The Common Good

A Million Christians for Social Justice

Sojomail - March 25, 2010



QUOTE OF THE WEEK

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week absorbing the full wrath of the Obama administration, the Pentagon and Israel's defense establishment were in the process of sealing a large arms deal.

- Amos Harel, writing in a news article for the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. According to the deal, Israel will purchase three new military aircraft manufactured specifically for Israeli needs. America and Israel are still in the process of an agreement regarding the purchase of another war plane, the F-35, in a deal estimated to be worth more than $3 billion. The deal will be covered by American foreign assistance funds. (Source: Haaretz)

+ Sign up to receive "Verse and Voice" - our daily quote and Bible verse e-mail

Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

A Million Christians for Social Justice

Get a free trial issue of Sojourners Get a free issue of Sojourners
Donate to Support Sojourners
Donate to support
Sojourners

Sometimes, the timing of events seems almost providential.

For more than a year, Sojourners has been discussing and planning to launch a campaign called A Million Christians for Social Justice.

We have talked, dreamed, and prayed about the possibility and power of bringing together, from across the life of the churches, the many voices that are calling for social justice. It’s many of us now: Evangelicals and mainline Protestants, Catholics and Pentecostals, Black, Hispanic, and Asian-American churches -- focusing our personal faith on the most urgent public issues our world is now facing. From human trafficking to HIV/AIDS, from inner-city education to global poverty, from racial justice to nuclear weapons, from immigrant families to access to health care, from the status of women and girls to conflict resolution in the Middle East, from creation care to homelessness -- Christian voices are being heard and people of faith are mobilizing.

We are all being called to a deeper commitment to Jesus Christ and to living out his kingdom of love and justice. A stronger and authentic voice with moral authority beyond mere partisan politics needs to be heard on social justice. That voice can both speak truth to power and bring people together across cultural and political lines to act for justice.

Glenn Beck’s attacks on deeply held Christian principles of social justice have ironically brought newfound attention, focus, and discussion about what it truly means to be a “social justice Christian.” As wrong and often vitriolic his caricatures, insults, and attacks on such core gospel teachings and biblical tenets have been, they have provided what is often called a “teachable moment” and perhaps, a mobilizing moment as well. The Beck attack on Christian social justice has given us an opportunity to teach what true gospel principles are and offers us an opportunity to reach out to even more people who are being attracted by the biblical call to social justice -- which is the mission statement of Sojourners.

So we are now discerning whether this is the right time to move beyond the discussions, and as Congressman John Lewis says, to "put some feet on our prayers" and launch “A Million Christians for Social Justice.”

Sure, we'd be responding to Glenn Beck. But we believe we'd really be responding to our own calling to stand up for the poor and vulnerable and to stand against the conditions, institutions, and polices that further poverty. It could be a moment to speak out and to serve. The attacks of poverty on vulnerable families and children, the attacks of hunger on entire communities, the attacks of economic inequities on hardworking people, the attacks of war on civilians who get caught in the cross-fire, are all much harsher attacks than anything Beck can hurl at us. These are the attacks we must address. These are the attacks we are called to fight.

A Million Christians for Social Justice will bring us together to fight injustice and inequality, to fight hunger and hopelessness, and ultimately, to love and nourish all the souls that are a part of God's creation -- and to do so in the name of Jesus.

By adding your voice as one of a million, you will allow us to work toward building a large and active network to help people find each other, as well as to find kindred spirits and churches in their own communities; you’ll help connect people and churches who want to work on the same issues, and share both vital resources and stories for deepening our understanding and commitment to faith-based social justice; and when needed, your voice will help focus our attention, energy, and a united prophetic voice on urgent matters of common concern. That will require an investment in new technology and expert staff, something hard to do in the current economic climate without the assurance that there's a movement behind us to help make it happen.

Your honest feedback is important. Join us in making this decision. Join us in prayer and join us with your comments, responses, and finally, your commitment. Do you like the vision of A Million Christians for Social Justice? Has the time for such a movement finally come?

So we want to try this out with you. Would you join such a network and movement of faith and action? Would you be one of a million voices connecting, speaking, and acting in a common witness? We can create change in our society, and indeed are called to. To make this a reality, we need a strong indication from our constituents that this campaign is the way to go: Click here to leave a comment on our blog and tell us your ideas.

E-mail E-mail this article to friends
Facebook Share this article on Facebook
Comment Comment on this article on the God's Politics Blog


INSIDE SOJOURNERS MAGAZINE

Audio Slideshow: Life in Afghanistan

While we often hear only about violence, many Afghans make daily sacrifices to make life better for their families and country. In this audio slideshow, photographer Heather Wilson talks about the beauty of the people, culture, and land of Afghanistan that she experienced while living there.

100325-video-afghanistan

+Click here to watch



BUILDING A MOVEMENT

From All of Us at Sojourners, Thank You

This week we bore witness to the most comprehensive reform of the health-care system in decades. While the legislation which President Obama signed into law on Tuesday is imperfect, it was nevertheless a significant step toward fixing a broken system. It provides health coverage for 32 million more Americans and is predicted to reduce the deficit by more than $140 billion over the next ten years. In the president’s address at the signing of the bill, he acknowledged all who had advocated and campaigned tirelessly for accessible and affordable health care for all:

It is because of you that we did not quit. It’s because of you that Congress did not quit. It’s because of you that I did not quit. It’s because of you.

All of us at Sojourners also want to thank you for standing with us in pushing for comprehensive health reform. To read Jim Wallis’s response to the passage of this legislation, click here.



ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Health-Care Reform: Hallelujah and Hallelujah Anyhow
by Valerie Elverton Dixon

The law that President Obama signed is far from perfect, far from what many of us wanted, but it establishes the principle. Hallelujah. For those who opposed this health-care reform -- hallelujah anyhow. You can praise God because God only knows the long-term effects of this law. Your worst fears may not come to pass.
+ Click to continue

A New March on Washington
by Marco Saavedra

In many ways, Sunday's march was modeled after the 1963 "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," and I immediately felt the connection to King's dream as I saw black, brown, and white together hand in hand.
+ Click to continue

A Real Hero
by Maryada Vallet

The heroes of this global phenomenon called "migration" surround us; they are our neighbors and essential members of our community. Thank you, Gilbert, and many others like you, for teaching me about the depths of humanity and perseverance in struggle, which we all may aspire to possess and live out.
+ Click to continue

Glenn Beck on Martin Luther King and Gandhi
by Jim Wallis

I was heartened to hear Beck affirm the nonviolence of King, but I would also like to remind him of King's tireless commitment to social justice. Dr. King was the archetypal "social justice Christian," and the one from whom most of the rest of us have drawn inspiration. So then, what's so wrong with "social justice Christians?" King inspired me to build movements for change, not to build big and tyrannical governments as Beck has been charging us as wanting to do.
+ Click to continue

What the Heck is 'Social Justice'?
by Rose Marie Berger

The goal of social charity and social justice is furthering the common good. Social charity addresses the effects of social sin, while social justice addresses the causes of such sins.
+ Click to continue

What Catholics Can Teach Glenn Beck About Social Justice
by John Gehring

Last summer, Pope Benedict XVI released a timely encyclical on economic justice, labor unions, international development, and environmental exploitation. The finished product is, in part, a critique of free-market fundamentalism that left neoconservatives scrambling to downplay passages that take a skeptical view of unfettered markets. Indeed, the Pope goes where many U.S. politicians fear to tread in his call for a more just distribution of wealth, robust financial regulations, and the essential role government has in serving the common good.
+ Click to continue

Healing the Nation's Soul with Mutual Respect
by Margaret Benefiel

The health-care struggle culminating in Sunday's vote brought out the best and the worst of legislators' and citizens' behavior. When Rep. James Clyburn received a fax of a noose along with racial slurs, when Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was spat upon by a protestor and called "ni---r," when Rep. John Lewis was called a "ni---r," it became clear, in ways that perhaps it hadn't been to all Americans, that racism is alive and well in America and needs to be addressed.
+ Click to continue

What Glenn Beck Doesn't Understand About Biblical Social Justice
by Jim Wallis

Glenn Beck isn't just angry or merely misguided; he really does completely misunderstand the Christian teaching of social justice and is indeed insulting us. I was glad he gave us his definition of "social justice" and put it up right on his famous blackboard. "My definition of social justice," he wrote in chalk, is "the forced redistribution of wealth, with a hostility to individual property, under the guise of charity and/or justice." Well, somebody needs to tell Mr. Beck that virtually no church in America, or the world, would support anything close to that as a definition of social justice.
+ Click to continue

5 Books to Spark Your Soul
by Julie Polter

Alas, simply reading a book won't make you a better person. But when it comes to spirituality, books can sometimes provide the catalyst or guidance that will help you go deeper in your relationship with God. Here are some recent books that might bring a bit of spark to the soul.
+ Click to continue

Ruth Was a Moabite 'Illegal' Immigrant
by Aaron Taylor

The tendency of faith leaders advocating for a compassionate approach to immigrants is to appeal to the numerous "be kind to strangers" texts in the Hebrew Scriptures. The problem with this approach is that it elicits a universal response from the other side, "Yes, but those were legal immigrants. I'm talking about illegal immigrants." It occurred to me that one of the most famous and beloved women in the entire Bible was an "illegal" immigrant. Her name was Ruth. I'm not making this up.
+ Click to continue

'What Has Helped Me the Most is My Faith'
by Juan Daniel Espitia

What has helped me the most is my faith, the awareness and knowledge that God cares for me. What worries me the most are the immigration raids and the police.
+ Click to continue

A Significant Step Toward Health Reform in Spite of Poisonous Politics
by Jim Wallis

The fact that health-care reform passed at all in such a poisonous political atmosphere is a great achievement. Like the original Social Security Act, this health-care bill will need to be improved over time -- and can be. But this was a step -- for beginning to fix a broken system, for including 30 million more Americans, and for showing that, despite tremendous opposition and a massive campaign of distortion and fear, big things can still get done.
+ Click to continue

War is Ugly, God is Good: What I Learned from the Truth Commission on Conscience in War
by Shane Claiborne

Testimonies from colonels and chaplains, from decorated soldiers and mothers of the dead, rang out like a revival of confession. They baptized us with tears. There are moments I will never forget... many of them -- hearing of how soldiers were systemically trained to see enemies as people who do not deserve to live... and yet hearing how stubborn the soul is.
+ Click to continue

Health Care: Swiss Solidarity and the Scandalous 5%
by LaVonne Neff

Acknowledging that revamping a nation's health care can seem overwhelming if not impossible, T.R. Reid tells how Switzerland did it in 1994. The Swiss, he points out, have a lot in common with Americans.
+ Click to continue

Logging On Differently for Lent
by Andrew Wilkes

What if, instead of viewing the Internet as an evil Leviathan impinging on the solemnity and simplicity of Lent, we utilized our in-between time as moments to envision a more faithful witness to God in Christ? I am suggesting, then, that we use our interim periods as an occasion not to "log off" indefinitely, but to log on differently, with intentionality and discernment guiding our electronic engagements during this Lenten season.
+ Click to continue

Why Are There So Few Solo Women Church Planters?
by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Church planting is its own weird thing. It takes a certain personality to think you might, just might, be able to (with tons of help from God) start a church from scratch. There is a somewhat particular constellation of personality traits needed for such a task. These traits may allow one to be suited for church planting but be horribly ill suited for many other things... let's not pretend otherwise.

+ Click to continue

'Jim Wallis Loves His Enemies' (With a Little Help From His Friends)
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

When a Fox News pundit who has helped force the resignation of White House advisers is promising he'll be "hammering hard and all through the night, over and over," it's good to have some friends standing beside you.
+ Click to continue

Jesus-Focused Conversations in Occupied Bethlehem
by Lynne Hybels

I wish I had a video of every tender, heartfelt, Jesus-focused conversation I've had this week so I could post it on this Web site and say, "Here. Watch this. This is a Christian Palestinian woman. This is a Christian Palestinian man. This is a Christian Israeli woman. This is a Christian Israeli man. These are people committed to peace and justice for all people in the Holy Land."
+ Click to continue

We All Share Responsibility for Going to War -- and for Stopping It
by Logan Laituri

I was in Sammarah, Iraq, in Operation Baton Rouge. A day or so into the engagement, we occupied a small hospital, not too unlike the one I visited with Shane Claiborne in Rutbah. Late at night, I walked through the corridors with my platoon sergeant and a doctor from the hospital, showing us places we could sleep overnight. In each room, coagulated, pooled, and dried blood was all over the tile floor. All I kept thinking to myself was "Is this the doctor's way of inviting us to sleep in the proverbial bed we've made?" Occasionally, we get so caught up in social justice, we forget that we sometimes make the same mistakes of the very people we find ourselves up against; we dehumanize people, sometimes even those who share our values at a different intensity.
+ Click to continue

Jon Stewart: 'How Oscar Romero Got Disappeared by Right-Wingers...for the Second Time'
by Jimmy McCarty

Jon Stewart has pointed out that one of the revisions of the recent Texas high school curriculum controversy is the omission of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero from a list of great political/moral figures of the twentieth century. It saddens me to think that there was an opportunity for a new generation of students to be introduced to his positive influence on the world and it could pass quietly in the night.
+ Click to continue

Video: Fr. James Martin Sets Stephen Colbert (and Glenn Beck) Straight on Social Justice
by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

+ Click to watch

SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

+ Sign up to receive our "Daily Digest" e-mail - the latest headlines on critical issues

Top Stories:

Immigration: The Next Hot Topic in Washington?
Christian Broadcasting Network
"We say the time is now. The time to fix this broken system is now," Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners, said. But some say President Obama and Congress may be too bloodied from the health care battle to take on another controversial issue now. +Click to continue


Clergy, White House Strategize on Immigration Reform
Religion News Service
The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of the anti-poverty group Sojourners, said the faith community is ready to help Obama mobilize the grass roots. "There has never been more unity on this issue in the faith community," said Wallis, describing the commitment from the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, Catholic and Jewish leaders who participated in Monday's meeting. +Click to continue


Immigration Reform: “My Faith, My Vote”
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

Rallying for Immigration Reform
Christianity Today blog

The fierce urgency of now: justice
The Miami Herald

Glenn Beck, FRC Shift Aim From 'Social Justice' to Jim Wallis
Christianity Today blog

Fox’s Beck should quit preaching
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"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.




Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!

Click Here!






General Secretary: the World Association for Christian Communication Board seeks a new chief executive (based in Toronto, Canada). Information about WACC, the hiring process, and the job description are available on the WACC Web site.

Let your laptop speak with the words of Micah 6:8 - Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly. Get your reusuable, long-lasting Sojourners laptop skin today. Click here.

Faith and Finances: Christians and the Economic Crisis. Sojourners’ new discussion guide gives a faithful perspective on money, power, and stewardship. Great for Sunday school classes, small groups, and sermon preparation. Download now.

Stickers! Magnets! Buttons! Show your stuff with pithy statements from Sojourners. Order yours today.










Click Here!

GIVE TO SOJOURNERS: Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace.

GET THE MAGAZINE: Subscribe today

CONTACT US: General inquiries: sojourners@sojo.net | Advertising: advertising@sojo.net | About Us

PRIVACY NOTICE: Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy.