The Huffington Post Press Items
The common good and the quality of our life together will finally be determined by the personal decisions we all make. The "commons" -- those places where we come together as neighbors and citizens to share public space -- will never be better than the quality of human life, or the human flourishing, in our own lives and households.
Jim Wallis, America's leading prophetic voice, came to The City Club of San Diego recently to speak about his new book, "On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good."
On Memorial Day weekend, our family of four participated in six baseball games! Having just returned from a six-week book tour, it was such a refreshing change from discussing our nation's politics, which is all the media wants to talk about and is more and more well, disgusting.
Evangelical groups launched another ad blitz on Thursday in support of immigration reform. A $250,000 buy will show ads in 13 states through next week, broadening the groups' effort after $100,000 in ad spending in four states last month. The ads from the Evangelical Immigration Table -- which includes conservative groups and more progressive ones -- will feature coalition leaders and local pastors.
What I have heard after visiting 18 cities in six weeks is that people around the country believe that nothing can happen in Washington, D.C. They are basically right. So I am very grateful today to report the one exception.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a new comprehensive immigration reform bill with a bipartisan vote. Did you hear that: "bipartisan." Amid heartbreaking news of the destruction, grief, and heroism we have seen in Moore, Okla., from one of the worst tornados in American history, millions of Americans found a reason to be hopeful.
Violence against women is the most prevalent and the most hidden injustice in our world today. From rape as a weapon of war, to human trafficking, to the attack of a young girl seeking an education, the treatment of women and girls across the globe is in a state of crisis.
For what have I been working? I have worked and still work for, what Pastor Jim Wallis might call, "the common good."
This week marked six months since Superstorm Sandy left entire communities devastated, families homeless, and many with little hope. But in the midst of this natural disaster, many banded together. As is true with many of our nation's tragedies, recent and throughout our history, communities form and hope emerges amid struggle. Sandy taught us about resilience. It showed us what it truly means to reach out, serve, and love our neighbor.
What would it mean to be on God's side? Rev. Wallis's answer is to focus on the common good: Not just in politics, but in all the decisions we make in our personal, family, vocational, financial, communal, and public lives. That old but always new ethic simply says we must care for more than ourselves or our own group. We must care for our neighbor as well, and for the health of the life we share with one another. It echoes a very basic tenet of Christianity and other faiths -- love your neighbor as yourself -- still the most transformational ethic in history.
Stories are what change the world, more than just ideas. And that's what I am seeing and hearing on the road -- stories that will change people for the common good. Nobody outside of Washington trusts Washington because there are no more human stories -- just money and the calculations of power.