Last month I outlined the next three steps for Liberatus, should we reach our short-term fundraising goals (raising an additional $1,000 in monthly donations this fall). These funds will allow us to continue publishing the weekly journal; expand the writing team for 2017; and continue establishing relationships with our subscribers to build our readership organically.
But what does all of this mean? Why is there a journal and why is it weekly and how does one pursue healing in American politics?
To answer these questions, and the question of how we can pursue healing holistically, here are seven solutions for work in Congress and American politics Liberatus is offering our writers, subscribers, and donors:
1. A new ethos in politics
For too many people, politics is life-taking instead of life-giving. When our fake identities that need to feel significant are stripped away, the work is often bland, boring, or even unproductive. That's why the look and feel of Liberatus is totally different from anything I've ever seen in politics. Political work and political communication don't have to stay stuck in the same over-used mold.
2. Community, even across partisan divides
We believe that it matters more how we debate the issues than it does actually winning the argument to gain power! If we think this way, we can see others working in politics as our fellow Americans and build community with them instead of constantly feeling like we have to demonize those who disagree with us. The path forward for the United States requires people on opposite sides of ideological issues to have functional, working relationships with each other.
For community to truly exist, people have to be able to say what they truly think, to be honest and authentic with each other. Judgment playing fields have to be leveled. People have to be able to build trust. As we engage with our writers and eventually with our subscribers in group settings, titles and roles won't matter so much as depth of perspective, as insight, and willingness to be vulnerable about reality as it is experienced.
4. A creative outlet
As our writers too often experience, there is not a lot of room for creativity and thinking outside the box in politics. What's been done before is safe, and everything devolves to safety and stability over investing in human beings to come up with actual solutions. The truth is, mid-level staffers on Capitol Hill bounce from the extremes of information overload and an inability to focus, to boredom . . . and catching up on TV shows at work. Meanwhile, the national debt (or insert your hot button issue here) is still going unsolved.
The journal is a platform for talent that is going unused and undeveloped to have a voice and work to bring restoration at the same time.
5. Specific ideas for change
Each week, we post a Weekly Action Item that corresponds with the topic of the journal entry. Sometimes they are a call to personal reflection; other times, they require a reassessment of talking points, or a call to work with someone in the other party. The bottom line is that if Congress and American politics are to become functional, the specific day-to-day tasks will change. While I hope there are many more ideas to come, we've already begun outlining what Truth and Beauty in politics would mean for our work culture, communication, and personal well-being.
Should the funds allow, we plan to engage our subscribers consistently in group settings through Subscriber Coffees in 2017, as part of our second phase of growth, developing the raw ideas in the Weekly Action Items into a specific outline of ways Truth and Beauty would transform American politics—from work culture, to communication, to personal well-being. While we could push some of these ideas forward right now, they wouldn’t have the buy-in from the people whose perspectives are needed to make them workable.
6. Leadership for the grassroots
Americans both hate what they are getting from Congress and paradoxically are demanding it at the same time. It's up to people who work in politics full time to lead Americans toward healing, towards a deeper knowledge of freedom. Representing fear and anger and ideologies as they are—or worse, intentionally perpetuating animosity through our calls to action—is not a sustainable path forward for a Democratic-Republic.
Of course, if one were to push the American people towards healing faster than they are personally ready, it would likely end in a replacement being elected for that office. The journal is an opportunity for the grassroots to follow the authentic conversations happening on the inside on how to fix American politics, without all of the weird, worn out stories of us vs. them that are constantly running on cable news. And in the long-run, the journal provides an opportunity for the grassroots to begin conceptualizing what to expect from a Congress (or campaigns) that is actually functional. The day-to-day in a Congress with an eighty percent approval rating would look radically different from what the job responsibilities and performance reviews are elevating as valuable today.
7. A deeper understanding of the gospel
In some ways, our work is tough because we are both trying to reset how the gospel should impact politics—but because the church is often focused on issues other than the resurrection of Jesus, we also have to reset what people think the gospel even is! Personally and emotionally, I internalized the gospel ("good news") as very bad news for much of my life, even while sort of believing it.
We are working to strip away the negative connotations of the phrase "Christian in politics", because too often what we think of when we hear that phrase has nothing to do with Christ. As we see who Jesus is more fully, we can gain better and better vision for how to apply the gospel to politics. Even people who are not followers of Jesus should be able to look at Christians in politics and see beautiful work and a much deeper appreciation for humanity than what is offered by the major parties.
Politically and religiously, seeing freedom and abundant life at a deeper level, and honestly pursuing community in the process, will require constant reflection and stepping away from our work. The journal is a small step in making that a reality, whether you're a writer or a subscriber. The second phase, as noted above, will require outlining specific changes in American politics that are achievable. As we grow into our third phase, we intend to focus our programming around retreats for the purpose of deeper perspective and healing—which will be necessary to move the proposed changes forward over the long-term.
You are welcome to write this story with us. To continue publishing the journal each week, recruit more writers, and build relationships with our subscribers, we need people to commit to monthly giving. Each of the seven solutions outlined above will likely never come to be without your help. You can set up a monthly giving plan using the button below.
Your monthly donation funds the weekly journal and the work of creating it, from research and reading, to conceptualizing issue themes, to writing team lunches, to writing and editing, to our website, photography, and design.