Headlines from First Thoughts

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

White House Briefing with Baptists

Greetings from Washington D.C. Today I attended a briefing at the invitation of Robert Parham of Ethicsdaily.com, Ricky Creech of the D.C. Baptist Convention, and the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership department of the White House Office of Public Engagement. We met in the Eisenhower administration building with sixty pastors and representatives of the broader Baptist family. It was an alphabet soup of people in SBC, ABC, CBF, and other congregations in the spirit of "Goodwill" Baptists. We came not to speak for our churches. We came to speak to the administration about significant issues and to listen to the White House's initiatives.

The topics included human sex trafficking, disaster relief, the housing crisis, lending and mortgage scams, and clean water and air. We heard from each other about critical issues going on in local congregations. We learned from the Obama administration about the faith-based initiatives that are taking root across the country. Fourteen federal agencies have a faith-based office at some level.

By law, the Office of Public Engagement is not allowed to be involved in election year partisanship. We stayed away from politics and focused on Amos's mandate to "let justice roll." We looked for the common good that all of us share.

Here's the original news piece about the story from ethicsdaily.com.

Here's a link to the White House office.

If you have not read the twitter feed, be sure to check it out.

Here are a few takeaways--
Within 48 hours of leaving home, one-half of runaways will be picked up for sex trafficking.

There are ninety Payday lenders in the City of Birmingham-- more payday lenders than Starbucks.

Churches can be actively engaged in declaring a Jubilee for those caught up in the mortgage crisis, student loan debt, foreclosure, and payday lending scams.

I am humbled to be a part of this group. I learned so much about the work going on around the country in churches just like mine. The conversation has just begun.

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