Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing

By Dennis A. Jacobsen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
The World as It Is

“Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not yet come, but your time is
always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I
testify against it that its works are evil.’” (John 7:6–7)

“After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having
great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor.
He called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the
great!… For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of
her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornica-
tion with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from
the power of her luxury.’ Then I heard another voice from heaven
saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in
her sins.’” (Rev. 18:1–4)

The world, as it is, is the enemy of God. The world, as it is, is the enemy of the people of God. The world, as it is, is the enemy of those who, while claiming no belief in God, are devoted to creating a just society and act with such courageous conscience that they put the institutional church to shame. A great tension exists between the world as it is and those believers and nonbelievers who are “in the world but not of the world.” It is so because the world, as it is, is driven by abusive power, consuming greed, relentless violence, and narcissistic pride. The world as it is employs nationalism, propaganda, racism, civil religion, and class enmity to bolster entrenched systems, corporations, and institutions. All of which are offensive to God and to those who seek to do what is just.

Throughout the centuries those who have faithfully witnessed to Jesus have learned all too well why the Greek word used for “witness” in the New Testament transliterates as “martyr.” But certainly it is not only obedient Christians who have found that the world is their enemy. People of conscience in every society have suffered the affliction of being enemies of the State, held suspect, imprisoned, brutalized, exiled, executed. The Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh speaks a word that

-1-

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Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1- The World as It Is 1
  • Chapter 2- The World as It Should Be 8
  • Chapter 3- Engaging the Public Arena 13
  • Chapter 4- Congregation-Based Community Organizing 23
  • Chapter 5- Power 38
  • Chapter 6- Self-Interest 50
  • Chapter 7- One-on-Ones 59
  • Chapter 8- Agitation 65
  • Chapter 9- Metropolitan Organizing 70
  • Chapter 10- Building and Sustaining An Organization 79
  • Chapter 11- Community 87
  • Chapter 12- A Spirituality for the Long Haul 96
  • Appendix 104
  • Notes 106
  • Study Guide 109
  • Index 139
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