Yesterday is still wild in my heart and head. The first day of the Mobilization to End Poverty (M2EP) campaign. Here are some snapshots from the day.
Zina Jacque is the worship leader for the sessions. Grace and love and pure Jesus love flow from her. She has a rich, honied voice and ushers this gathering of 1100 into worship. She introduces each speaker with story or metaphor and urges us to "Give God a handclap of praise."
Jim Wallis opened the first morning session, "The Mobilization to End Poverty--The Fierce Urgency of Now." Among the stories he told is one about Mary Glover, his neigbor and mentor of long ago who was a prayer warrior and lover of Jesus. As people in the neigborhood lined up at the neighborhood food bank, she would pray, "Lord, we know you'll be coming through the line today. Help us to treat you well."
Wallis affirmed that for many in the audience, the work of justice for the poor and "the least of these" is often dishearteningly slow, but that it is, nonetheless, important. That we can't give up. He uses the metaphor of the tectonic plates that move imperceptibly--10,000 times slower than the hour hand on a clock. Yet when they meet, the effects are gargantuan. Earthquakes. Things will never be the same.
He suggested this is a time for a paradigm shift. The prophetic example of Amos and Isaiah, shouting out the injustices loudly in righteous anger, may need to be set aside for the example of a Nehemiah who whispered truth, gained the trust of power to influence power's heart, and then mobilized the people to act. Initiate reflection, then mobilize the people.
Social movements must push against open doors. This gathering of 1100 is part of a movement whose strategy is to build relationships within the walls of power, the walls of influence in order to inform and influence. But in that process, we must continue to push for change.
We've been living in a "greed economy," the the face of a "greed culture." Rich Stearns, president of World Vision brought this point home when he talked about "the hole in our gospel," (also the title of his book). As Christians, we have bought into the greed economy. A revision of Matthew 25 makes the point: "I was hungry, and you ate more. I was thirsty, and you drank bottled water. I was naked, and you said you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out my behaviors that led to my disease. I was in prison, and you said that I got what I deserved."
This is only the first hour of Monday.