The Common Good

The First 100 Days

Sojomail - April 30, 2009


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

You cut those off and you cripple the health care system. Our global just-in-time economy means we are dependent on others. ... A Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bar has ingredients from nine countries in it.

- Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said in response to calls that the U.S. should close its border with Mexico because of the spread of the swine flu virus. (Source: The New York Times)

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

The First 100 Days

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Wednesday marked the 100th day of President Obama's administration and the final day of Sojourners' Mobilization to End Poverty, the nation's largest gathering of Christian leaders and activists committed to overcoming poverty in our country and world. This Mobilization brought together more than 1,100 Christians from across the religious spectrum who visited 83 Senate and 200 House offices to advocate for including low-income families and vulnerable people in the economic recovery. Participants on the first full day of the Mobilization were excited and energized by a video message from the president, who took the opportunity to recommit to overcoming poverty in our country and partnering with the faith community.

In the first 100 days, President Obama has made unprecedented strides and set promising priorities in two key areas -- expanding economic opportunity at home and forging a new role for the U.S. in the world.

In regard to poverty, the president and his administration have shown a clear commitment to ensure that poor and low-income people are not left out of the economic recovery plan and the budget. There has not been a president or a budget I have seen in my lifetime that has so carefully considered the people Jesus called "the least of these." These early steps show that poverty reduction will be a commitment of the Obama administration, both in word and deed. This can be accomplished through commitments in his budget and stimulus plan to repair a neglected safety net for those who find themselves without jobs, key investments in infrastructure that will create new jobs and opportunities, especially green jobs, finally achieving health care reform, and a long-term plan for ensuring that our schools and institutions of higher education are the best in the world. His budget's commitment to foreign aid will make sure that the progress we have seen on reducing extreme poverty across the world will continue in a time when we could easily backslide.

Regarding our role in the global community, from the moment he was inaugurated President Obama changed the image of the U.S. in the eyes of the world. He has made substantive policy changes and set priorities that are forging a new global role for our country. First, he has reached out to the Muslim world and begun to build the bridges and understanding that will be necessary for peace, security, and prosperity in our world. Second, he has clearly and unequivocally stated his commitment to ensuring that torture is not acceptable and will no longer be a tool of U.S. foreign policy. Third, his global commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons is a compelling vision for which we have already waited too long, and an early commitment to that goal offers the opportunity for serious progress over the course of his administration. Fourth, early steps in foreign policy have shown a preference for development and diplomacy over mere military action, and we urge that emphasis continue in Afghanistan rather than increasing combat troops. By dropping the deceptive and misleading "war on terror," we have new opportunities for progress and peace.

On values, vision, principles, and direction, President Obama's first 100 days have offered some real encouragement to many of us in the faith community. But the most important results are yet to come. For that, it will take a vital, new partnership that includes both the support of the faith community when the Obama agenda is consistent with our own, and challenge when our prophetic integrity requires it -- a role that this new president has already affirmed.

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ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

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M2EP Images: How to Be a Light on the Hill
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

As the videos in recent posts have demonstrated, grassroots advocacy on Capitol Hill was a key part of the Mobilization to End Poverty. Here are two of my favorite photos I took this week, one from worship Tuesday morning, and one from the halls of Congress that afternoon, as advocates pressed their elected officials to support an agenda that prioritizes the poor.
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M2EP: Voices from Capitol Hill
by Molly Marsh

Day two of the Mobilization to End Poverty included a trip to Capitol Hill to lobby senators and representatives on issues related to poverty and social justice. Take a look at what these folks had to say about their experience:
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M2EP Video: Mo?bi?lize: To Put into Motion
by Kaitlin Barker

Sojourners' Mobilization has come to an end. For those of you who couldn't be with us, here are some stories and reflections from Tuesday's "people's lobbyists."
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Swine Flu, Hog Farms, and Piggish Politics
by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

There is a lot more to the swine flu outbreak than a virus and a vaccine: There is, surprise surprise, a political-economic context.
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Audio: Earmarked for Kingdom Justice
by Efrem Smith

In this clip, Pastor Efrem preaches from the book of Proverbs, specifically chapters 10-18, in which there is a contrast made between the righteous person and the wicked person.
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Holding Government Accountable on Poverty -- in Africa
by Nontando Hadebe

The South African elections have eclipsed all news in our region. These went fairly smoothly with isolated incidents. The drawcard used by ANC was service delivery and alleviation of poverty, an indication of the key issues at stake in the election.
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M2EP Live: Why We're Here, part II
by Elizabeth Palmberg

Jonathan Bettle, an intern with the Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry in Baltimore, works in an emergency room in a high-need neighborhood, connecting folks with resources such as primary care doctors they can see before a health problems reach crisis levels.
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M2EP Live: Assembling AIDS kits
by Ed Spivey Jr.

Okay, I'm going to try to NOT make this a commercial for World Vision, but their international work against the spread of AIDS just ROCKS!
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M2EP LIVE: Just Back From Capitol Hill
by Ed Spivey Jr.

As I arrived at the Hart Senate Building, I drew myself up confidently and did what most special-interest lobbyists do before entering a seat of power: I looked for a place to put my gum.
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M2EP Live: Frederick Haynes on God's Grammar
by Elizabeth Palmberg

My favorite part of last night's worship service was when Rev. Frederick Haynes III unpacked Jeremiah 38 -- especially the power of one little word at the start of verse 7: "But."
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Help is On the Way
by Jim Wallis

Social movements built from the streets of our country and open doors in the halls of power is the formula for deep and lasting social change. In our first morning session of the Mobilization, we began to see a vision emerge for how this formula can be put to work.
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M2EP LIVE: Taking On the Powers (kind of)
by Ed Spivey Jr.

This is the day. The day that the entrenched powers on Capitol Hill come face to face with the horde of advocates from the Mobilization.
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Sunday Night at the Mobilization
by Jim Wallis

I served communion with Congressman John L. Lewis, who, as our opening speaker, reminded us that our sacrifice of worship is not just a spiritual one, but a physical one. It is a sacrifice that sometimes means we have to "get in the way."
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M2EP LIVE: Meeting Sojo Supporters
by Ed Spivey Jr.

I had lunch with several longtime readers and supporters of Sojourners, people who in their own lives have been living out the gospel for decades. It was a humbling experience for me to sit with these people -- many of them in their 70s -- and hear their stories of making a difference.
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M2EP Live: Charlotte Keys Update
by Elizabeth Palmberg

I was delighted to run into Charlotte Keys, head of Jesus People Against Pollution of Columbia, Mississippi, whom I'd interviewed for Sojourners' March issue, at the Mobilization.
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M2EP Live: We're on the Inside
by Ed Spivey Jr.

This is the first event in Sojourners' history where the White House has had a role, any role, aside from the one where they call the police and ask them to remove us from the sidewalks.
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M2EP Live Video: Sunday Evening Worship Service
by Jeannie Choi

The Mobilization kicked off last night with a leaders "meet and greet" session and worship service at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
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M2EP Live: First blog
by Ed Spivey Jr.

This is my first blog, so bear with me if I get it wrong. With a blog you only have 140 characters to convey your message and ... no ... that's a twitter, I think, from people who twit.
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M2EP Live: First Night Photos
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Here are a few photos from Sunday evening's activities...
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M2EP Live: Why We're Here
by Elizabeth Palmberg

Before and after the worship service tonight, I got a chance to chat with just a few of the thousand-plus people coming to the Mobilization. Here's what they had to say:
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M2EP Live Video: Sojo Offices Before the Mobilization
by Jeannie Choi

I decided to take my handy little flipcam around the office to see how everyone was doing. Here's your inside look!
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The Hole in Our Gospel: Interview with World Vision's Richard Stearns
by Robert Gelinas

As the pastor of a church with a deep desire to love others as Christ would, I've recently been telling folks, "If you only read one book this year, read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns."
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SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

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Top Stories:

Christian Activists Pressure Washington to Cut Poverty in Half
The Christian Post
WASHINGTON – Hundreds of Christians walked the halls of Senate and House buildings on Tuesday to place pressure on political leaders and push through doors that they hope will lead to a reduction in domestic poverty.
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Christian Leaders Call Churches to Task on Poverty Fight
The Christian Post

Progressive Christian Leader Mobilizes Hundreds to End Poverty
The Christian Post

Sojourners' Jim Wallis: No Longer a Voice in the Wilderness
The Washington Post blog

Students 'mobilize' to D.C. to fight poverty
The Collegian (SDSU)

'Religious Left' agenda advances on hate crimes
Politico.com

George Shultz Joins Evangelicals in Anti-Nuke Campaign
The Washington Post blog

Whom Will Obama Choose for Vatican Ambassador?
U.S. News and World Report blog

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.


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