Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing

By Dennis A. Jacobsen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Agitation

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to
him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed
my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you
love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus
said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon
son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him
the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you
know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed
my sheep.’” (John 21:15–17)

I am a somewhat introverted, shy person. So, when the session on “Agitation” began to heat up at the national weeklong training of the Gamaliel Foundation, I wondered how I could have been stupid enough to sit in the front row. Usually I am a master of concealment. Now I felt uncomfortably exposed. Greg Galluzzo, executive director of Gamaliel and trainer for this session, was hovering over me, his voice rising more than a few decibels. “I’ve known you for two years, and I still don’t get your self-interest! You’re all mushy and fuzzy. I don’t know whether you want to be an iconographer or a parish pastor.” “You’ve been on my case all morning, Greg,” I protested. “What do you want from me? I’ve already gotten $50,000 from the Lutheran Church for MICAH.” (This effort at deflection and vaunting of achievement was a serious mistake. It only got Greg angrier and deepened the spotlight on me.) “What do I want from you? $50,000 is peanuts! I want you to get $50 million, $75 million from the banks for the inner city of Milwaukee.… Look, if you want to leave the parish ministry and MICAH and go off somewhere and paint icons, do it. There’s nothing wrong in that. That would be beautiful. Just make up your mind.”

Years later I still have vivid recollection of that interaction. Greg cared enough for me, saw enough within me, believed enough in me to agitate me to move forward with more clarity in my life. Such agitation, as uncomfortable and confrontational as it may be, is an act of love.

-65-

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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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