Birds need two wings to fly. With only one, they fly in circles (if they get off the ground at all). In the launch of this new website we have intentionally added a “Compassion” component to our mission. We’ve made good progress getting our message across in the political sphere, and we believe we will become even more successful in realizing meaningful cultural change in New Hampshire if we promote True Social Justice as another important component of our overall mission. True Social Justice, which promotes the power of the individual and faith-communities to change lives, not the enabling hand of government.
In the creation of our Compassion projects, there are two questions we’ve asked ourselves:
- Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10: 30-37)
- Why was this man born blind? (John 9:2-3)
As we have honestly set out to answer these questions, we recognize a paradigm shift the Holy Spirit is working into our hearts and minds as to who our neighbors really are. We’ve discovered that God loves the poor and needy though at times lurking in our souls is the pharisaic thought… “If they were only a little more like me they wouldn’t…” But as we see God’s love for those most in need in our communities, we’ll joyfully embrace the new opportunities and friendships that will come our way. We also believe we will be more likely to see real transformative change in our society if we engage in both the political and compassion arenas – our two wings – and fly!
At the same time, federal and state officials are discovering the value of the faith community in new ways. More than simply a repository for spiritual renewal, the Church is an important ally to help individuals and communities that are struggling. One of the major lessons federal officials observed in the response to Hurricane Katrina (and every disaster since) was the value of partnering with the faith community. In his federal report, “Herald Unheard Voices”, Pete Hull wrote this in his Executive summary:
Faith-based organizations (FBOs) and secular nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) stepped in to fill the gaps when the geographic scales, intensities, and durations of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita overwhelmed the existing disaster response resources. FBOs and NGOs undertook a surprisingly large, varied, and demanding set of activities with extraordinary effectiveness.
They provided shelter, food, medical services, hygiene services, mental health and spiritual care, physical reconstruction, logistics management and services, transportation, children’s services, and case management. The FBOs’ and NGOs’ successes in providing these services are a stark contrast to the many chronicled deficiencies and failures of government during the catastrophic 2005 hurricane season. By studying these organizations’ successes, we can learn lessons that may make the nation better prepared for, and thus more responsive to, such disasters.