The Common Good

President Obama: Honor Your Call to the Common Good

While my friend, Christine, sent me iPhone photos of the thousands of ecstatic Chicagoans she partied with last night in Grant Park, I pondered what I would write to you this morning. As a pastor's wife, a mother, grandmother, and advocate for global engagement, I've decided to make a simple request: that you honor your commitment to call the American people to sacrifice and selfless giving for the common good. Last night you called it "a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other." I love that! In churches and faith-based organizations across this country, Christian leaders are calling their congregations and constituencies to do just that.

As I write, Christians across all denominational lines are praying for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan; donating money for refugees in the Eastern Congo and Darfur; restocking food pantries throughout the U.S. and sending food to Zimbabwe and Ethiopia; producing films about the impact of climate change on the world's poor; sending medical kits to African volunteers who care for people with AIDS; rescuing women and girls from sex trafficking; calling on wealthy Christians to establish emergency funds for Americans who are losing their jobs or homes.

Centrist and progressive Christian leaders believe we have been called to advocate for peace and justice and to protect the vulnerable-from the unborn to senior citizens, from the poor in American cities to the desperately poor in African villages. Even during this financial downturn we are calling our constituencies to give generously of their money and their time. We ask and pray that you will similarly call your constituency-the American people-to wholehearted and personal sacrifice for the good of this country and the world.

Lynne Hybels is the cofounder of Willow Creek Community Church (in Barrington, Illinois) and author of Nice Girls Don't Change the World.

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