Because of Jesus
When the news reporter approached me, I was milling about in the grass, adjusting my pastoral… Continue Reading
I’ll never forget how it felt to serve dinner to this group. About 30 hungry, tired farmworkers arrived back at their camp just as it was getting dark, and they were kind enough to welcome us into their humble space for a shared meal. This group of mostly young men had been busy harvesting sweet potatoes down East. Most were indigenous Mexicans who learned Spanish as a second language, who didn’t know any English.
As we spooned out rice and beans and poured soda from two-liter bottles, I was struck at how rare it is for any of us to meet the people who actually produce and harvest the food we eat. From our history of slavery to our modern industrial context, our society has not really reckoned with the grim reality of those at the bottom of our food chain.
Date: Advent 3 – Dec. 15, 2013
Topic: Resisting Oppression
Focus Text: James 5:7-10
Drawing on the Old Testament, James speaks of the prophets who endured suffering and, for their steadfastness, are called “blessed.” This is the same word used in the beatitudes, another text which brings comfort to those who are suffering or longing for justice in light of God’s future reign. James also goes on to invoke Job, a proverbial figure of faithfulness and long-suffering in times of trial. These figures exemplify faithfulness even in the face of oppression.
Because the season of Advent is a time of awaiting the Christ child and the risen Christ, it is a perfect time to think about social justice issues. Christ’s ministry, which is explored in other seasons of the Christian year, focuses on lifting up those whom society regarded as worthless or weak, including the poor, the ill, the foreigner, women, and children. Social justice was at the core of Jesus’ ministry. Based on the Advent readings for Lectionary Year A, this guide will assist you in slowing down this season by taking 20-30 minutes one night a week to focus on social justice.
SalonEvery week prayers and gospel songs infuse the air and participants offer blessings to the latest batch of 100 or so activists entering the Raleigh General Assembly building to commit civil disobedience. If you’re not from here, it may all seem a little counter-intuitive: A movement for inclusive and just secular governance that is deeply inflected with Christian ethics and arguments.
The General Assembly has adjourned its 2013 session after a final cascade of disappointing and disturbing bills that now await review by Gov. Pat McCrory. Among the bills approved are ones that will make it less convenient for many citizens to vote and that weaken regulatory oversight of the environment.
There was at least one bright spot, as the House rejected a last-minute push by the Senate to speed up the environmentally risky natural gas extraction process known as fracking. But on the whole, legislators succeeded in putting the crowning touches on a session devoted to a conservative agenda the likes of which modern North Carolina has never before seen.
It could be said that the elephant – symbol of the Republicans who control North Carolina’s General Assembly and governor’s office — has labored and brought forth a mouse. But this is a mouse with sharp teeth.
After weeks of effort, the legislature’s Republican majorities and Gov. Pat McCrory have agreed on a spate of changes to the state’s tax laws centered on cuts in personal and corporate income taxes. The cuts aren’t as deep as some conservatives wanted. Still, they will sap revenues that finance the entire portfolio of state programs and services.
As rabbis at this week’s event told reporters, the civil disobedience was not an option of first resort – Republican legislators repeatedly blew off meeting requests from clergy who are eager to discuss the impact the North Carolina GOP’s policies have on the common good. As the movement has gained steam, some politicians have resorted to insulting Moral Mondays participants. The governor dismissed it all as an effort led by “outsiders,” and one state legislator dubbed it “Moron Mondays.” It brings to mind Gandhi’s saying, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: Proper 8 – June 30, 2013
This workshop on agricultural policy, from our 2013 Legislative Seminar on April 11, covers a wide range of topics – from the US Farm Bill to fracking to the meaning of “local” and “sustainable” food. Scott Marlow led the workshop. Scott currently serves as Executive Director of the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI). His specialty is financial infrastructure, including access to credit and risk management for value-added producers. He previously directed RAFI’s Farm Sustainability program, providing in-depth financial counseling to farmers in crisis, education on disaster assistance programs and access to credit, and addressing the needs of mid-scale farmers who are increasing the sustainability of their farms by transitioning to higher-value specialty markets.
A leader against economic injustice and two longtime advocates on the Council’s board have received the North Carolina Council of Churches’ highest honors.
Gene Nichol received the Faith Active in Public Life Award. Barbara Volk and Sydnor Thompson II were recognized with Distinguished Service awards. All three were presented at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar which took place April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh.
Alexandra Forter Sirota (Director) and Cedric Johnson (Policy Analyst) from the NC Budget and Tax Center explain the debate about North Carolina’s tax system and offer a vision of a more progressive tax structure for the state. You can download and listen to the podcast above.
Speaking to 200 social justice advocates, Gene Nichol delivered a powerful luncheon address at the Council’s 2013 Legislative Seminar held April 11 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh. He received the Council’s Faith Active in Public Life Award at the Seminar for his “courageous, dedicated, humane and compassionate witness in the political arena.” Rev. George Reed, the Council’s Executive Director, introduced Nichol by saying in part, “To know Gene is to see the embodiment of Catholic social teaching about social justice and the common good.”
RT @NCIPL LAST DAY TO REGISTER for tomorrow's webinar on the Governor's NC Clean Energy Plan! CLICK HERE: ncipl.org/event/webi… @ncchurches @CreationCareWNC @tricleantech @CleanAirMoms_NC @NCCoastalFed @NCConservation @UNCCE3 @Sustainable_UNC @UNC_IE @DukeELPC @DukeUEnergy @NichInstitute
Join us for the Come to the Table Conference to examine the root causes of hunger & collaborate to build a more just food system. Some of the workshop tracks include environmental justice, food & faith, policy analysis, & racial equity. Learn more at: rafiusa.org/cttt/201… pic.twitter.com/BOUY…
RT @NCIPL Public News Service article on 1/16 webinar with the Governor's Office: publicnewsservice.or… Register Today: ncipl.org/event/webi… @ncchurches @NCConservation @NCCoastalFed @nccleanenergy @cleanenergyorg @selc_org @CreationCareWNC @CreationJustice @interfaithpower
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death." Every day we need to practice what it means to stand against injustice like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us. #MLK #HealthCareForAll pic.twitter.com/fSHH…
RT @jmkizer Anyone needing food assistance due to the shutdown, or for any other reason, can find help from @FoodBankCENC at buff.ly/2C7Kj2W #noonegoeshungry #FoodBanksOpen4Business pic.twitter.com/Tnff…
Join us on Saturday, February 23 from 9:30 am-Noon for "Food and our Faith," a deep dive into the topics of food justice, health, and the environment. Click below to read more about our featured speaker, People's Feast, and to RSVP! ncchurches.org/event… pic.twitter.com/m1iQ…
Thankful for groups like @FayUrbanMin who are helping the community during this increased time of need. We implore our representatives to think about those who are being threatened with eviction and struggling to put food on the table. #ShutdownStories #GovernmentShutdown twitter.com/NCHealth…
Susannah Tuttle, Program Director of @NCIPL, spoke with @SpecNewsRDU and @RepGPierce1 about @ncchurches role in faith-based activism in the 1st segment of a 3-part show. #ncchurches #ncpol #ncleg #pray #policy spectrumlocalnews.co… @wunc @nprpolitics
RT @Michael_S_Regan "I wanted to come today with my entire cabinet to show eastern North Carolina we're going to help, and we're going to get back on our feet stronger than ever.” @NC_Governor 👍🏾🌎 witn.com/content/new…
RT @faithinplace "But we are not powerless to act. In fact, climate change is not just a moral issue, it is a moral opportunity for people of faith to lead on this issue ..." ~ Rev. @sbhendershot, President @interfaithpower Full remarks bit.ly/2018ACF_Keyno…; take part #MoralOpportunity pic.twitter.com/jEpn…
No matter what type of barrier, border communities are opposed! We need to #RevitalizeNotMilitarize our border region. Congress—do not give Trump any more money for ICE, CBP, or a border wall! CALL to #DefundHate: (202) 224-3121 pic.twitter.com/xBVM…
Let's @SupportFLOC in the upcoming #BoycottVUSE against Reynolds American Inc. and defend our tobacco farmworkers so that they may have a voice to negotiate better working conditions without fear of retaliation! floc.com/wordpress/b…