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Now is the Time

In a recent Sojourner’s article “Now is the Time for Faith to Flourish” Jim Wallis makes this assertion:” I believe at the heart of this election campaign was the deeply biblical, theological, and spiritual issue of how we treat the “other.” This struck a chord already sounded at a recent meeting of the newly formed Justice and Witness Action Team here. Looking over the long, varied list of justice issues members shared – from the plight of immigrants and refugees, to racism and white privilege, to women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, the Israel –Palestine conflict, global warming and protection of the environment, a conclusion was reached that all these fall under the umbrella of how we treat “the other.”

And this is where faith meets politics, where the teaching of Jesus is clear, instructing us to practice radical hospitality, welcome the stranger, protect and care for the vulnerable and marginalized. And to love our neighbor – which includes those who, feeling left out and hard pressed, voted for Trump’s promise of a better deal. As people of faith, we simply cannot stand by while any politics of fear turns neighbor against neighbor, or stay silent while human or civil rights are threatened.

It’s not a matter of left or right, liberal or conservative, it’s a matter of moral values, and even more, core gospel values. The challenge? To make the powerful care.

The church is perhaps the only institution in the nation that can ask, “Okay, how are your policies squaring up, not only with the principles of the Bible, but with the principles found in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?” Everybody else is scared to do it. The church had better be afraid not to do it.

Rev. James Forbes, Minister Emeritus, Riverside Church NYC

Now is the time to be the church, a place and people of sanctuary. Now is the time to center ourselves in the gospel message of inclusive compassion, and let that supply our witness and work for justice. Now is the time to teach our children that they matter, kindness matters, everyday actions matter,  speaking truth matters.  Now is the time to lead by example.

On Jan 20, Inauguration Day. Faith in Public Life launched “100 Days of Justice” an online campaign sharing reflections, calls to action, prayers, and resources from diverse religious, racial and cultural backgrounds; resources to help faith leaders elevate issues of justice, compassion and the common good. I will be turning to this for ideas and inspiration, and invite you to as well. We’re all in this together, and together, we can be a powerful force for good.

Love and peace,

From Ladera Life – February 2017