Posts Tagged ‘service’


What Ever Became of the Common Good?

October 27, 2011

by Phil Porter, Minister of Art & Communication, First Church Berkeley

The Good News calls forth compassion: whatever you do for the least of these, love one another as you love yourself, when one person suffers we all suffer, love your enemy…

We are called by our faith to exercise care for each other. Does that not extend to public policy? Isn’t government one of the ways that we can bring about justice, equality, opportunity, and care? What happened to our ability to come together to solve problems, to encourage the give and take of ideas that leads to the best solutions?

Our rush to individual freedom—don’t get in my way with your rules or regulations—is running roughshod over our ability to discuss, debate and discern what is best for the whole. Compassion has become a dirty word. The common good has been sold out to political inflexibility, corporate greed, monied interests, the will of a few. It is no wonder that the “99%” are raising their questions and concerns. Self-interest alone (or “leave me alone”) in a world where we are all interconnected is lifeless, unsustainable and even immoral.

We are called to care for each other and that must extend into the way we govern, the way we structure our economic agreements, the way we protect the vulnerable.

A single political point of view will always be insufficient. We are far too complex as human beings and as a culture for a one truth. Instead we must listen for the larger voice, bend our rigid will, act with humility.

There is a distinct intersection between faith and politics. Our values must inform the way we conduct our public life, whether it is in a tiny local civic organization or in Senate chambers. Good—and the greater good—can be created through political activity and discourse and well as through other forms.

May we hold compassion as one of our highest values in the conversation.

First Church Berkeley is a progressively faithful, welcoming community.


Feeding the 5000 in Somalia

August 15, 2011

FCCB member Liz McBride has been paying close attention to the famine and refugee situation in Somalia. She encourages us to contribute financially:

FCCB says “Imagine another world is possible.” Imagine it.

Refugees in SomaliaI had recently donated to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for Somali refugees. Then on Sunday, July 31, I saw Phil Porter’s video of the “Loaves and Fishes” story at First Church. It told the old story of Jesus feeding  the 5000 in pictures and words. I was so inspired, and I felt the need in Somalia so deeply that I  decided to give $365 to this every pay day for the rest of the year, because I can. If we each do what we can the hungry will have food, and clean water.

A video version of the story of Jesus feeding the 5000.In one week, UNHCR moved 5000 refugees to safety and is supplying food. Feeding the 5000! I chose UNHCR because they are already mobilized, already committed, and large enough to reach so many quickly.

So when I imagine another world is possible, I know it can be. Let’s get a million to give. Spread the word and we can make it happen!

Read more about the situation in Somalia.

Contribute here.