The Common Good

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post Press Items
When Lisa Sharon Harper accepted Jesus in her teen years, she did so under the wing of white evangelicals. And they instructed her that accepting Jesus also meant a political conversion--to the Republican Party. Never mind Harper's budding progressivism and the fact she was black and growing up in a staunch Democratic home. For the most part, there has been a clear understanding in evangelical America that to be born-again is to be a Republican-- to the point where those two words, "evangelical" and "Republican," have become virtually synonymous.
The past twenty years have seen tremendous engagement around racial, cultural, and gender diversity. Millenials (ages 18-29) are generally knowledgeable about such identity differences and far better equipped to have a respectful, nuanced discussion of these issues than their parents and grandparents.
The common good and the quality of our life together will finally be determined by the personal decisions we all make. The "commons" -- those places where we come together as neighbors and citizens to share public space -- will never be better than the quality of human life, or the human flourishing, in our own lives and households.
Jim Wallis, America's leading prophetic voice, came to The City Club of San Diego recently to speak about his new book, "On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good."
On Memorial Day weekend, our family of four participated in six baseball games! Having just returned from a six-week book tour, it was such a refreshing change from discussing our nation's politics, which is all the media wants to talk about and is more and more well, disgusting.
Evangelical groups launched another ad blitz on Thursday in support of immigration reform. A $250,000 buy will show ads in 13 states through next week, broadening the groups' effort after $100,000 in ad spending in four states last month. The ads from the Evangelical Immigration Table -- which includes conservative groups and more progressive ones -- will feature coalition leaders and local pastors.
What I have heard after visiting 18 cities in six weeks is that people around the country believe that nothing can happen in Washington, D.C. They are basically right. So I am very grateful today to report the one exception. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a new comprehensive immigration reform bill with a bipartisan vote. Did you hear that: "bipartisan." Amid heartbreaking news of the destruction, grief, and heroism we have seen in Moore, Okla., from one of the worst tornados in American history, millions of Americans found a reason to be hopeful.
Violence against women is the most prevalent and the most hidden injustice in our world today. From rape as a weapon of war, to human trafficking, to the attack of a young girl seeking an education, the treatment of women and girls across the globe is in a state of crisis.
For what have I been working? I have worked and still work for, what Pastor Jim Wallis might call, "the common good."
This week marked six months since Superstorm Sandy left entire communities devastated, families homeless, and many with little hope. But in the midst of this natural disaster, many banded together. As is true with many of our nation's tragedies, recent and throughout our history, communities form and hope emerges amid struggle. Sandy taught us about resilience. It showed us what it truly means to reach out, serve, and love our neighbor.