Listen, you know us. We're not the type to get all preachy on you. We have been posting in this space for a long time, now -- more than a year and a half -- and we've only used the "religion" tag once (here:link), last month.
We fancy ourselves secularists when it comes to snarky political commentary, and leave the business of thoughtful spirituality to smarter, more capable members of our family.
But these are changing times. Some might even say dire times. And we have been following the good people at Sojourners for some time (visit their site here:link). Here's how they got started:
Sojourners ministries grew out of the Sojourners Community, located in Southern Columbia Height, an inner-city neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The community began at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in the early 1970s when a handful of students began meeting to discuss the relationship between their faith and political issues, particularly the Vietnam War. In 1971, the group decided to create a publication that would express their convictions and test whether other people of faith had similar beliefs. What emerged was an evangelical publication committed to social justice and peace: The Post-American.
Sojourners was founded by a guy named Jim Wallis:
Jim Wallis is a Christian leader for social change. He is a speaker, author, activist, and international commentator on ethics and public life. Wallis was a founder of Sojourners - Christians for justice and peace - more than 30 years ago and continues to serve as the editor of Sojourners magazine, covering faith, politics and culture. In 1995, Wallis was instrumental in forming Call to Renewal, a national federation of churches, denominations, and faith-based organizations from across the theological and political spectrum working to overcome poverty.
There's a lot more on their website, and you ought to check it out. The point is, they're dedicated to the Christian principles of peace, understanding and toleranc, and one of their big fights is with poverty in America.
Good for them.
They want to take this fight to our elected officials, and that's where we get excited. You already know we support John Edwards and his important work in this area. Now we're supporting the Sojourner's "Covenant Campaign" as well.
Why? As they say on the Covenant website:
Our times call for a new moral and political will that merges personal and social responsibility, a commitment to reverse family breakdown, and a more honest assessment of both the individual decisions and social systems that trap people in poverty. Low-income families are too often stuck between liberal and conservative arguments, while neither political party has made the needs of poor families a top priority. Our country needs a new grand alliance between liberals and conservatives that makes overcoming poverty a nonpartisan agenda and a bipartisan cause.
A grand alliance, indeed. You'll want to do a little more reading on this, probably, but Jim Wallis and the crew have made it pretty easy. Go to the Covenant website and see what they have to say about it: A Covenant for a New America
You can also read the Actual Covenant (in PDF format) by clicking here:link.
Finally, here's what you commit to do if you and when you sign the Covenant:
By signing onto the Covenant Campaign, I commit to:
1. Pray daily for God's people living in poverty.
2. Spread the vision of the covenant by passing along e-mail updates-alerts, distributing bulletin inserts, and recruiting friends, family, coworkers and other members of my congregation to sign on to the Covenant Campaign.
3. Bird-dog candidates through the 2006 and 2008 elections by attending public events at which they’ll be speaking and ask them what their plan is for achieving the goals below.
-- Making work work in America
-- Cutting child poverty in half in 10 years, as the U.K. has committed to doing
-- Ending extreme global poverty by providing greater leadership to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
4. Work to get your elected officials to endorse the covenant’s goals and to advocate on timely covenant-related legislation.
5. Be willing to respond at a moment’s notice to organize activities in response to Covenant Campaign action alerts.
6. Talk with your pastor about your church becoming a church partner of the Covenant Campaign.
7. Share successes, best practices, media hits, and other information with Sojourners/Call to Renewal staff by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
It all seems pretty easy to us. This is the kind of thing that's easy to get involved in, not to mention can help your fellow American. Thanks to the internet, online organizing gets easier and easier all the time. The Sojourners people have even come up with an organizer's toolkit for the extra-ambitious among us. Check it out here:link (in PDF format).
So read about all this stuff. Think about it. Then get mad at poverty in America. Get mad at the system, sure, and then endorse the Covenant (here:link). ts