Ben White's Adventures with softened hearts

Philadelphia Schools and Judas’ Kiss

meandmuralistsIt’s Maundy Thursday, I’ll spend the evening washing feet.  I spent the morning getting paint on my hands at GW Childs School.  The two go together for me.  Maundy is an old word that comes from the Latin mandatum which means “command or order.”  It refers to   the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples after washing their feet at the Last Supper, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.(John 13:34)

I went to GW Childs school because I am on the “For Love of Childs” Compassion team that my fried Megan started.  Circle of Hope organizes ourselves to fan the sparks of passion that our members have.  Bands of compassionate people get together to follow Jesus’ commandment.  For the Love of Childs has supported the Art Program, Hosted a Block Party, Started a Library, and planted Gardens in cooperation with various local partners.  I’m inspired to be part of some really good things that are happening.  As often as I am able and there is an opportunity, I am at Childs.  I joined the team to do the Maundy all the time.  I did it for more than filial duty though.  I did it because I need to do something personally to respond to the mess that those who run the school system in Philadelphia have made of these kids’ education.

And here is the other Maundy Thursday correlation.  I can’t hep but note the similarity between Jesus getting betrayed with a kiss by his once friend and disciple, Judas Iscariot, and the kids in Philadelphia getting betrayed by those entrusted with the job of educating them.  

The biggest Judas is probably Governor Tom Corbett (though that’s an over-simplification). Here are just a few reasons I am tempted to say that Satan has entered Tom Corbett (ref Luke 22:3) from

  • While Philadelphia schools are in a financial crisis created by the state, Pennsylvania is spending $400 million on building a new prison in Philadelphia.
  • When Mayor Nutter asked Pennsylvania for $130 million in additional state funding, Gov. Corbett delivered only $16 million
  • The impact fee for natural gas producers is the lowest in the nation. If Gov. Corbett modeled the West Virginia tax on fracking, $205 million in revenue could be generated.

This is a betrayal of our children.  The list on is a lot longer.  As I read it I started to tear up.  I cannot believe it.  Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest!  We’re building a pipeline from cradle to jail.  This is something to die for, certainly to suffer for.  Who’s with me?beautiful sky in philadelphia

It feels so horribly inadequate now, but I painted a mural with some 6th through 8th graders today on the roof top gym at GW Childs.  As we painted we talked about their families and what they liked to post on instagram.  I told them I liked to post pictures of the sky (I posted this one in their honor).  I also told them and their City Year mentors about Circle of Hope and the other Maundy things we do.  I’m praying that my little goes a long way in God’s hand.  I don’t have much more hope than that.



  1. steven hess

    beautiful. thanks ben!

    • benjaminpwhite

      Thanks for reading, Steven!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *