“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
-Amos 5:10-25

How many of you like change? I like the change I initiate. But as we live into this season it is easy to see we are in a season of change. There always seems to be a season of change, the question is how do we initiate the change we hear called for from our God; especially when we do not all agree on what that change needs to be?

You might be familiar with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, he is a Disciples of Christ pastor from North Carolina and he has been heading up the New Poor Peoples campaign: A National Call for Moral revival.

Today, many issues in our country that have bible foundations as moral issues have been politicized. It is now difficult to read Isaiah or Amos without people saying that we are being political, when these prophets were simply calling for the rights of the poor.

So some of you might not appreciate this Mile Marker as I talk about the actions of the New Poor Peoples campaign.

Recently I went to their organizing meeting at McCarty Memorial CC, (The 1000 seat sanctuary was full) and I went to their training meeting last month for those who are interested in participating in one of the 6 rallies taking place in Sacramento this spring.

This is all new for me, organizing for action. Several pastors from our Region are a part of the leadership for the California activities, so I went to support them and learn.

As I came home my brother, who usually has very different opinions than I do, asked what this was about. I told him this was a movement to change the national narrative about poverty, racism, (peace) war economy and care for the ecology.

One of the most amazing parts of the training was to see the on-line check in of people in 46 trainings in 30 states across the nation all being trained at the same time for 40 days non-violent action.

What I learned was that organizing often assumes every one is informed and on board with the ideals of the movement but that is not always reality. There were people there from churches and unions and social action groups. People who care about the needs or women and children, our education system, our immigration concerns, needs of the poor, issues of racism, people seeking peace in a country that currently spends 53 cents of every federal discretionary dollar on military spending and only 15 cents on anti-poverty programs with 140 million people who are poor or low-income and people whose concern is care for the ecology.

What I learned was this movement seeks to encourage impacted people to step forward so this nation can see the poverty and pain in this nation; the movement is seeking to make this nation cry together about the suffering in our nation so people will seek change together.

One of the important items lifted up in the training for Non-Violent action, was to listen to person opposing, and try to understand what is at the core of their concern, listening from our hearts and listen to words spoken.

It takes courage to listen, courage to listen to the voices of those who do not agree with us/me/you.

* Courage to listen to the needs of the world
* Courage to listen to the people who are struggling
* Courage to listen to the protests of people
* Courage to listen to the brokenness
* Courage to listen to people who have different ideas about how the world should be
* Courage to listen to the voices of complaint, pain, need, brokenness, protest.

Don and I will be in Sacramento along with other pastors from the Region on May 14th for the first of 6 weekly actions, this one on the needs of the women and children in our country and the issues of education. Please pray for this movement so together we have the courage to listen and to change the national narrative about poverty, racism, (peace) war economy and care for the ecology.

Together on the journey,
Don and Susan Your Regional Ministers

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt