Faith Reflection

Deuteronomy 20:1-4
“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. “When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. “He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them…”

It’s a new year, new decade, and another MLK Day has arrived. For many of us, the year 2020 comes with apprehension and tension about our collective future. So much of that future hinges on our ability, willingness and capacity to love one another, across race, religion and region, and to declare that we will answer our call to care for each other. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this call and he marched in it until his last breath.

Now we have a moral choice. One choice is to cower and be silenced – to accept status quo or believe the myth that ‘time’ or someone else will save us. Or, we can join together, with faith and radical love, advancing forward for our families, our future and the glory of our God to build a robust, multiracial democracy and a caring economy where every one of us can thrive. Our God goes before us. So even if there is tension, even if we are afraid, we shall march on, together. In that process, in our faithful act, we will be transformed into who God created us to be and transform this state into the world that is possible.

Qu’ran Reflection (Sūrat Hud, No 11, Āyat 9)
“If We let man taste a mercy from Us and then withdraw it from him, he becomes despairing, ungrateful.”

One of the weaknesses of human beings is their inclination to fluctuate between extremes of emotion. When they’re granted a blessing by the Lord, they become overly excited. Their happiness can border the extreme. If they lack belief in God that happiness can turn into arrogance and illusions of self-sufficiency. When the blessing is discontinued or if they suffer an affliction, they become depressed and lose hope.

The verse says that the human being is like that, referring to human beings who have not trained themselves to control and regulate their emotions. Verse 11 of the same sūra makes an exception to the people who fluctuate between extreme emotions – Except those who are patient and do righteous deeds. For such there will be forgiveness and a great reward (Q 11:11). There are those who work on themselves and rise above such emotional weaknesses.

What helps to prevent the self from falling into despair is to understand that both blessings and difficulties are from God as means of growth for the soul. When we realize that the experiences of life are an exercise for the soul the goal becomes the “fit” soul.

#ClaimingOurVoices at Caucuses

Precinct caucuses are next week! On Tuesday, Feb. 25, over 5,000 Minnesotans will caucus on our shared agenda for a multi-racial democracy and caring economy that works for ALL Minnesotans, not just a small few. This means caucusing for BOLD leadership on things like Paid Family and Medical Leave, Universal Childcare, Climate Justice, and making Minnesota a place that honors every person’s dignity, whether fifth generation or newcomer

Download our caucus resolutions and commit to caucus for this vision of Minnesota we know is possible!

St. Cloud Faith Communities and Residents Declare ‘We Have Faith in Our Future. We’re Willing to Work, Vote, Caucus For It!’

Faith leaders and community members across the greater St. Cloud community gathered together Friday to joyfully launch their vision and path for St. Cloud that will continue to build a robust, multiracial democracy where everyone is in and no one is out – no matter what we look like, where we come from or how we pray. The leaders then put their ‘feet where their faith is’ by holding a phone bank immediately following, gathering more St. Cloud residents to attend caucuses with them on February 25th.

All Minnesotan Children Deserve a Great Start

“No matter where they live or what they look like all Minnesota children deserve a great start, specifically a solid early childhood foundation. All teachers deserve to be paid a livable wage with benefits.” These words spoken by Karin Swenson from ISAIAH’s Kids Count on Us Coalition were addressed to members of the Minnesota House who are considering legislation to invest $500 million in Early Childhood Care in Minnesota. You can listen to her complete testimony by clicking the link below.

(Photo by Courtney Perry.)

Mixed in with the fades, the barber shop is fertile ground for political organizing | Minnesota Reformer

“We can point to victories and say, ‘Yo: We are changing things!”
Check out Brian Fullman, ISAIAH lead organizer and creator of Barbershops Creating Change in the Community, and his amazing story of victory, hope and creating a political arena that gives our communities power and agency.

Congratulations SEIU Healthcare!

Strike averted! SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and HealthPartners have reached a tentative agreement, and the strike for next week has been called off. The agreement includes wage increases of 7.5% over three years, retroactive; the classic health plan benefits are protected; and overtime pay provisions are protected from all cuts and changes. SEIU members will vote on the agreement next week.
Two weeks ago, 1,800 members of SEIU Minnesota who are employees of HealthPartners authorized a seven-day strike after HealthPartners put out a proposal to roll back healthcare for worker’s families, while the CEO and upper executives took a raise.
Pictured is ISAIAH’s own Pastor Eric Hoffer who spoke at the strike vote’s event.