Advocacy is a difficult task but, nevertheless, a necessary one.
We may find ourselves criticized and trampled underfoot, but we need to pursue the task whatever the cost. There is often desire among many to do a good thing.
However, the seeming powers that be are often intimidating and are excellent at thwarting some very good intentions.
Life itself has lead me down that road of often advocating for that which seemingly does not deserve it. Now about that life thing, I am thankful every day, every moment of life, that has been given to me.
I am sure much more has been given to me than one lifetime can begin to give back. Amidst the soaring black clouds of life in America, and my hometown's distressed situation, life indeed is good.
Social media is fond of majoring in negativity and minoring in the positive. What is it about human nature that wants to avoid a crash but has to slow down and eagerly look at another's misfortune?
My outlook is one of thinking globally but acting locally. I can't do much about Korea, but I can advocate for those who are doing great work in our distressed community. I want to wholly support the work of the Nehemiah Project and the example they have set for the community as a whole.
I want to encourage them to fight the good fight until they finish their course. My hope is that many more will speak out on their behalf.
However you are doing in your life right now, are you really doing it all by yourself? Do you not see the great opportunity you have to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate?
There will always be scoundrels who take advantage of the good.
My mind tells me they are the small minds that get the big publicity. Those who benefited me chose to remain silent, chose not to blow their own horns. And I am proud to say many of those same people live in this community still.
They know what advocacy is. They know the meaning of helping the very least of these, of giving a man or woman a second chance. That is the spirit and the heart of the people I know and love in this hometown that I love. Naysayers have their place in society; they create healthy conversation.
The conversation is really robust when every voice is heard. Talk radio, newsletters, twitter, emails, etc. all reveal and enhance who we are as a community. Who am I? I am my mother's son (Lucy Johnson).
She taught me advocacy before I knew what advocacy was. She understood it was more blessed to give than receive.
God bless the Nehemiah Project and every church, synagogue, mosque or social organization that dares to tread the troubled waters of society. Continue to launch out into the deep. The benefits seem hidden now, but the effort is worth it.
Rev. Paul Johnson, Altoona