This Sunday will be our regular Madison Community Meal, and I want to encourage all who are able to come help out with this important ministry. However there is another opportunity that I want to make you aware of in case it offers a better fit with God’s call in your life.
There is a new organization in town called NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope) which is a coalition of non-profits and faith communities working to enhance community life, promote justice, and generally influence our legislators to look beyond tourism and economic development to address the needs of our neighborhoods. NOAH is a successor to another effort you may be familiar with from several years back called Tying Nashville Together (TNT), which worked successfully to address several issues in our city.
NOAH is sponsoring an event this Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 3 p.m. titled “A Tale of Two Nashvilles” which will be a forum with all of the mayoral candidates. The event will be held at the 15th Ave. Baptist Church located at 1203 9th Ave. N. here in Nashville. The NOAH organizers are wanting to have several thousand folks in attendance and it would be great to have some City Road representation to speak to the issues we face in Madison.
There are some of you, I’m sure, that are wondering why I’m promoting an event that is blatantly political. I know there are probably folks in our church who believe that politics and religion don’t mix, and we should not interest ourselves in these things. However, the gospel of Jesus Christ and his command to love our neighbors is a deeply political proclamation. We live in communities with great needs — needs that reach far beyond our abilities to address — and our call to love means that we want to be a part of creating neighborhoods which are safe, healthy, and offer all an opportunity for advancement. Additionally (and somewhat selfishly I admit) our church’s well being is tied to the well being our our surrounding community, and the well being of that community is directly affected by the person who sits in the mayors office. Thus it is important that we listen carefully to the candidates, and more important that we share our perspectives with those candidates as well.
I confess that I am still evaluating if a more formal relationship with NOAH is a good fit for our congregation (although I know many of the organizers and consider them friends). However the event this Sunday is an excellent opportunity for getting information about the persons who are vying to be mayor of Nashville, and connect with other persons of faith who deeply care about their community. While my hope is that most of us will be helping with the community meal, I want to commend Sunday’s forum to others who may have an interest in our city’s future.