Friday, July 9, 2010

NY Faith & Justice July Newsletter

Betray the Age
July 2010
(w/ special appeal)
Dear NY Faith & Justice Friends and Family,

Have you ever been told a lie--the kind that shapes your view of the world or your relationships in it? Have you believed it with your whole heart and mind and shaped your life and dreams around it? I have.

I've been thinking about truth and lies lately--about their power to shape our worldview, our actions, our communities, and our worship.

A month ago we sat in a D.C. conference room staring at a large blank flip-chart page taped to a wall. Seven New York Faith & Justice leaders and board members had joined 50 others representing teams from across the U.S. at the first annual National Faith & Justice Network Training Conference, Conspire: How to Build a Faith & Justice Movement in Your City.

Alexia Salvatierra, our lead trainer and the executive director of CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) in California, explained that afaith-rooted approach to organizing begins with the identification of "core lies"-- lies that everyone in your community assumes are true, regardless of their race, class, or education.

So, on this day, teams from Arizona, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Boston, Seattle, California, South Carolina, Washington DC, and New York City were broken into regional groups to discern "core lies" that most people in our cities or regions believe to be true.

The New Yorkers sat with empty flip-chart paper taped to the wall and it didn't take long. Within minutes a long list emerged that we eventually narrowed down to two core lies:
  1. The ideology of individualism (i.e. "I am an island unto myself." "What I do only matters to me." "I gotta get mine.")
  2. Money = God. It demands the sacrifice of certain human beings on its altar.
There was heavy silence in the room as we took it in and considered what our own lives would be like if we really believed the truth:
  1. We are our brother's keeper (Genesis 4:9-10). True fasting is not to choose a day to humble oneself, it is to loose the bonds of injustice. It is to share your bread with the hungry and invite the homeless into your house (Isaiah 58:5-7) Do not worry about your life, strive first for the kingdom of God and the rest will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:25-34)
  2. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3) You cannot serve God and wealth. (Matthew 6:24) All human beings are made in the image of God and, as such, are worthy of equal dignity and access to basic needs, including: food, shelter, work, and the ability to migrate (Genesis 1:26-28)
Then we considered a few ways the lies are manifest in our world:
  • BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: up to 100,000 gallons per day killing ecosystems that God gave us the responsibility to steward. We failed to steward properly because we valued big money over regulation and stewardship of people and land.
  • Financial system and devaluation of work and workers: Workers to executives wage gap is greatest since the years before the Great Depression.
  • Food and Health Disparities: The reality of "food deserts" in a city known for fine restaurants.
  • Broken Immigration System: Arizona immigration law passed. It devalues human beings, breaks up families, and encourages separate and unequal classes of people through the normalization of racial profiling. And more than 60% of the US likes the law.
  • Normalized Violence: Creation of "throw-away" neighborhoods through the pervasive belief that some neighborhoods will just always be violent. All we can do is contain the violence there to make sure it doesn't spread to the "good" neighborhoods.

Then a member and financial partner of NY Faith and Justice, said: "This reminds me of part of an Irish poem, by Brendan Kennely. 'If you want to serve the age, betray it.'"

What does it look like to betray the age in our world, in our city, in your neighborhood? Well, for the months of July and August we will share one short story per week of people living in our city who are betraying the age. And each week we'll give you a few more ideas of ways you can betray the age in your daily life.

SpecialAppealAlso each week we will give you the opportunity to partner with the work of NY Faith & Justice to betray the age. Right now we are working to raise $25,000 in new and renewed individual financial partnerships.Contributions from people like you make the Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice, Conversations for Change, and all of our work on Immigration Reform possible. If you haven't renewed your membership, now is the time. If you've been waiting to partner with us, today is the day!

This week we'd like to suggest a simple way you can personally betray the age. Hold off on buying that new iPad or give up one trip to Starbucks or the movies per month. Do you really need another pair of strappy sandals? Instead, betray the age and
contribute $5/mth, $10/mth, $25/mth, $50/mth, $100/mth or more to the work of NY Faith & Justice.

NYFJ T-Shirt Male***All who give $10/mth or more will receive a complimentary NY Faith & Justice T-Shirt!
Don't forget to use the "Designation" box on the online giving page to indicate your size and let us know if you want a male or female cut.

NYFJ T-Shirt Female

NOTE: If you prefer not to give online you can send checks made payable to "FCNY/NY Faith & Justice" to:

NY Faith & Justice
c/o Partnership
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500
New York, NY 10115

Here are a few more awesome ways you can begin to betray the age right where you are!

Thank you for your contin
ued prayers and partnership and don't forget to follow us on Follow us on Twitter , Find us on Facebook, the nyfj blog or the nyfj calendar for up to the minute action alerts, program changes, and details.


Lisa Sharon Harper
Co-founder and Executive Director
New York Faith & Justice

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