-- Jim Wallis, Sojourners
In my Saturday morning post, I spoke of taking a Sabbath and not posting on the 20th.
My congregation was holding a weekend retreat at a center about an hour's drive away, and the JoyFamily drove there Saturday morning for a 24-hour getaway.
We needed the break, from the news and the protests and the computers. The week had been exhausting, days on end with insufficient sleep and way too much adrenaline.
However, the retreat also provided a safe space to go in deeper. With our friends, we were able to explore the moral dimensions of the budget proposal and the protests, in thoughtful conversation and in prayer.
I also brought a bunch of posterboard and a fistful of markers to offer an additional option for a craft project activity: making signs to highlight the Medicaid issue, to be conveyed to the press event on Sunday afternoon.
Several of the signs alluded to the moral implications of the budget-repair bill. I particularly liked the ones that said, "Don't deny a voice for the vulnerable." Two of those signs wound up on the wall right behind the heads of the speakers at the press event, in direct camera view.
But even more touching to me was a sign colored by a little fellow of the age of six, just two days older than Joy. For the first two years of Joy's life, our family did a daycare swap with this little guy's family, so he and she were daycare buddies up to the age of two. They've not been close lately, as he is on a typical developmental path and she is on a path all her own; but he really wanted to create a sign, and his mom traced the words "Protect Medicaid" for him to color and explained just a little bit that this was to help Joy and others like her.
His was the sign I chose to hold at the front of the room at the press event (held here by JoyDad on the bus on the way home.)
If you follow the online debate about Wisconsin's budget, or listen to certain newscasts, you will hear the protesters described as greedy, as rioters, possibly even as un-American.
I'd offer the personal view of protesters as people of peace and conscience and deep conviction, many of us as people of faith. I'm reminded of the children's book that was inspired by our congregation in 2005, Praying with our Feet, about taking peaceful, prayerful action for a peaceful world in the face of an unjust war. (The book is out-of-print but can still be acquired through various vendors at the link.)
We're praying in many ways this week. With our feet at the Capitol building. With our magic markers. With our letters to the editor and our calls and e-mails to our legislators.
Please add your prayers / thoughts / positive energies to ours, in any way you feel so moved.