The E-mail Commentary from Eco-Justice Ministries
We welcome a number of new subscribers to these "Eco-Justice Notes." These new contacts came out of an Eco-Justice Conference held last week in Washington, DC., planned by the National Council of Churches. The conference was a marvelous gathering for worship, education, networking and advocacy, drawing people of faith from across the US.
Thanks to our new readers for signing up! We encourage all our subscribers to share these mailings with friends and colleagues.
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It is always easy for me to find a particular passage in Luke, because of the two large exclamation points that I drew in the margins many years ago. Luke 14:12-14 has the admonition: "when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you."
I turned to that verse while reflecting on this week's experiences in Washington, DC. On Tuesday afternoon, the conference participants fanned out across Capitol Hill -- 350 of us, from 39 states and 23 denominations. Our lobbying efforts were concentrated on the intertwined areas of energy policy and global climate change.
As church people, we brought a rather unique presence to the Hill, one that was at least tinged by the grace-filled spirit of Jesus. In that place of power and influence, where myriad groups negotiate for their own interests and benefits, our delegations came (I hope) with a less self-centered agenda.
We did not come bearing campaign contributions, and asking for political favors. Rather, we brought a moral witness and a spiritual presence. We tried to give voice to the needs and interests of others.
We dared to remind our Senators and Representatives of the notion of sacrifice, and we called upon them to provide leadership of the sort that carries political risk.
It was encouraging to see that our message of stewardship and servanthood was received with respect. We were not dismissed as "unrealistic" or "idealists." Our moral and faithful message contains a profound truth and a compelling power.
Jesus calls on us to provide care for "the least of these" without a focus on what we can get in return. In the halls of Congress, surrounded by advocates from business and industry, those who advocate for states and cities, and the representatives of labor unions, our voices, raised in the spirit of Jesus, were a refreshing contrast.
We continue to pray that our moral message also will be politically effective.
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The message about self-interest needs some nuance and balance. Not all self-interest is wrong. There are times when speaking up for self and community is totally appropriate.
Those who are exploited, oppressed and marginalized deserve our support, encouragement and empowerment in their efforts.
Eco-Justice Ministries * 400 S Williams St, Denver, CO 80209 * 303.715.3873
Home Page: www.eco-justice.org * E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org