The Common Good

A Time for Giving Thanks

Sojomail - November 26, 2008


"I think they should. That's an example of taking responsibility. I think that if you are already worth tens of millions of dollars, and you are having to lay off workers, the least you can do is say, 'I'm willing to make some sacrifice as well, because I recognize that there are people who are a lot less well off, who are going through some pretty tough times.’"

- President-elect Barack Obama, when asked in an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters if U.S. banking executives should forgo large bonuses. (Source: ABC News)

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

A Time for Giving Thanks

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It is a time to be thankful, even in the midst of the economic crisis all around the world. The election showed that our country is better than some of us thought it was. The electorate voted to turn the page on many things, and to choose hope over fear.

I am in England for a family visit — my wife, Joy, being British. And I have been amazed at how hopeful people are here about a U.S. election. Even among ordinary people, something has connected. I have been meeting with both church and political leaders this week who also feel a moment of opportunity. On Nov. 4, there was dancing in the streets, not only in my inner-city D.C. neighborhood, but in London as well. There is now a chance for the U.S. to change its image in the world.

It's been a long, hard year for many of us. And the sense of relief and even joy is still slowly settling in. We have no utopian illusions, no faith in political messiahs, but we still see a transformational moment in this election — especially for a new generation. So despite the falling financial markets and the problems focused on during this endless political campaign still unsolved, let us take this Thanksgiving holiday to truly give thanks for the hope that so many now feel in our country and around the world. Let us thank God for new beginnings. And let us pray for better days ahead.

And then on Monday, let us go back to work, because there is much work to be done. We haven't yet seen the change that we need, but we now have the opportunity to make that change — which depends not just on a new president, but on each and every one of us. People of faith are often the ones turned to for translating hopes into realities. Let us rest well this holiday, for the work of real change is just ahead.

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Thinking Thankfully About Money
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When you are giving thanks this week, why not give thanks for money? Sound crass? It shouldn't be, because that's what could empower a household economy based on gratitude rather than one driven by greed or guilt.
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Leading up to Nov. 4, editorial pages ran scurrilous commentaries attacking as "clever ploys to elect Republicans" the democratic process used to define and defend marriage against those who feign tolerance and advance an agenda of familial redefinition. The election of Barack Obama kindly puts that notion to rest. Evangelicals led by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and others voted in droves for the hope of social-justice change promised by the presidency of Sen. Obama. Let us hope they are correct.

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Sojourners President Jim Wallis said the election results indicate a wide range of evangelicals may be ready to broaden the issues they address with Congress and the White House.

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