Politics, Citizenship, and the Gospel Imagination
As the election season continues to intensify, America is facing an unprecedented wave of cynicism, discouragement, and polarization. Many people are ready to give up on politics.Some are struggling to understand how the Gospel should shape their political engagement. Other people struggle to know how to tangibly get involved with politics beyond the election in November.
Our churches are filled with people who are weary, frustrated, and confused. But, what if we could imagine a different way?
Imagine if God’s people. . .
- were known for political discourse that displays the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as people with both deep convictions and generous civility.
- pursued a political vision that’s rooted in the love of neighbor rather than the love of money.
- cared for the whole scope of life in God’s world, refusing to choose between economics and the environment; young mothers and unborn children; national security and national hospitality; justice and peace; or any of the other binary decisions that the world tells us we must make.
- were motivated by the love of Christ rather than the love of self.
Imagine if we. . .
- respected and partnered with people on the “Right” and the “Left,” but refused to be owned by the idols of either party.
- engaged in local action more than national speculation.
- amplified the voice of the most vulnerable rather than the voice of the highest bidder.
Imagine if we. . .
- were known as people who spent more time thinking, reading, and praying about political issues than engaging in social media debates.
- developed a long-term vision that perseveres beyond the short-sighted rhythms of the election cycle.
- saw elections as a means of loving our neighbors, rather than a means of finding our Saviors.
Our goal for this Surge Lunch is to create space to step outside of the national debates and stimulate conversations about how to lead the church in these turbulent times, helping God’s people engage in public issues as a distinct people who love well and bear witness to Christ.
Therefore, we’ve invited speakers/panelists:
1) Sho Baraka, a co-founder of the And Campaign, was educated at Tuskegee University and the University of North Texas where he studied Television/Film, Anthropology, and Public Administration. He has become an artist, philosopher, and social thought leader in contemporary culture. He has spent nine years traveling the world as a recording artist and public speaker. He has done numerous overseas activist work, ranging from race relations in South Africa to establishing musical cohorts in Indonesia. He is a founding member of nationally known Christian hip hop group 116 Clique. Sho Baraka is also the founder of Forth District and the And Campaign. (Only at the Wednesday Lunch)
2) Stephanie Summers is the CEO of the Center for Public Justice, an independent, non-partisan civic education and public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. CPJ works to equip citizens, develop leaders and shape policy through a variety of initiatives including its publications Capital Commentary and Shared Justice. She is a co-author with Michael J. Gerson and Katie Thompson of Unleashing Opportunity: Why Escaping Poverty Requires a Shared Vision of Justice (Falls City Press, 2015).
3) Katie Thompson is the Editor of Shared Justice, the Center for Public’s online publication for twenty and thirty somethings. In 2015 Thompson co-authored Unleashing Opportunity: Why Escaping Poverty Requires a Shared Vision of Justice with Michael Gerson and Stephanie Summers. She also serves on behalf of CPJ as a steering committee member of Faith for Just Lending, a coalition dedicated to ending predatory payday lending. Thompson graduated from Gordon College with a degree in communication arts and a minor in political science. A native of New Jersey, she now resides in Washington, DC. (Only at the Wednesday Lunch)