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4 ways Presbyterians can engage poverty from Sister Simone Campbell

SimoneSr. Simone Campbell – a lawyer; executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby; and leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” project – contends that “I am currently called to be stomach acid in the body of Christ.”

Her call is to lobby and foment for social justice. She calls on individual Christians not to try to do it all – but to pay attention and to do what Jesus did, “walk towards the pain, walk towards the trouble, walk towards the struggle and lift it up.” She shared these ideas at Big Tent.

The numbers
Campbell says this: In 73 percent of the households using safety net programs (such as Medicaid and SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), at least one person works full time. A woman who’d been recently laid off, who was struggling to earn enough to keep the electricity from being turned off, told Campbell: “I had no idea how much work it took to be poor, how much time it took to be poor.”

Holy curiosity
Meet the poor and struggling. Talk to them. Hear their stories. Ask the people who serve you in restaurants or grocery stores how much they’re paid, how they’re treated and what they long for.

IMG_0030Pick one thing
Don’t try to do it all. Find one place to make a difference. Advocate for that bit of social justice, get involved. Do it with passion and energy. Pour yourself into one thing that matters.

Engage in sacred gossip
“Share what you’ve learned about the reality of folks who are struggling and how we all are part of this one body.” Learn to see the connections. White privilege, Campbell said, is “a poverty of not seeing clearly the sin of racism.”