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Monday, April 9, 2018

Be a Nehemiah!

Watch out for David Hogg!

You know the guy, right? Following the tragic Parkland school shooting in Florida, David was one of several students from that school who became the voice for demanding change in our culture. From my perspective, the only plea for change that was offered that seemed to matter to him was gun control. Wise people know our cultural problems run much deeper.

Nonetheless, David has became a popular media “go to” person to urge action. He’s a young man of passion. I’d say he’s fairly well spoken except for the vulgarities that he can’t resist using to belittle those who miss his message. Or who disagree. His national platform on television and in other media no doubt has given him star-like quality among his peers. It’s just too bad it comes at the expense of those who have lost their lives at Parkland.

David Hogg drew more national attention recently when it was learned that despite his ambitions for future education, he faced some rejection. It’s not his grades. He carries a 4.2 GPA and had an SAT score of 1270. David’s preferred fields of study would be journalism, political science, or photography. And so he applied to a half-dozen universities with programs that matched his interests toward a career as a journalist or filmmaker. Three of his college applications were rejected. Three were accepted.

As the New York Times reported, “The Parkland students are a case study in civic engagement. They are among the leaders of the #NeverAgain movement, collectively delivering fiery speeches that demand change, promoting their message on social media and organizing the March for Our Lives rally…Much of their leadership and community work, driven by the loss of classmates and friends, might not have been considered in the college admission process.”

Hmmm. I know the perfect career for David Hogg. Community organizer. Last week, my blog focused on what that job looks like and the man who achieved the most from this role by becoming president of the United States. Barack Obama.

Catch this description from the website “By most definitions, community organizing is a specialized field in social work that is devoted to restoring democracy at the grassroots level and energizing citizens to become a more active member of their society. Community organizing focuses on fixing broken social systems, bringing about meaningful changes to peoples’ lives, and empowering vulnerable or oppressed populations. Community organizing has the goal of uniting local citizens around a common concern, ranging from preventing crime and reducing toxic wastes to fighting prejudice and creating community-building projects.”

What does that sound like? To me, it sounds like David Hogg. At least at this stage of his life.

Until I saw the story about David in the New York Times last week, I had planned on relating how this endeavor known as Community Organizer has a definite connection to giving vision for Kingdom Building. But I will wait one more week to share those insights.

In the meantime, I’m reminded of several very strong community organizers in the Bible. Moses being one of them—albeit reluctantly. And then there was Nehemiah–a man who led the charge in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem after the fall seventy years earlier. In this case, it was the people who were reluctant to rebuild in the face of opposition. But Nehemiah inspired the people to a great achievement. Just like a community organizer would.

Take time to read the short Bible book of Nehemiah. It might inspire you in your job to take new steps at improving your world. Even if it’s from inside a cubicle wall.

P.S.: Next week I’ll be sure to share more on Reggie McNeal’s Kingdom Collaborators: Eight Signature Practices of Leaders Who Turn the World Upside Down.

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