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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Economic Recovery for All 1: Launching "10% Is Enough"

For the past few days, I have had trouble thinking about much else than an organizing campaign that launched on Wednesday. The local organizing group I am part of through Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church, Durham CAN, joined with the other IAF affiliates in North Carolina, who go by the name NC UP (North Carolina United Power), to hold a press conference and action in Durham. On the same day, actions took place in the UK, in Boston, New York, Washington, and Chicago. The name of the joint campaign is "10% IS ENOUGH."

This campaign addresses a broad range of economic issues emerging in the current crisis. The first matter to be addressed is usury, the charging of exorbitant interest on loans, especially toward the poor. Our first target for action in North Carolina is the CEO of Bank of America. In the meantime, we are distributing a statement on the economy jointly released by over 20 professors from eight institutions of theological education in North Carolina. It will go to over 1000 churches and to banking leaders throughout our region, and beyond. I wrote about this statement earlier this spring when the project was just getting underway.

The statement is theological and ecumenical. It does not try to speak imperialistically as if Christians could speak for Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith. Yet our research showed us how much the Jewish and Muslim traditions share with Christianity, and how much we can learn from dialogue. NC UP also has examined a Muslim theological analysis of the issue of "riba," the Arabic word for the practice of usury. Moreover, we are aware that all of the theological schools in North Carolina are Protestant, and our statement (despite efforts to be broadly ecumenical) no doubt bears a Protestant perspective. Yet the Catholic church has outstanding resources for examining these economic issues in such documents and resources as the JustFaith program, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' statement on "Economic Justice for All," and Benedict XVI's recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate. We look forward to continued mutual learning among these communities of faith as we pursue common ends of economic justice.

I will post the text of "Theological Reflection on the Economy: A Working Paper for North Carolina United Power from an Interchange Among Theological Educators, July 2009" in several pieces. I hope readers will take opportunity to examine the ways that we believe the tradition of the gospel speaks to our times.

As of July 22, the following 22 professors have endorsed the document. We are awaiting replies from others who are traveling or out of the office, and we expect the list to grow.

Endorsing Professors Arranged by School Affiliation

Campbell University Divinity School, Buies Creek, NC
Dr. Cameron H. Jorgenson, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics

Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
Dr. Kenneth L. Carder, Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry
Dr. J. Kameron Carter, Associate Professor in Theology and Black Church Studies
Dr. Curtis W. Freeman, Research Professor of Theology and Baptist Studies
Dr. Mary McClintock Fulkerson, Professor of Theology
Dr. Amy Laura Hall, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Dr. Willie J. Jennings, Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies
Rev. Daniel P. Rhodes, Preceptor in Theological Studies
Dr. William C. Turner, Jr., Associate Professor of the Practice of Homiletics

Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury, NC
Dr. Reginald D. Broadnax, Dean of Academic Affairs
Dr. Samuel V. Dansokho, Associate Professor of Religion and Society

Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, SC
Dr. Daniel M. Bell, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics
Dr. James R. Thomas, Associate Professor of Church and Ministry and Director of African American Studies

School for Conversion, Durham, NC
Prof. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Director

Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, NC
Dr. James P. Ashmore, Associate Professor of Old Testament
Dr. Mikael N. Broadway, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics
Dr. Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr., Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics
Dr. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, Professor of Theology, Ethics, and Women’s Studies
Dr. Andrew M. Mbuvi, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics
Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling

Union Theological Seminary-Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Charlotte, NC
Dr. Rodney S. Sadler, Jr., Associate Professor of Bible

Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, NC
Dr. Douglas M. Bailey, Assistant Professor of Urban Ministry
Dr. Stephen B. Boyd, J. Allen Easley Professor of Religion and Chair Department of Religion
Dr. Bill J. Leonard, Dean and Professor of Church History

Winston Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Adjunct), Charlotte, NC
Dr. Eric J. Greaux, Sr., Assistant Professor of Religion, and Adjunct Professor of Greek

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