The Dallas Morning News Press Items
There is no way to corral our debt without combining prudent cuts to defense with --yes, I dare say it -- tax increases.
Or at the very least, reversing the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that the Republican leadership insisted upon and President Obama caved in on. This is a point that people as diverse as theologian Jim Wallis and politician Ron Paul have made.
This isn't a criticism, just a reality: Getting church leaders across denominational, theological, racial, geographic, class and ideological barriers to work together can be like getting cats to march in a parade. But that is the challenge in the aftermath of Dallas' Justice Revival.
The Justice Revival is a concept introduced in the book The Great Awakening by Jim Wallis, the leader of the progressive Christian organization Sojourners. It harkens back to church revivals that resulted in spiritual conversions and social justice movements that helped bring about the abolition of slavery; produced child labor laws; and addressed issues of public health and poverty in northern slums area.
Can churches still provide the spark that ignites a spiritual-based revival with social implications in Dallas?
Classes were out Saturday, but Barbara Jordan Elementary School was humming with activity.
About 50 parents, students, neighborhood leaders and church volunteers spent the chilly autumn morning laying sod, planting bushes and preparing a community garden. The effort Saturday was one of 10 projects across Dallas that wrapped up Justice Revival.
The Justice Revival that begins tonight in Dallas might be thought of as a thousand points of light shining in the same direction.
That's the hope anyway as large numbers of Christians gather across the usual dividing lines of race, denomination, theology and politics to focus attention on supporting public education and reducing homelessness.
I got excited about Justice Revival after reading more about the social movements led by William Wilberforce and other religious leaders and how they shaped their times. Social movements are a way to engage the issues of justice without engaging in partisan politics. And they have not succeeded without the support of religious folk. Charles Finney used altar calls to sign people up for the anti-slavery campaign.
On Tuesday, the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners Fellowship in Washington and Dallas religious leaders announced plans for a November "revival." This isn't an altar call affair, the kind with a tent in a park. Rather, the effort will be sustained over time by people of faith who want to deal with poverty in Dallas without partisan divides sidetracking them.
Justice Revival is the idea of Sojourners, a Washington, D.C., ministry with a social justice focus. The first such event occurred last year in Columbus, Ohio.
"It seemed like God was moving us to do it in Dallas," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder and president of Sojourners, which publishes a magazine by that name. "If this can happen in Dallas, it can send a signal to the country about what is possible for us all."
The Justice Revival is an event: three days of worship featuring artists such as Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton and Jaci Velasquez, and speakers such as Jim Wallis, the evangelist who founded Sojourners and who conceived of the Justice Revival. The event – which is free – will happen in November.
Supporters of the effort include conservative Chuck Colson and three members of the President's Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships – Dr. Joel Hunter, the Rev. Noel Castellanos, and Jim Wallis.
What we like is that this bill should push both sides out of their comfort zones. Pro-choice advocates would end up championing bringing more children to term. Pro-life backers would support contraceptives and other ways to prevent pregnancies. That's breaking new ground for both.
An impressive list of supporters is lining up behind this bill, from such pro-life progressives as the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners to pro-choice supporters like Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.