Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Application of Our Faith

Some recent articles in the Journal of Philanthropy got me to thinking a lot about the need for Believers to plan their tithes and offerings carefully and yes, even, strategically. When we think about the history of our nation it is obvious that the strength of America has often been because of the direct influence of Seasoned Believers.

Ruminate for a bit over the following colleges. Harvard, Yale, Brown, Temple, etc. What comes to your mind? Was it the fact that each was founded to train an educated and committed citizenry? Did you remember that the goal was to preach the gospel, carry our missions to the people and prepare each American to read the Bible?

If these were not your thoughts, think again. Those were exactly the ideas of the men and women who founded the Ivy League Schools. And, each has left its core values behind and we can see the results in all aspects of our nation and its culture.

We need a strategy to educate, train and mobilize smart, tough, capable youth into vital places of leadership. We must carefully prepare people for work in government, the arts, education, business and industry. Take a look at the following article for insight on how others are using their experience and wisdom to take the USA in a different direction.


The White House Project

Despite Sen. Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the presidency, women are greatly underrepresented in the U.S. political system – -a scenario the White House Project is attempting to change.

Marie Wilson, the group’s president, told a conference session about her group’s efforts to train women across the country to run for political office, calling it an example of nonpartisan political activity that is permitted under the tax code governing charities.

The United States ranks 71st in the world in the percentage of women serving in parliament (here, the House of Representatives). “It is not really a representative democracy,” said Ms. Wilson.

Ms. Wilson, who headed the Ms. Foundation for almost two decades before starting the White House Project in 1998, said many of the women who received grants from the foundation were creating innovative social programs that focused on HIV/AIDS, health care, small loans, and promoting a “living wage.”

“That’s the government in exile,” she thought, and wanted to find a way to give them more power. The White House Project, in New York, has trained 1,700 women over the past three years in the mechanics of running for office, touching on campaigning, communications, and fund raising, Ms. Wilson said.

But it has found the most effective way to persuade them to become candidates is to give them examples of other women who have made that leap — for example, by showing a documentary about Shirley Chisholm, a black congresswoman who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. Many women are reluctant to step forward because they see so few other politicians who look like them, she said.

In that sense, she said, Senator Clinton has inspired more women to want to try politics, showing “you can get to the highest level.”

These folks are ingenious, committed and strategic. Are Believers doing as well?

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