Thursday, February 28, 2008

notes on becoming

Please read Jim Wallis' excellent post over at God's Politics on Barack Obama's faith and share it widely.

You can view Barack's speech on faith at the Call to Renewal/Sojourners here.

Last night at the gym I was watching some of the cable news shows (we don't have cable at home) and I became deeply troubled by the political coverage. Rather than talking about moral issues of real concern like how to: end the war, become better stewards of the earth, and make this country more just (healthcare, living wage, affordable housing) there seemed to be nothing but fear-mongering and the raising of silly questions about a candidate's patriotism based on their wardrobe. Is this really who we are America? I don't think so.

As I peddled away at the gym, I turned off the TV and looked out the window, at the Bay Bridge lit up against the night sky and recalled "the bridge to the 21st century" that President Clinton kept talking about in his last years in office. What progress and hope and possibility one could feel about our country's future then. The reality is that like San Francisco, this country's future is a "work in progress" not a done deal and we all need to become part of the building of that future rather than passive receivers of someone else's dream or nightmare. So far my little exposure to the good work of community organizers has taught me that awesome things can happen when people and organizations come together across race, economic, and political divides.

Speaking of San Francisco - the more I get to know this city the more I realize just how much we need to do to help this city live into the values and vision of its patron saint, Francis of Assisi. While we are green, we aren't anywhere near green enough to reverse the effects of global warming or to ensure that children are not being contaminated by toxic waste. While we are inclusive and welcoming, we are not to everyone especially the poor (take a look at the proposed city budget cuts that effect services to the most down and out). While the vast majority of this city's residents are against the war, we have not done enough collectively to end it. Francis of Assisi viewed all the earth as his brothers and sisters and lived an extraordinarily simple life. Francis more than just tolerating the poor made his home among them. Francis not only stood against the violent crusades, he met with an enemy leader the Sultan Melek-el-Kamel, the leading Muslim of the time according to John Dear.

So I've begun thinking a lot lately about the word "becoming" --- I'm not San Franciscan, I'm "becoming" San Franciscan and the city where I dwell is "becoming San Francisco" we are way far from being worthy of the name. This country too is way far from being all that we might be, perhaps this election we might discover an invitation to get a little closer to becoming a people, a nation resembling the United States of America.