What is in a name

 This book starts with the premise that social justice represents faith in action. Religion and politics belong together when politics gives social meaning to deep, spiritual convictions. Wholeness requires keeping both the Spiritual and Social operating in tandem. “Shalom,” one credible Biblical definition of “SALVATION,” assumes the fusion of religion and social issues. In fact, “WHOLESOMENESS,” and the idea that social action has a religious basis, is at the heart of the Gospel. Using this lens, prophesy and politics can operate as effective allies and a prophet may, in fact, be a political figure.

President Obama’s speeches and performance contain a prophetic strain. When I compare his political career to the lives and social commentary attributed to the prophets of Old such as Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Hosea, Amos, Habakkuk, and St. John the Divine, our President’s integrity and authenticity align him with them. The “success” of the ancient prophets was defined by their character, commitment and vision – not by immediate popularity or projected outcomes. Despite fluctuations in his popular appeal, Obama stands tall as an advocate for a more collaborative, cooperative political process and for a more compassionate nation.

No matter what your political perspective might be, it is clear that we need to move beyond the politics of expedience into a space where the urgent needs of our time – economic survival, health, education – receive our collective attention without the divisive intrusion of special interests, race, party affiliations and other factors which currently prevent us from making progress as a nation.

I believe that President Obama is uniquely equipped to lead the transition into a new political reality. Despite the enormous setbacks of his first term, I continue to see glimmers of hope, signs of real progress and the evolution of his thinking. I invite others to recognize that, in our current President, we have far more than a political opportunist. We have a leader of unique vision, charisma and intelligence. We have an articulate advocate for a new way of perceiving and operating in the political domain. Like the prophets of old, our president may be operating ahead of his time and, consequently, faces intense opposition, antagonism and contretemps. Nevertheless, I believe that his presidency has defined a new path for our great nation and I invite you to take a step back and review him against the rich legacy of the bible trendsetters of old.

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