Thursday 9 October 2008

The Micah Challenge

The Micah Challenge

This is a moment in history of unique potential,
when the stated intentions of world leaders
echo something of the mind of the Biblical prophets
and the teachings of Jesus concerning the poor, and
when we have the means to dramatically reduce poverty.

We commit ourselves, as followers of Jesus,
to work together for the holistic transformation of our communities,
to pursue justice, be passionate about kindness
and to walk humbly with God.

We call on international and national decision-makers
of both rich and poor nations, to fulfil their public promise
to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
and so halve absolute global poverty by 2015.

We call on Christians everywhere to be agents of hope
for and with the poor, and to work with others
to hold our national and global leaders accountable
in securing a more just and merciful world.


It would be nice if all my friends reading this back in the States already knew about "Micah Challenge", a global movement of Christians that I am learning a lot about. It aims to strengthen engagement with the poor by integrating social justice as an essential aspect of faith; I don't know about you, but I must confess I didn't know diddly about Micah Challenge until I moved here to Australia. I don't know how I missed it before...

Micah Challenge seeks to encourage the leaders of all nations to fulfil their commitments to the Millennium development goals set in the year 2000 - in particular, to cut absolute poverty in half by 2015. If every person chooses to act withjustice and kindness, walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8), just imagine the impact it would have! Here is a succinct portrayal of the core values as well as the global problems Micah Challenge seeks to address by living them out.

Senior leaders from Christian groups from four continents (mostly in the Southern Regions) recently called upon US Christians to "use theircitizenship responsibly" and speak out in protest against the failure of UNand US leaders to make progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and tostem the global food crisis. You can read a copy of that letter here. It was sent to the Presidentialcandidates, as well. (Jim Wallis from Sojourners wrote recently at his blog, God's Politics, concerning these efforts.)

Are you all aware how this weekend there are coordinated events all across the GLOBE in this campaign against poverty? Our congregation is co-hosting (with the Wesley Uniting Church) the Australian national conference of Micah Challenge, with the theme: "Voices for Justice." Interesting activities abound.

Rev. Joel Edwards, a Jamaican and currently the International Director of Micah Challenge will be here with us, speaking Sunday morning at our congregation and at Wesley Uniting on Sunday evening. He's a very effective. And I imagine there will be some good music, too, by groups such as these, connected to the Micah Challenge.

Then, next Monday morning, hundreds of conference attendees from around this country will gather on the steps of Parliament to personally deliver thousands of hand-written letters that have been gathered urging members of Parliament and the Prime Minister to do better approaching the MilleniumDevelopment goals and take more significant actions to reduce extreme poverty.

This should be interesting, because Micah Challenge is only one of dozens and dozens of organizations uniting to form the largest anti-poverty movement in history. It's all part of a much larger 'Global Call to Action Against Poverty' involving more than 80 countries. (In Australia, the movement is called "MAKE POVERTY HISTORY.") It is a coalition of more than 60 aid agencies, community groups and religious organisations working to hold all these nations accountable to their original commitment to achieve the MDGs.

So, what is happening in your community in this regard? Anything?

Hoffnung. espoir. esperanza. Hope!

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