A Spirit of Kindness and Gratitude

A Spirit of Kindness and Gratitude

A Spirit of Kindness and Gratitude
Advocacy with the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California

State Assembly Chaplain Bob Oshita (Buddhist) opened a recent floor session with a meditation on kindness and gratitude. That same day, a woman crossed a busy intersection in front of me, gesturing and speaking incoherently, apparently under the influence and/or mentally ill, a “street person.” When the traffic signal changed before she cleared the crosswalk, a driver blared on his horn and drove toward her. In the closing chapter of Terry Tempest Williams book on the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, focused on the Cesar Chavez National Monument, she writes about Karen Armstrong and compassion, and how compassion is associated with “disturbance” (perhaps the movement of the Holy Spirit?). (Both Williams and Armstrong were at the Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake).

In the procession from the Marin Ave. campus of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary to its new location in downtown Berkeley, a banner at a UC gate proclaimed “Stories in the making.”  Our Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly met under the tag line of “Telling our stories.”  There is much to be disturbed about these days, and there are many stories in the making. Our God-given gifts of hearts and minds, hands, feet, and voices, stories and statistics, emotion and evidence, drama and data, and feelings and facts have much to offer in the public arena as we witness as Lutheran Christians, church together for the sake of the world.

The Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California is part of the Domestic Mission Unit of the ELCA, working with the ELCA’s Washington DC Office. The DC staff is focused on immigration, health care, climate change and energy, and tax policy and the federal budget. Please join that effort! Here in California, the legislative deadline for bills to pass their house of origin was June 2, and there is a rich array of measures to advance poverty prevention and relief, health and human services, immigration, criminal justice reform, and care for creation. These challenges often represent the consequences of discrimination and racism, and present as “hunger” – the inability to meet basic needs.  LOPP (with staff, pastors, church members) has recently participated in advocacy days on food and nutrition, early childhood, immigration, LGBT issues (the immigration track), and the Free Our Dreams Day hosted by the Alliance of Boys and Men of Color.   Interfaith Power & Light Lobby Day is June 20. There are opportunities for you!  Share your stories with us and elected officials, and join us on Facebook and Twitter (@loppcalifornia).  Communicate regularly with your elected leaders, as the advocacy team at Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Davis does so faithfully, every month.

Your generous gifts to ELCA World Hunger provide core support for ELCA Advocacy Ministry churchwide – a great story!  Your 2nd Mile gifts broaden and deepen advocacy ministry in California, enabling LOPP to seize opportunities, participate in direct advocacy, and engage others in public witness in ways that would not be possible otherwise.  Thank you!  Let’s continue to seek and speak the truth in love, kindness, and gratitude (including for the witness of Martin Luther), telling God’s story of justice and grace and freedom in Christ for all.

Pentecost power and peace,

Mark E. Carlson, Director
916-661-1910 c; 916-447-6666 o