Ongoing comment and dialogue on being a new church in a new world - A Blog by John Montgomery
[The Bible] is not, for a start, a list of rules, though it contains many commandments of various sorts and in various contexts. Nor is it a compendium of true doctrines, though, of course, many parts of the Bible declare great truths about God, Jesus, the world and ourselves in no uncertain terms. Most of its constituent parts, and all of it when put together (whether in the Jewish canonical form or the Christian form), can best be described as story. This is a complicated and much-discussed theme, but there is nothing to be gained by ignoring it. - N.T. Wright
Friday, September 5, 2008
Recently a colleague of mine pointed out that in the coverage of the Republican convention, how utterly homogeneous it appeared. Actually, one explanation is that all those Blacks, Latinos, Asians and youth are all there, it is just that perverse liberal media that keeps the cameras from revealing their presence. I did see two black men and one black woman. There was one Asian man but I really did not see anybody obviously Hispanic. I am sure they were there.
Not much else needs to be said. I will be glad when our two candidates actually debate each other. Maybe we can move beyond the cute side shows.
The most telling event of the evening was both Giuliani’s and Palin’s apparent ignorance about the time honored strategy of change and empowerment represented by community organizing. I will say much more in a future post. Needless to say, community organizing is about all those people who were not present at the Republican convention tonight. So I hope everybody had a great laugh. It’s one reason; I can’t and won’t vote Republican. It is the reason that tonight I made another donation online for Obama’s campaign.
Perhaps, a little background will help here. In the late 80s, following my graduation from seminary, I was hired as the Executive Director of the Institute on the Church in Urban-Industrial Society (ICUIS) in Hyde Park. I hope to come back to this work soon and talk about some of my research, but I thought I would share a paper written by young Obama on the subject of community organizing. Maybe if Giuliani had read the paper, he wouldn’t have looked so elitist tonight.
During the four years I was director of ICUIS, we focused on documenting a new trend in the traditional community organizing strategies of persons like Saul Alinsky and the work of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). During that time, I was able to do research on the more than 100 ‘congregation-based community organizing efforts” across the country and publish several studies. In Chicago, one of the key groups facilitating such organizing was the Gamaliel Foundation that helped organize The Developing Communities Project and GREAT on Chicago’s Southside.
Obama was right in the middle of these efforts. And it is his instinct as an organizer that makes me so interested in his candidacy. I have paraphrased his comments more than once where he says, “What people don’t get is that it is not about me, but it is about we.”
I am a Christian activist living and working in the Atlanta area. Father of two adult children and member of Glenn United Methodist Church. A seminary trained layperson, I hold graduate degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary. I am a fundraiser and am presently focussed on hunger issues.