Jeff Haanen

“So, last year I was initiated into a secret society of sorts, one that is baffling and somewhat overwhelming: it’s called the swim meet. All of my four kids swim, and this year, we had three kids competing for the Ben Franklin Fish. Let me describe these Saturdays to you. There are more kids running around than there are ants. Goggles, swim caps, heating, music, concessions, and wall-to-wall lawn chairs and tents to endure the 8 hour Saturdays outside. I never thought I’d be that parent, but this year, we actually went the night before to set up our 10’ x 10’ tent and lawn chairs to claim our real estate at the swim meet. I am that parent

One day, our kids were competing at Cherry Knolls and Kelly set up our tent in a high traffic area. This made me nervous. I’m an introvert. And so heat, noise, and tons of people make me want to run away and find a large shade tree and a book. And so, several weeks ago, between kid races, that’s what I did. I sat under a tree, and read a book called Our Kids by Robert Putnam. In this book, Putnam tells to story of two kids: Chelsea and David…”

I recently gave a sermon on the topic of justice at my home church. The sermon text was Proverbs 29:7. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” I chose the text because Putnam referenced it in his haunting and masterful book. After reading Our Kids I thought: am I one of the righteous who care about justice for the poor, or am I one of the wicked who have no such concern?

Here’s the sermon:


Would love to hear your thoughts if you have the chance to listen to it.


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