't talk about the etiology (the causes), because it isn't politically correct. The truth is that we need to put emphasis and incentives into encouraging and preserving stable families. She recommended a 1995 book by David Blankenhorn, Jr. titled Fatherless America (which I have ordered.) How do yo even begin to address this?
Now, for the greater impact, this successful doctor, well into retirement, has a heart for "the least of these." She spoke to a state newspaper reporter about all this and the reporter questioned her statistics. So she went to the state agencies and researched it on her own. She's spoken to several representatives and state senators, and even the governor, trying to highlight the concern. And locally she has been connecting with male African American role models who "can give her insight to the causes."
I left that chance encounter inspired. I personally am not feeling like Elijah, who in his depression complained to the Lord "The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword, and I am the only one left." (1 Kings 19). But I did think of the Lord's response to Elijah, reminding him that thousands were still faithful. And I thought of Dr. B. as one of God's thousands, with faithful eyes to see what Christ might see, an open heart to care, a sharp mind to seek truth and answers, and the courage to believe she can make a difference. In many amazing ways the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us.