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Habitat.org/takeaction A Faithful Commitment to Advocacy: Answering the Call Jonathan Good Director, Faith Partnerships HFHI.

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Presentation on theme: "Habitat.org/takeaction A Faithful Commitment to Advocacy: Answering the Call Jonathan Good Director, Faith Partnerships HFHI."— Presentation transcript:

1 habitat.org/takeaction A Faithful Commitment to Advocacy: Answering the Call Jonathan Good Director, Faith Partnerships HFHI

2 habitat.org/takeaction Questions to be addressed today How do you define advocacy? How does HFH define advocacy? Are there good reasons why HFH should not do advocacy? Why does HFH engage in advocacy? What does the Bible say about advocacy? What are some Biblical examples of advocates? Is there a Biblical strategy for advocacy? What are some resources for further study?

3 habitat.org/takeaction Who am I? HFHI since 2009 Ordained minister - Presbyterian Church (USA) Pastored 2 churches for 15 years World Vision – US (Church Relations) 6 years Volunteer police/fire chaplain Live in Minneapolis

4 habitat.org/takeaction “Advocacy” defined ad·vo·ca·cy: noun Act of pleading / arguing in favor of something Free Online Dict. Public support for / recommendation of a particular cause / policy Oxford English Dictionary “Supporting & defending a cause you believe in” Advocacy AOM, HFHI

5 habitat.org/takeaction “Advocate” defined ad·vo·cate: noun (1) Person who publicly supports / recommends particular cause / policy (2) Person who pleads a case on someone else’s behalf ( Oxford English Dict) Derived from Latin: “someone called to one’s aid” Often refers to paid legal representative Also refers to someone who argues for a cause / course of action Advocates: – support & argue for rights of those in need or who suffer from injustice – provide them skills & opportunities to speak on their own behalf – work for justice by raising awareness of or changing unjust situations & policies Advocacy AOM, HFHI

6 habitat.org/takeaction Non-profit advocacy “An attempt to alter ways in which power, resources & ideas are created, consumed & distributed at global level” Advocacy AOM, HFHI “We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved.” Martin Luther King, Jr

7 habitat.org/takeaction How one faith-based NGO sees advocacy “A ministry of influence using persuasion, dialogue, & reason to affect change” “Seeks to address structural & systemic causes of poverty by changing policies, practices, & attitudes that perpetuate inequality & deny justice” A Citizen’s Guide to Advocacy, World Vision US

8 habitat.org/takeaction HFHI definition “Changing systems, policies & attitudes to achieve decent housing for all” Adopted by HFHI’s Board of Directors, 2005 Expanded version: HFH's advocacy is working to influence public opinion & decision-makers in all sectors to adopt policies & practices & transform systems that lead to the creation & preservation of housing for all, toward the goal of ending poverty worldwide. These sectors would include, but not be limited to, governments, individuals, religious communities, corporations & international financial institutions.

9 habitat.org/takeaction “Devil’s Advocate” Roman Catholic church ceremony of beatification / canonization required advocatus diaboli Duty to raise all possible serious objections against proposed action Arguments were answered by “God’s advocate” (advocatus Dei) A Dictionary of Religion and Ethics, S. Mathews & G. Smith, eds.

10 habitat.org/takeaction Objections raised to HFH’s advocacy work “We don’t feel called to be involved in politics” “It’s optional, and we opt out!” “It takes away from our primary focus” “It’s not compatible w/ our Christian foundation” “It’s another example of how HFH is moving farther away from Millard’s original vision” “We don’t have the budget / staff / resources / time in our affiliate to do it well”

11 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy AOM “Affiliated organizations are encouraged to dedicate efforts to advocacy….” “Affiliates are not required to engage in advocacy….” Advocacy AOM, p. 7

12 habitat.org/takeaction HFHI’s Mission Statement Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope Doing advocacy builds hope

13 habitat.org/takeaction HFHI’S Mission Principles #3 Advocate for affordable housing. In response to the prophet Micah’s call to do justice, love mercy & walk humbly with God, we promote decent, affordable housing for all, & we support the global community’s commitment to housing as a basic human right. We will advocate for just & fair housing policy to eliminate the constraints that contribute to poverty housing. And, in all of our work, we will seek to put shelter on hearts & minds in such powerful ways that poverty housing becomes socially, politically & religiously unacceptable.

14 habitat.org/takeaction HFHI’s senior leadership HFHI made advocacy a priority in 2005 “In 2005, we had no formal advocacy program. Today, we have an active & robust advocacy network where HFHI, affiliates, state support organizations & national organizations around the world are influencing housing policy on a variety of issues, resulting in a range of successes — including hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for housing.” Jonathan Reckford, introducing HFHI’s Strategic Plan

15 habitat.org/takeaction Millard Fuller’s vision & legacy “We have the know-how in the world to house everyone [&] the resources in the world to house everyone. All that’s missing is the WILL to do it.” “Fuller spent decades traveling & speaking worldwide, & earned international recognition for his work advocating decent, affordable housing for all.” From Fuller Center for Housing website

16 habitat.org/takeaction HFHI Advocacy Management Team (2005) Vision & values: 1. HFHI is, always has been, & always will be a Christian organization. As such, HFHI finds its reason for being in the Bible. 2. On the basis of these beliefs, HFHI takes seriously the call of Christ to be in ministry with the poor toward ending poverty worldwide.

17 habitat.org/takeaction “Advocate” in the Bible Παρακλητος (parakletos): advocate, helper, intercessor; one who pleads the cause of another OT: Job’s “comforters” are called parakletores NT: Jesus and Holy Spirit called “advocates” “Parakletos was used originally in passive sense of one called in to help. But…this is alien to its meaning [in NT]. The parakletos…does not merely put in a good word, but brings active help.” Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 1; Colin Brown, ed.

18 habitat.org/takeaction “Advocate” in the Bible Term parakletos was applied: – by John the Baptist to Jesus – by Jesus to Holy Spirit In first century, an advocate was: – a consulting lawyer or one who presented a client’s case in open court – one who, in times of trial / hardship, sympathized w/ the afflicted & administered direction & support Unger’s Bible Dictionary

19 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy in Old Testament Amos & Micah implored God’s people to help the poor, share wealth, & show concern for welfare of annawen, “the poor of God” – Charity vs. Justice – “Whereas charity alleviates effects of poverty, justice seeks to eliminate causes of it. Charity is a matter of personal attribute; justice is a matter of public policy.” Rev. William Sloane Coffin

20 habitat.org/takeaction Prophet Micah Had daily contact with poor people who were exploited by rich & powerful He confronts matters in his own context while also sharing God’s timeless standards God doesn’t want offerings in return for sin – God wants a change of hearts

21 habitat.org/takeaction Justice, mercy, & humility Ending poverty housing is a matter of…. Justice: Everyone deserves the opportunity to live in a decent, affordable home Mercy: We are blessed to be a blessing Humility: We receive more than we give Creating a Habitat for Humanity, J Reckford

22 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy in Old Testament Prophets declared that righteousness & justice will flow down like water in the Day of the Lord Year of Jubilee: time every 50 years when all things are renewed & all unpaid debts forgiven – Slaves are liberated & land that was sold is returned to original owner – Economic inequality eliminated & social status reoriented

23 habitat.org/takeaction Justice & Righteousness Justice (mishpat): “act of deciding a case in court” or “to govern / judge” In Hebrew Bible, always goes together w/ righteousness Righteousness (tsedeq): “norm or standard” or “the way things should be” Justice occurs 422 times / Righteousness occurs 276 times Together they mean “to make things right” In Bible, justice is almost always followed by one of 9 words: widow, fatherless, orphans, poor, hungry, stranger, needy, weak, oppressed Doing justice is about making life right for these people Doing Justice, World Vision International

24 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy in Old Testament Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up & judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor & needy.” Psalm 82:2-4: “How long will you defend the unjust & show partiality to the wicked? Defend the cause of the weak & fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor & oppressed. Rescue the weak & needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

25 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy throughout the OT Law of Moses or “Torah” (God’s teachings) Poetic books Prophets Historical books – Esther – Nehemiah

26 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy in New Testament Jesus begins public ministry by looking back to Isaiah : The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for God has anointed me. God has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, & to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4: People who heard this message tried to throw Jesus off a cliff! Risks of taking on advocacy are minor compared to risks of doing nothing

27 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy in New Testament Sermon on the Mount: Jesus develops idea of Kingdom of God in which He considers both our faith and our acts of love, compassion & justice. Jesus introduces Golden Rule Love God & love others as much as you love yourself Luke 10:27

28 habitat.org/takeaction Advocacy in New Testament Jesus lets us see our Final Exam One question: What did you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters? For I was hungry & you gave me food. I was thirsty & you gave me drink. I was a stranger & you welcomed me. I was naked & you clothed me. I was in prison & you came to me. Matthew 25:35-36

29 habitat.org/takeaction A Biblical strategy for advocacy In the end, our strategy is about doing justice – making life right - with mercy and humility Sometimes that will mean building a house Sometimes that will mean being an advocate Always that will mean demonstrating the love of Jesus

30 habitat.org/takeaction Getting practical Starts with relationships Connecting the dots Adding it to your toolkit Know your audience Talk to each other Start small What’s working out there?

31 habitat.org/takeaction Mt. Athos, Greece “Holy Mountain” – home to 20 monasteries Completely dedicated to prayer & worship

32 habitat.org/takeaction Resources A Citizen’s Guide to Advocacy, World Vision US (2006) Advocacy Affiliate Operations Manual, HFHI (2011) Creating a Habitat for Humanity, Jonathan Reckford, Fortress (2007) Doing Justice: Bible Studies on Advocacy, World Vision International (2007) Good News About Injustice, Gary Haugen, IVP (1999) Interfaith: An Advocacy Toolkit, HFHI (2011) Kingdom Building for the 21 st Century, HFHI (2006) The State of Advocacy: Board of Directors FY2011 Report, HFHI Government Relations and Advocacy (2011)

33 habitat.org/takeaction Conclusion Questions / Comments / Rebuttals Thank you!


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