(I’d never heard of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), or Ernesto Cortez who is on their national board, until our two weeks in Omaha recently (for Chelsea’s surgery). While there we heard Tom Hollers speak and got to visit with him. He’s affiliated with IAF (and with “Omaha Together, One Community”) and recommended some books to us.)
One of those books, which we are now reading, is mostly about Ernie Cortez. Cold Anger: A Story of Faith and Power Politics is pretty impressive. Cortez has strong religious convictions, and is a careful theological thinker. He also has a lot of experience with churches and religious people in his reform efforts in several great American cities.
This quote is from that book (p154), from Ed Chambers, the head of IAF.
You’ve got to keep the Catholic and Protestant churches honest. If left to themselves, they’ll get righteous about being Christians with all those clean unadulterated values. They’ll say, ‘we are right and everyone else is wrong.’
For Chambers and Cortes, the way to keep churches and church members honest involves getting them directly involved with
a) each other (i.e. other kinds of churches), and
b) real economic and justice issues for the real people in the real cities where they worship.
You need the diversity of our organizations to keep people accountable.