Faith & Democracy

faith-democracy

My guess is that whenever most of us associate Jesus and sheep, the first thing that comes to mind about Jesus is that he’s the shepherd. But that isn’t what the writer of the Gospel of John records as Jesus’ own first association about himself and the sheep. Jesus-the-shepherd comes in second. The first thing Jesus says about himself in relation to the sheep is that he is the “gate” – not the gatekeeper, mind you, but the gate itself. He is the gate that has permanence, that endures.

Legislative success is rarely a "sure thing," and we measure progress (or the lack thereof) on our priorities on a step-by-step basis. In these final seven days, we are optimistic that some of our bills are moving steadily toward passage, while others have stalled. Rest assured, our policy advocacy will continue until the session ends on May 31, 2011.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its 2011 class of fellows Tuesday, April 19. Included in the prestigious group of new fellows is PCG's very own Franklin I. (Chris) Gamwell.

Chris Gamwell was present at the creation of Protestants for the Common Good fifteen years ago. He has been and continues to be a central load-bearing pillar of the organization – as someone who thinks deeply, writes and speaks eloquently, and guides us with penetrating faith and reason.

Statewide: The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law is co-hosting a national audio conference with Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky, who will offer her inside view on the latest budget developments and potential implications for low-income families. The conference will take place from 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. and all are welcome to participate.

Christians in the English-speaking world may be surprised to learn that a new “Bible” has appeared and has quickly rushed to be the number one seller on Amazon’s spirituality category. It is not, however, a Bible with which Christians are familiar, at least in this form. Rather, it is a “Bible” assembled for humanists, secularists, atheists, and erstwhile religionists.

Given the global attention received last fall by the Florida pastor who announced that he would burn the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11, I was frankly surprised to learn that he had found a way to break his promise and burn one anyway.

Over the years, I’ve met some rather opinionated people. Some of them I actually liked. Some I thought were really brilliant and others were sadly out-of-touch. Most let their views be known with candor and humility, though some were arrogant and contentious. But what they all have in common is this: They have an opinion, it’s theirs, and they’re sticking by it.

Evidently Jesus and the disciples were simply out for a stroll. He wasn’t out to pick a fight with anyone, so far as we can tell from the fascinating story told in the 9th chapter of the Gospel of John, and there’s no suggestion that these strollers had any particular destination in mind. The narrative just tells us that as they were walking along, they spotted someone along the roadside who had been blind from birth.

It hasn’t yet become a daily routine, this going to the well of Congress to approve stopgap-spending bills so the federal government (and, yes, state and local governments, too, since they rely on federal funds for their functionings) can continue to operate. But during this fiscal year, the temporary budget approvals have ranged from three days, to two weeks (twice), to two months, to ten weeks. The spending bill being considered currently is for another three weeks.

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