On Saturday I gathered with many others at the Federal Plaza downtown to stand vigil with the families and children who have had a parent detained and deported. Families are being torn apart as our broken immigration policy causes people who have American citizen children and spouse's, who may even have a green card - a registered, documented resident in this country - in the case of one of the speakers - an American veteran of the gulf war - And they will take them and deport them and let the family fend for itself. Children come home from school and discover no one's home, the parents are gone.
You can't help but look at these children and hear their stories and know that this is wrong.
This is my first post on a big new part of my life - a public advocate for the voiceless and oppressed. I'm the only white evangelical type around at the multiple meetings I've been to over the last month - the rest are the folks who have always been there. I hope my presence there is a sign of a new movement by many who are people of faith, but who realize that we have been running so hard after power - the evangelical impulse to control the government and force this nation to be Christian - that we have forgotten Christ's role as an advocate for the weak and oppresed. The rise of the new religious left - people of faith leaving the religious right and it's power and money focus, and moving towards the left and it's focus on social justice and advocacy - is going to be one of the biggest new streams of change in this coming election. I predict the new religious left will be the new soccer mom's.
All the prophets were essentially advocates for the oppressed, speaking out against the oppresor. The scriptures are clear over and over about welcoming the stranger and the foreigner (more on that in another post).
Christianity is not about taking over the centers of power, it's about creating goodness and justice and fairness in society by serving, by associating with the lowly and the poor.
In a short time, I am going to be a part of a simultaneous nationwide launching of a new movement to protect the oppressed. It's been a very exciting month for me with numerous conference calls and organizing activities as we prepare New York, LA and Chicago along with 20 other cities to proclaim our intents and actions - I have to be purposefully vague because we have a press embargo until we launch.
I've already been involved in two press conferences that we planned not only for the issue itself, but also to be some practice in front of the cameras for the big one that's coming. I'm so grateful for these practice one's because I've really learned a lot. It's pretty funny, I've never even been to a press conference. And to be honest, it's kind of a giddy exciting feeling to know that you are being taken seriously and they are going to broadcast what you say.
I feel like I understand what has driven evangelical leadership towards their grasp for power - it is a heady experience to be listened to and to have influence - but from this I take a strong lesson - to remember that my voice is to be used to advocate for the poor and needy and afflicted - not to take over the power centers. Always from the bottom up, not from the top down.