Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stirring Things Up

Shrimp here. "Stir up your power, O Lord, and come," begins the the Prayer of the Day on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. (We've uses the LBW version here; ELW updates "O Lord" to "Lord Christ.") That was Sunday.

Tuesday came the ELCA News headline, "Lutheran Bishops Offer Ideas to White House to Stir Economy." Begins the article,
In a Dec. 16 letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, a caucus of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) bishops acknowledged economic challenges and suggested opportunities for job creation. The group met with Martha Coven, special assistant to the president for mobility and opportunity policy, to present the letter and discuss the status of hunger and economic insecurity in the United States.

In the letter the bishops wrote, "We see firsthand the effects that unemployment has on individuals, families and communities. While we are there to counsel and comfort, we are also committed to encouraging policies that can spur job growth."

The bishops' letter outlined a number of propositions for job creation such as small business development, job retraining, green jobs for low-income people and expanding public service programs.

The caucus asked for particular consideration of sustainable development for low-income communities, as well as sustaining the environment and people living in poverty through investments in green jobs and clean energy technology.
Go ahead, read the news release here. We'll wait...

Stirred up yet? Remember, these are the same church leaders who are unable to publicly express a common word about the proper context for the expression of human sexuality. Leaders in a church that just let 40 of its own employees go in the midst of it's own financial panic. Here's their letter offering economic advice to the President of the United States :
U.S. Hunger and Povery Caucus
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

God's work. Our Hands.

December 16, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's U.S. Hunger and Poverty Caucus, whose purpose is to mobilze biships of the ELCA to speak publicly and prophetically about the problem of hunger and poverty in America and influence legislation aimed at reducing them. We write to you with acute awareness of the effects of the current recession on individuals and families struggleing to make ends meet. We also know that you and your Administration have given particular attention to job creation and the economy in recent days and weeks.

As a church, we are committed to talking with people about the challenges they face in their work, as well as counseling and supporting those who are unemployed, underemployed, and undergoing job transitions. We see first had the effects that unemployment has on individuals, families, and communities. While we are there to counsel and comfort, we are also committed to encouraging policies that can spur job growth. There is no replacement for a good job.

With that in mind, we add our collective voice to the current national discussion about jobs and job creation. We call for the following: public and private sector partnerships to create jobs and job rethention programs; national economic policies that support and advance the goal of low unemployment;
Shrimp can't resist an interruption here: Ya think ELCA Advocacy will now recommend lowering the minimum wage?
and skill and language enhancement training that will enable the most vulnerable, including new immigrants, to become beter prepared for jobs.

As you consider a myriad of ideas, we ask that you give particular consideration to the following two overriding principles:
  • Sustainable development of low-income communities. In many low-income communities — rural and urban — disinvestment and neglect have taken their toll. In contrast, there are examples of sustainable community economic development that take into account the overall health and welfare people, the environment, and the local economy. Such an approach creates jobs, prepares people for work, generates income that is re-circulated several times in the community, and sustains and renews environmental resources, all for the sake of a community's long-term viability
  • Sustaining the environment and people living in poverty through investments in green jobs and clean energy technology. The growth of economic activity during the twentieth century, and the industrialization and consumerism that fueled it, radically changed the relationship between humans and the earth. Investment in clean energy technology and the jobs that such investment create can serve the dual purpose of lifting individuals and families out of poverty and repairing our finite, fragile ecological system upon which human and all other life depends.
We have also attached a complilation of more specific ideas, gathered from among the ELCA's network of 18 state public policy offices.
Shrimp, interrupting again. Those ideas can be found here along with this letter.
Thank you for your consideration, and please contact Robert Francis in the ELCA Washington Office to follow up on this letter or any of the attached Suggestions.


Bishop Michael Burk, Southeastern Iowa Synod

Bishop Jessica Crist, Montana Synod

Bishop Robert Driesen, Upper Susquehanna Synod

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Northeastern Ohio Synod

Bishop Marcus Lorhmann, Northwestern Ohio Synod

Bishop James Mauney, Virginia Synod and Convener of the Domenstic Ready Bench

Bishop David Zellmer, South Dakota Synod.
Shrimp again, wishing you a blessed last days of Advent. Stir up...

Shrimp out.

1 comment:

Marshall Hahn said...

Whenever I read of bishops, pastors, or other clerical types tell me they are "speaking prophetically" I always hang on tight to my wallet.

Marshall Hahn

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...