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Progressive Christians Eyeing Political Fray

Progressive Christian Leaders Launching Nationwide Movement at Historic February Summit

Dallas, TX.  CrossLeft.org announced today that San  Francisco will be hosting the first major summit of progressive Christian leaders, an event that will launch a larger Christian movement capable of confronting the Religious Right on theological grounds.  On February 4-5, leaders from Sojourners, The Center for Progressive Christianity,
Progressive Christians Uniting, CrossWalk America, the Christian Alliance for Progress, Clergy Strategic Alliances, LLC, Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing, the Faith and Public Life Resource Center, Protestants for the Common Good and Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq will join bloggers and church leaders at Holy Innoccents Church in San Francisco to discuss their common agenda for fighting against poverty, racism, political corruption, and economic injustice.

The Rev. Jim Burklo, California pastor, TCPC Executive Council member and author of Open Christianity who will be in attendance, argues that the Christian agenda need not be  politically conservative.  He says, “We look forward to this summit  of leaders who are working together to change the dominant paradigm.”

This gathering follows newsbreaking interfaith conferences in Berkeley and Washington earlier this year, and more recently, an attack on a morally corrupt  Budget by Jim Wallis and other Leaders, in which progresive Christians stood  up against the values of Justice Sunday.

This summit will be the first to bring geographically dispersed progressive  Christian groups together as peers under one tent and will provide a unique  opportunity for progressive Christians to forge a common strategic plan  nationwide.  As Reverend Peter Laarman, Executive Director of Progressive  Christians Uniting argues, “This is the ideal time to create stronger  synergies and clearer common messages.”

Leaders will discuss  their plans for a progressive Christian presence in 2006 and beyond, planning  to collaborate on a massive campaign of media events, conferences, and marches.  Kety Esquivel, Executive Director of  CrossLeft, says, “The progressive Christians who preceded us -- the  abolitionists, the suffragists, the Civil rights movement – knew how to  harness fellowship towards political change It's time we come together to build  a movement.”

Participants will also discuss the online presence of progressive Christianity, and the need for progressive Christian think tanks, educational  institutions, and political lobbies. “In the struggle for the global  future, the movement that organizes, builds institutions, networks, harnesses technology, and converts more hearts, wins,” says Joanna Guldi, Communications Director for CrossLeft. “Progressives have a battle to fight for the soul of America, and the stakes are the culture of life against the culture of blind greed.”

For additional information
Kety Esquivel, Executive Director, CrossLeft, [email protected], T. 415.568.8002
Stephen Rockwell, Managing Director, CrossLeft, [email protected], T. 215.317.1865

Joanna Guldi, Communications Director, CrossLeft, [email protected]

CrossLeft is a strategy clearing-house and central hub for grassroots activism among progressive Christians.

We seek to provide a forum where progressive Christians reclaim  their political voice and evangelize for Jesus's social teachings. 

Jesus taught loving one’s neighbor as oneself. At CrossLeft  we believe that that means promoting welfare, healthcare, education, and opportunity for all, regardless of race, economic background, nation, or  sexuality. Our site receives thousands of visitors each day.

CrossLeft is built by an open community of volunteers nationwide.  In just nine short months, CrossLeft co-organized the Path to Action Conference at the
National Cathedral, DC and  has launched  CrossLeft.org a Website community, national progressive Christian calendar & portal  featuring the exclusive CrossLeft News Service;  a Speaker's Bureau; a  Research Institute; a monthly webzine; Weekly Podcasts; A Community Outreach Program: Faith  in Action and the CrossLeft College Network: Agitating  for Action.

Meet  Christianity that Works: www.CrossLeft.org

Posted by Kety Esquivel on January 9, 2006 at 05:56 PM | Permalink

Comments

Friends, I submitted my post a little early today, as I'm trying to entice other members of the CrossLeft Leadership Team over to My Vote is My Voice to join the discussion.

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 6:00:05 PM

It sounds like a great event Kety. It's amazing how in-person contact can generate action.

Online tools are necessary since we are all trying to coordinate across the country, but it can never take the place of face-to-face meetings.

Posted by: Jessica | Jan 9, 2006 7:38:39 PM

God is still speaking. In the Hebrew Bible we read of the story of Elijah where God told him to climb to the mountain-top for He would be passing by (1 Kings 19:11-12). As Elijah waited for God's presence, a hurricane wind ripped through the mountains. After the wind, an earthquake and then there came fire. Elijah looked for God in all of these forces of nature, but could not find Him. Instead, God could be found in the gentle whisper that followed the wind, the quake, and the fire; and it was in this gentle whisper that Elijah was told what path he should follow.

God is still speaking to us in this gentle whisper. Many of our fellow brothers and sisters have attempted to find God in the wind by ranting at gale-force levels of the evils of those who have a different view or towards those who might be different from us. Others have attempted to find God in the earth-shattering quake by ripping apart the foundations of fellowship with fellow believers, creating a "us against them" attitude that is incongruent with the teachings of Christ. Others still have tried to find God in the fire by damning specific groups (including fellow Christians) or individual people to hell without giving any real solutions for how to avoid such a place.

There is a better way: finding God's voice and direction in the gentle whisper. This gentle whisper is growing. It can't be found in the "wedge issues" that attempt to scare and separate believers. I believe it is found in the growing number of progressive Christians who are beginning to speak up and show the world that there is another side to our faith that doesn't involve finger pointing or piety. CrossLeft is such an organization that is offering fellow Progressive Christians a seat at the table of faith-based ideas. Pull up a chair and let the dialogue begin at www.crossleft.org.

Please join the movement so that we can begin an actual dialogue in the matters of faith and nation and finally reclaim our hijacked faith.

Your servant,

Jarrod Cochran
www.jarrodcochran.5u.com

Posted by: Jarrod Cochran | Jan 9, 2006 7:59:26 PM

Jessica, What is amazing to me is how these online tools are so wonderful at generating community. It's like it's a dance between the online & the offline world. They compliment eachother. Our vision is to begin the dialogue online at CrossLeft.org, before the summit, then continue the conversation in person that first week-end in February. After the summit, we will go back to working online, until we meet again 6 or so months later.

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:11:01 PM

Jarrod, Thanks for swinging by and joining the conversation on My Vote is My Voice. Jarrod will be heading up CrossLeft's Rapid Response efforts- We're working on a petition re. Pat Robertson's recent remarks that we'll be sending out later this week.

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:17:18 PM

Jarrod writes-
___________________________________
CrossLeft is such an organization that is offering fellow Progressive Christians a seat at the table of faith-based ideas. Pull up a chair and let the dialogue begin at www.crossleft.org.
___________________________________

Building on this thought, I'd like to invite any and all progressive Christians at My Vote is My Voice to swing by CrossLeft and share with us your thoughts about what the Progressive Christian Movement needs to do in 2006. & What Progressive Christians need to do in order to act as a Movement.

We've set up a thread to begin the collective brainstorming:

http://www.crossleft.org/?q=summitforum

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:22:35 PM

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:11:01 PM

Sounds like a good plan. The online community that meets during DemocracyFest is always re-energized to work together online afterwards.

Posted by: Jessica | Jan 9, 2006 8:22:59 PM

That's great news Jessica! Quick question- we're really commited to making the summit a working meeting. & we'd like to close the 2 days summit having produced a strategy for 2006 with deliverables, milestone, etc. Do you have any pointers for us on how to do this in the most effective manner?

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:25:18 PM

This is a movement whose time is long overdue. For those who are not Christians, this is an opportunity to see and hear what TRUE Christians believe and why. As with Christ, all are welcome at the table. Come with questions, come with issues, come with ideas, come with hope, come with love.

Posted by: M Kirk | Jan 9, 2006 8:27:08 PM

M Kirk, Thank you for your post!

In the last few months, as I talk with people across the nation, Christian and otherwise, I find that many ppl are saying just that- it's about time.

Christianity is after all the religious tradition that gave us the Beatitudes & the Golden rule. It's time to talk about what Jesus talked about- compassion, service, love, social justice. & we intend to do just that.

This stuff isn't new. It goes back to Jesus' ministry. & in the U.S. can be seen in the work of the abolitionists, the suffragists and the Civil Rights movement... it's time that we shine the light on this again.

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:38:36 PM

Kety,

I'd suggest recording ideas and action items that are discussed at the summit and displaying them in a public manner at the summit. Decide before the summit how communication after the summit will occur so that people will expect to follow through.

Also, be realistic about how far discussions will get at the summit. It might be best to discuss big picture stuff at the event and discuss how you'll go about conversing and doing follow through afterwards.

Posted by: kety | Jan 9, 2006 8:46:15 PM

Jessica,

Great ideas!

Thank you for this. What do you think has been the most successful vehicle for communication for Demfest post-Demfest (we might steal shamelessly)? We've talked about doing bi-weekly conference calls. Any other thoughts?

Also, any pitfalls that you can flag for us based on your experience?

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:50:18 PM

Do you have any pointers for us on how to do this in the most effective manner?

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:25:18 PM

It really depends how many people attend the summit. If it's a very large group it may be difficult to have a purely democratic approach.

Maybe ask for some volunteers at the begining of the summit to form some a 2006 Strategy Committee. Then have a brainstorming session for all attendees. Then the Strategy Committee could either just pick the best ones, or they could pick some to be included in a vote by all attendees?

Posted by: Jessica | Jan 9, 2006 8:51:59 PM

What do you think has been the most successful vehicle for communication for Demfest post-Demfest (we might steal shamelessly)?

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:50:18 PM

Yahoo Groups (or some other interactive listserve) are what I've found to be the most effective online organizing tool.


Posted by: Jessica | Jan 9, 2006 8:55:17 PM

Aha. A Subcommittee of participants to lead the process, both in the moment and moving forward- that makes sense.

We're intentionally keeping the leadership summit small so that it can be a "working meeting", but even with the numbers that we're looking at (50 on Saturday and 25 on Sunday, each of those present representing different organizations) it might make sense to ask some participants up front to co-own this part of the process with CrossLeft. That way they help us move the ball forward in the moment and long term. Txs Jessica!

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 8:58:10 PM

It's after 6pm my time, 9pm EST so I'm going to sign of for now. But I'll be checking my e-mail in case others have thoughts/suggestions for us as we move forward in our work. It seems to me that there is tremendous synergy between the work that progressive Christians want to do and the work of secular progressive organizations like My Voice is My Voice. So your thoughts are encouraged & welcome. Thanks for inviting us to stop by & blog!

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 9:10:24 PM

Thanks for blogging kety!

Posted by: Jessica | Jan 9, 2006 9:11:41 PM

Your welcome, Jessica.

I've set it up so that type pad will send me a messages if there are any other posts on this blog. So if you have any other thoughts for us, pls feel free to post them. & come visit us at www.crossleft.org

Txs!

Posted by: Kety Esquivel | Jan 9, 2006 9:25:52 PM

I wanted to touch base and explain a little bit about the Rapid Response Network that we are working on at CrossLeft (www.crossleft.org). This Network is going to give fellow Progressive Christians a voice by having petitions you are able to download, sign, and forward to friends (a petition regarding Pat Robertson's recent comments is in the works as we speak) as well as giving a vehicle to find events and organization's protests, prayer vigils, and meetings around the nation.

This will help show America that there is another side and another voice to Christianity - one that doesn't involve total allegiance to a political party and one that isn't divisive with "wedge issues". Let's let our voices be heard!

If you have any suggestions or ideas for the Rapid Response Network or would like to help be a part of the Rapid Response team, please e-mail me. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted by: Jarrod Cochran | Jan 9, 2006 10:03:54 PM

Jarrod,

Have you contacted Liz Herbert from the (Dean) Rapid Response Network? I'm sure she could give you some good advise. Or would this be part of that Network?

http://www.rapidresponsenetwork.org/

Posted by: Jessica | Jan 9, 2006 10:13:15 PM

Jessica,

Thanks for the tip. I'm willing to learn and gain information from anyone kind enough to share it with me!

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