this morning was a was a very good morning at the conference.
first of all, friend, brother in Christ, speech writer (among many other things) to martin luther king jr., dr. vincent harding, shared about how important it is to consider ‘accompaniment’ with, identification among, and incorporation of the poor in the struggle against poverty. he challenged us to speak with one another, ask each other questions, and dialogue about the tough issues and questions that are naturally associated with this kind of work. we need to learn how to better hash through these things together. we need to learn how to pose the tough questions about immersion, race, relocation, etc.
then there was a panel of church leaders from different denominations. this included non-denominational, church of christ, the evangelical lutheran church of america, the assemblies of god, the reformed church of america, the catholic church and the micah challenge.
the amazing things that came out of this session are far to long to elaborate about here, but some of the topics addressed were:
-obstacles within the local church in pursuing poverty awareness and steps to eradicate it.
-getting the language of poverty alleviation and social justice into our local church documents and discipleship.
-dealing with the ‘political question’ that often arises.
-dealing with the term ‘evangelism.’
-creating accountability in the local church to pursue the things Christ commands of us.
-organizing new kinds of church models for a new generation and to address social issues.
as you can imagine, with the variety of panelists, and the deep nature of these questions and topics, there was a real wealth of information, insight and wisdom. aside from the great words and thoughts that each person had, it was especially encouraging to see each of these panelists, and thus the denominations that they represent, aspire to see both change and progress. furthermore, it was invigorating to see them rally together around some very core values like seeking the word of God, concentrating on discipleship, seeking wholeness in Christ, and both inward and outward movement in our faith journey.
finally, i joined a workshop on peace and poverty- discussing how the two are interrelated. i actually asked a question in this session, and i will share with you that question and some of the debate and conversation that ensued in my next post. for now, however, i have to get back for the final workshop i am attending titled: theology, scripture and social justice.