Posted by: eliseanne | May 15, 2009

Mobilization to End Poverty – initial processing

Tony and I just returned from the Mobilization to End Poverty, in Washington, DC. Hosted by the Christian social justice organization Sojourners and sponsored by groups like World Vision, One, Oxfam, American Baptists, ELCA, etc etc. Check out the info about the conference at http://www.sojo.net/mobilization

Where do I begin? Poverty is such an overwhelming plague across the globe, that its many facets could not be discussed in one week of conference, let alone one blog entry. That’s why this conference was different – it was a Mobilization. We mobilized! About 1,100 people gathered for 3 1/2 days to learn and train on ending poverty. We went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, and all of us – yes, all – met with our Senators and Congress reps to ask them to support those in poverty by 1) Supporting the goal to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020. 2) Supporting Pres. Obama’s Foreign financial aid budget and the comittment to the Millenium Development Goals 3) Supporting the reform of Health Care for those in poverty and who need it most. 44 states were represented, which means 88% of the Senate members had meetings on these issues, and many more representatives.

While the Pres. couldn’t make it, he sent a video message to us and we heard from several White House staffers on what they are doing to help overcome poverty. We heard from national church/denomination leaders on how they and their churches are mobilizing to partner with those in poverty and help them get to the resources they need. Each evening and morning we heard powerful messages from preachers about why this is a mandatory mission for followers of Christ.

I have never lobbied before. It was pretty easy. We heard over and over again how calling, emailing, and meeting with members of Congress actually does make an impact! Like, really! It definitely gave Tony and I a kick in the pants in that regards. And it was encouraging to know that in those respects, our system of democracy does actually work and is good. We like that. It was powerful to walk the halls of Congress. To be outside of the Capitol and the White House. To be where huge decisions are made – and to be a part of them. I fell in love with DC for those reasons alone, not to mention all the other sweet stuff.

Jesus didnt say that the fight against poverty is only for those who feel like fighting. It is a part of our beings as believers – to pursue His community, His shalom. And that means that not resting until all our brothers and sisters are at peace with God and community and have justice – wholistically. We live in a fallen world. We will never achieve this goal until Christ sets up His new kingdom here on earth. But he does not say that this means we do not fight. It is in our DNA as His children; we deny Him when we deny our responsibilities to the oppressed.

“When I was thirsty, you drank bottled water. When I was hungry, you went to a buffet. When I was naked, you bought a new outfit. When I was a stranger, you deported me.”

God forgive us, through Christ. Empower us, through the Holy Spirit. Renew us, and mobilize us.

More later, my peoples. May we seek Chris and His kingdom community.

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