Of all the places that members on mission are needed, it’s in the wider world!
• Keeping up with the wider world
• Peacemaking in Mozambique
• A Just Minimum wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future
• Your County Board of Elections
• Sartre and Einstein
Miriam, a busy woman with a family and summer vacation cottages to promote and to maintain, makes sure she is up-to-date on state, national, and world affairs. Most of her information comes via internet groups to which she belongs. While she reads newspapers and magazines and follows TV news, she finds Canadian news broadcasts give a fuller picture of the world. And, she shares what she finds important with her friends face-to-face, by phone, and online. She never misses voting and participates in local groups that meet to discuss and take what action they can on wider world issues. Miriam says, “Christians have a moral obligation to make the world a better place and be aware of what’s going on in the world around you.” For her, God gives her “strength and faith that things can be better.”
The Rt. Rev. Dinis Salomoa Sengulane is the bishop of Lebombo in Mozambique on the southeast coast of Africa opposite Madagascar. When I met him at a conference in 1995, he told me how the civil war in his country had just ended. It surely is a story of mission in the wider world that needs telling.
The civil war had lasted seven years and left over 19 million dead. In 1993, the church leaders said at a meeting, “There has been enough killing.” They set to work to bring both parties to the peace table. A meeting was held in New York City with the leaders of the National Resistance of Mozambique – some were leaders of the primal or indigenous religions as well.
Sengulane spoke for the church leaders. He knew he was speaking to followers of the native religions and their leaders. He said: “There has been enough war. Here are some teachings about peace. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’ When can we set a date to sign the peacemakers?”
They said, “The readings are beautiful. But suppose we are not ready to set a date?”
Sengulane countered with, “Then whose children are you?”
They talked and set the date. On leaving, their leader asked for a copy of the passage the bishop had read.
The meeting with the government leaders went the same way: the reading of the passage; the denial of readiness to resist; the bishop’s challenge; the assent to setting a date to sign for peace.
A Just Minimum wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future produced by the American Friends Service Committee and the National Council of Churches USA. To raise the quality of life in poor families requires members on mission in the wider world who, working with others, achieve a just minimum wage. “Nationally, on average, households need about twice the level of the official poverty line to meet basic expenses (including minimally adequate housing, utilities, health care, food, child care, transportation, clothing, and other personal and household necessities and taxes – factoring in tax credits such as the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit). The $5.15 minimum wage – $10,712 a year full time – is inadequate for even a single person, much less a family (page 6). Phone 800-889-5733; fax 513-761-3722; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or write Friendship Press, 7820 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45237 for a copy at $5 plus shipping; group rates available.
Your County Board of Elections – that’s their name in New York.
Nearby is a picture of the Clinton County, New York’s Board of Elections office.
A staff of six manages a list of 45,000 voters from a population of 80,000. Yours is similar if not the same. Contact them for voter registration, change of address, nominating information, any question. Also, call your town or city board of elections for the same information. Get to know them. You will be surprised to learn how much is done to support your right to vote. Most of all, missionary, register to vote if you have not already done so. Remember, for a democracy to collapse, all it takes is enough good people not caring enough to vote.
Jean Paul Sartre:
“Avoiding responsibility for your own behavior is bad faith.”
“Perfection of means and confusion of goals seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age.”
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