Monday, October 23, 2006

ISAIAH offers a comeback for the peace-and-justice Christians

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At a church not far from the one at which Michele Bachmann declared herself "a fool for Christ" last weekend, religion and politics recently found a very different intersection.

Close to 500 people turned out at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Maple Grove on Oct. 12, for one of seven regional rallies under the all-caps banner ISAIAH. This organization draws its name and inspiration from a verse in the Old Testament's prophetic book of Isaiah: "You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to dwell in."

But I'm old enough to recognize the intersection at which ISAIAH is trying to set up shop. It's the spot where the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements thrived in the 1960s. Back then, the word "Christian" wasn't automatically followed by "conservative" in political conversations. And those conversations weren't always, or even often, about matters of personal morality.

The peace-and-justice Christians of 40 years ago seemed to go underground, 'long about Ronald Reagan. But many of them kept their faith and bided their time for a comeback. ISAIAH leaders say that time is now, and in Minnesota, they are the comeback vehicle.

The claim strikes me as premature. In the six years that ISAIAH's been around, it has planted its flag in 85 Roman Catholic and mostly mainline Protestant congregations -- a good but not eye-popping showing. At least as many Minnesota congregations are political kin of the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park where, last weekend, Republican Bachmann described how God had called her to run for the U.S. Congress.

Still, something is stirring when 400-plus suburbanites stream into a church on a school night to talk about the need for more mass transit, battered women's shelters, school funding and chances for immigrant kids to go to college. [....snip] StarTribune


ISAIAH offers a comeback for the peace-and-justice Christians

ISAIAH Caucus Structure
The Caucus is the primary place for congregational core teams to gather together to build relationships, learn new skills and stay current on the issues. Each caucus has six to 20 member congregations usually grouped geographically. ISAIAH currently has six caucuses.

ISAIAH Members

GRIP Assembly

Cathedral of St. Mary, St. Cloud
Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Cloud
St. CloudNewman Center
St. Anthony of Padua Catholic, St. Cloud
St. Boniface Catholic, St. Cloud
St. Paul Catholic, St. Cloud
St. Peter's Catholic, St. Cloud

Minneapolis Caucus

Ascension Catholic
Sagrado Corazon de Jesus Catholic
Salem English Lutheran
St. Bridget Catholic
St. Joan of Arc Catholic
St. Philip Catholic
Santo Rosario

Northeast Caucus

St. John the Baptist Catholic, New Brighton
St. Joseph Catholic, Lino Lakes
St. Marks Lutheran, North St. Paul
St. Odilia Catholic, Shoreview

Northwest Caucus

St. Alphonsus Catholic, Brooklyn Center
St. Gerard Majella Catholic, Brooklyn Park
St. Joseph the Worker Catholic, Maple Grove
Assumption Catholic
St. Peter Catholic
St. Richard Catholic

St. Paul Caucus

Cathedral of St. Paul
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic
Sacred Heart Catholic
St. James Catholic
St. Luke Catholic
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