The Common Good

Holy Impatience and the Foreclosure Prevention Act

Impatience can be destructive. But it can also be a catalyst to work for social change. In this sense, one could argue that impatience can be holy in some respects. As a Sojourners intern, this summer is my introduction to Capitol Hill, to the rich landscape of D.C., and, yes, to the bewilderingly slow grind of Washington politics.

For the last month or so, I have been tracking the progress of proposals to address the housing crisis. The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, which was introduced more than a year ago, may indeed become law next week. The president withdrew his veto, the bill passed the House, and the Senate should pass it to the president for his signature. But it may not; the hopeful wind of swift enactment has carried this bill before -- only to leave with members of Congress for the July 4 recess.

After witnessing more than 2 million foreclosures, plummeting stock prices, and an increasingly beaten path from foreclosure to homelessness, I hope that this time the proposal will become policy. Call me impatient, but one would think that broad bipartisan support in the House and the Senate, a measured endorsement from the White House, and the plight of millions of Americans would have given birth to a law by now. Nope. The wheels keep turning, and at long last, something may come out.

I am tired of waiting. Millions of lives are looking to Washington for action. I cannot help but feel impatient. No, I choose to be impatient. And perhaps the Holy Spirit is stirring -- maybe even causing -- this impatience to move me to action. If you are willing to consider the possibility that a holy impatience occasionally summons us to act, and further willing to entertain the possibility that this impatience is calling us to act on the housing bill, I urge you to do something. Call your congressperson. Organize in the streets. Inform your faith community about the crisis. Maybe do all three.

Andrew Wilkes is a policy and organizing intern at Sojourners. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary.

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