Thursday, February 11, 2016

You Will Be Made To Care

What happens when an ordinary family gets involved in public policy and elections at the city and county level? That is our story for the last four years.

What happens when a tell it all book is about to be published, and you can have a small part in spreading its message around? That is the focus of this blog post.

Whatcom Works has been a blog that the Kirk family (mostly Dad, me that is) has used to chronicle our efforts, observations, hopes and frustrations over the last 30 months of involvement in public policy service in Whatcom County, Washington.

We have been privileged to do a lot of door belling in GOTV, to work at phone banks, to provide live streaming services for several debates. Some of us have worked as campaign media coordinators, fund raising banquet assistants, website and social media support staff, and one daughter is currently session aide for our State Senator Doug Ericksen.

Some of us have gone to dozens of meetings at the Whatcom County Council, Whatcom County Planning Commission, Public Utility District #1, Farm Bureau, Whatcom Cattleman's Association, WRIA 1 Water Board, Whatcom CAPR board, and more. There have also been many bull sessions with various conservative activists. We have worked on policy language, having some passed into policy, and some rejected, even by other conservatives.

A year ago, my daughter and I flew to Colorado and California to take training that would facilitate recruitment and deployment of interested local citizens as observers and reporters of routine business in the dozens of committees that carry out the business of Whatcom County government. Public policy activists have to go to meetings, and what if that work load could be delegated to dozens of like minded peers, giving them a chance to taste, explore and sharpen their skills in local governance?

Recently, we assessed our public policy involvements versus family responsibilities in home schooling and home maintenance. Volunteer service may be given freely, but someone has to pick up the tab for living. So, we have not been going to many meetings recently. For a number of months, Whatcom Works has been silent.

But there is something I really want to write about! Someone has written a new book that addresses the pressures I have outlined above. This soon to be published book also has a lot more to say. A whole lot more.

Conservatives and Christians in Washington State are hard to shock. Perhaps, in Washington State,  highly unchurched and agnostic, we have become like the proverbial frog in the kettle. Oh, yah, another case of abusing freedom of speech. So what! What’s on for sports tonight? Maybe next year we can elect a governor who is not in the pocket of Big Labor, the Eco Fascists, and the LGBT community.

Erick Erickson and Bill Blankschaen, living in the far away state of Georgia, have written a book that you really need to read. Actually, that you really need to buy and read. Actually, that you really need to pre-order now so a lot more people can hear about a very useful book that is having a high profile rollout. And, a book that you can discuss with your friends and church leaders and pastors.

I have read this book. (I am not getting money for writing this review.) I have read some reviews of this book. Frankly, it is a lifeline book. Especially for those who are not a part of the chattering class. You may know who I mean. Political activists who go to conferences and link to each others blogs and support each other well may not need this book. But those of us who are in the trenches and alone and wondering where the cavalry has gone need a lifeline. This is one!

Two years ago, our family attended a home school conference. One of the keynote speakers, a real “Mr. Big”, spent an hour outlining the plans of the LGBT community to “make us care” and fear and serve them. It was very depressing. He ended by saying he really did not have any answers or advice for us. Since then, I have heard he has taken a seminary service post in Africa. Cool for him!

When you read this book, you need to get to the last part. The first two thirds outlines the dire straits Christians are facing over the “pelvic wars”. It is painful. Really painful!  You will meet outstanding Christian conservatives, in business, public service, non profits who have been targeted and taken to the cleaners by LGBT activists and their friends in the judiciary, education and media.

But I would really like to give a shout out to the last few chapters. The development sequence is real. The book champions “resurgent” faith and conservatism. For you Biblicists, think “overcomer”, as in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Think finding and serving the worthy man, as in Matthew 10:7-20. Even John the Baptist was granted resurgence when he was pinned down in Herod’s prison.

Our family has found the authors’ sequence of developing resurgence spot on. First is community. We have met many other Christians and conservatives from a very diverse range of persuasions. And we clicked with them. The problem is the conservative activist community is relatively very small!

So, we go to “school”. As individuals (secondly) we enlarge our parameters, we broaden our information base and theology, we hone our skills. Yet, solitary activists here and there, working in ones and twos, are still solitary.

So, thirdly, we add the family. Get the children, grandparents, and aunts and uncles involved. Suddenly, a multiplier comes into play that is huge. And has tremendous import for decades to come!

Here is where it gets dicey. When, fourthly, the church is challenged to be resurgent in the public square, our experience is that it frequently acts like the LGBT community, striking back, holding tightly to its “little earthly store, nor sending thy messengers unto some distant shore”. Coping with sour faith community responses takes patience. Organized, funded groups of Christians are slowly waking up to see that they ARE being targeted and made to care. Having this book on the church leader’s desk or in the church library will be very timely.

Lastly, the resurgent citizen is one who is not just about influencing culture by top down elected influence, but who rubs elbows with their progressive neighbors, who defuses bias and gives gifts that influence culture. They do this person by local person. The resurgent citizen is salt and light, regardless of their political connections or lack thereof. And, since elections do have consequences, resurgent citizens become engaged in elections and or public policy as they serve in the larger community..

The framers of the American constitution were largely Biblicists. It is no wonder that the LGBT community has targeted Christians, champions of freedom of speech and property rights, above all others. Christians care and don’t back down. The Christian Bible is a fountain of freedom and public policy wisdom. That is why socialists, communists and fascists have hated it, and hate the American Constitution. (Disclaimer: the US Constitution does not supercede the Christian Bible). Now, the maladies of socialism are content for another post.

So, have I convinced you yet? Go pre order, and access the bonus gifts. This is a good thing. Thanks for coming back to Whatcom Works and reading this post.

JK (John Kirk)