Sometimes, the timing of events seems almost providential.
For more than a year, Sojourners has been discussing and planning to launch a campaign called A Million Christians for Social Justice.
We have talked, dreamed, and prayed about the possibility and power of bringing together, from across the life of the churches, the many voices that are calling for social justice. There are many of us now -- Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, Catholics and Pentecostals, Black, Hispanic, and Asian-American churches -- focusing our personal faith on the most urgent public issues our world is facing. From human trafficking to HIV/AIDS, from inner-city education to global poverty, from racial justice to nuclear weapons, from immigrant families to access to health care, from the status of women and girls to conflict resolution in the Middle East, from creation care to homelessness -- Christian voices are being heard and people of faith are mobilizing.
We are all being called to a deeper commitment to Jesus Christ and to living out his kingdom of love and justice. A stronger and authentic voice with moral authority beyond mere partisan politics needs to be heard on social justice. That voice can both speak truth to power and bring people together across cultural and political lines to act for justice.
Glenn Beck's attacks on deeply held Christian principles of social justice have ironically brought newfound attention, focus, and discussion about what it truly means to be a "social justice Christian." As wrong and often vitriolic as his caricatures, insults, and attacks on such core gospel teachings and biblical tenets have been, they have provided what is often called a "teachable moment" and perhaps a mobilizing moment as well. The Beck attack on Christian social justice has given us an opportunity to teach what true gospel principles are and offers us an opportunity to reach out to even more people who are being attracted by the biblical call to social justice -- which is the mission statement of Sojourners.
So we are now discerning whether this is the right time to move beyond the discussions and, as Congressman John Lewis says, "put some feet on our prayers" and launch A Million Christians for Social Justice.
Sure, we'd be responding to Glenn Beck, but we believe we'd really be responding to our own calling to stand up for the poor and vulnerable and to stand against the conditions, institutions, and polices that further poverty. It could be a moment to speak out and to serve. The attacks of poverty on vulnerable families and children, the attacks of hunger on entire communities, the attacks of economic inequities on hardworking people, the attacks of war on civilians who get caught in the crossfire, are all much harsher attacks than anything Beck can hurl at us. These are the attacks we must address. These are the attacks we are called to fight.
A Million Christians for Social Justice will bring us together to fight injustice and inequality, to fight hunger and hopelessness, and, ultimately, to love and nourish all the souls that are a part of God's creation -- and to do so in the name of Jesus.
By adding your voice as one of a million, you will allow us to work toward building a large and active network to help people find each other, as well as find kindred spirits and churches in their own communities; you'll help connect people and churches who want to work on the same issues and share both vital resources and stories for deepening our understanding and commitment to faith-based social justice; and when needed, your voice will help focus our attention, energy, and a united prophetic voice on urgent matters of common concern. That will require an investment in new technology and expert staff, something hard to do in the current economic climate without the assurance that there's a movement behind us to help make it happen.
Your honest feedback is important. Join us in making this decision. Join us in prayer, and join us with your comments, responses, and, finally, your commitment. Do you like the vision of A Million Christians for Social Justice? Has the time for such a movement finally come?
So we want to try this out with you. Would you join such a network and movement of faith and action? Would you be one of a million voices connecting, speaking, and acting in a common witness? We can create change in our society, and indeed are called to. To make this a reality, we need a strong indication from our constituents that this campaign is the way to go: Click here to leave a comment and tell us your ideas.
Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street -- A Moral Compass for the New Economy, CEO of Sojourners and blogs at www.godspolitics.com.
Follow Jim Wallis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimwallis