Happy Birthday CLC! The CLC is sixty and just in time for its birthday we are receiving congratulations, accolades and gratitude. Join the celebration!
:: Save The Date (pdf)
Just this month the CLC was celebrated: The US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack recognized the CLC leadership to fight hunger in Texas. Literacy Texas (statewide coalition of Literacy Councils) honored the CLC with a Texas Champions award for effectively leading the State of Texas on behalf of adult learners and the CLC was recognized by the Baptist World Alliance for hunger ministries around the world. In all these celebrations the CLC was cited as “relevant to the Kingdom-work of God in the world today.“
Sixty and going strong. The CLC is blessed with champions from generations past and a host of new friends and colleagues who are serious about their kingdom mission.
When did you become aware of the CLC? A while ago the CLC Commissioners brainstormed about the six decades of work – we asked of each decade: What was happening in the world at large? What was changing in the religious landscape? What was the work of the CLC?
1950’s – in a time of secular scientific expansion and nuclear threat, a major religious emphasis was on media and event evangelism (a million more in ’54). The CLC was championing religious expression and liberty, bringing an emphasis to faith in the workplace, and opening the dialogue on race relations in Texas. The CLC is formed and speaks with a prophetic voice.
1960’s – this decade saw the upheaval of many traditions and values in the streets, in culture and in the context of war. Rising rates of divorce, “just war” dialogue, civil rights legislation, even the “God is dead” announcements prompted study and action by the CLC in the areas of family life, war and peace and racial reconciliation.
1970’s – life was shaped by the US migration from the rust belt to the sunbelt, the defining women’s movement, Watergate and political cynicism. Religious factions began, the Jesus revolution and para-church organizations grew and the CLC was active in building the strength of the laity, clarifying the role of religion in schools, building bridges of trust for Baptists to other denominations and other faiths, and bringing leaders in ethics to Texas Baptists.
1980’s – saw the rise of the Moral Majority, the fall of the Berlin wall, the beginning of the desktop computer and mobile phones,. Mega churches emerged and fractious Baptist disputes strained the fabric of unity in Texas. The CLC responded with dialogue and action to clarify Baptist principles, sustain historic institutions and mobilize leaders on the ethics front to resolve violence in families, lead the opposition to gambling in Texas.
1990’s – a decade characterize by consumerism and economic boom. At home celebrity culture and the strength of fundamentalism grew. Abroad, Europe, Africa & Asia all responded to the fall of communism abroad. Missions felt the strains of conflict from US Baptist bodies. Support from the CLC Hunger Offering sustained worldwide missions and projects. The CLC lead Texas in advocating for children, supported substance abuse ministries and engaged a robust ethical conversation about bio-ethics and the environment.
2000’s – Global concerns exploded: terrorism, climate change, worldwide poverty. Technology and digital expansion changed the channels for conversation, communication and networking. Clergy scandals and religious pluralism stretched the fabric of faithful leadership. The CLC grew too, expanding its scope to international issues, adding an Austin office for public policy, beginning immigration ministries, advocacy to reform the criminal justice system, and a policy focus on hunger and poverty.
Sixty, they say, is the new….30? 40? This is certainly true for the CLC…Robust, strong, and committed to bringing conviction into action. The CLC is worth celebrating as a special ministry tool in the hand of a loving Father. Our joy is service and we are led by Jesus’ example of a transforming faith. This mission is aptly authored by Joe Haag in the opening paragraph of the CLC brochure, so I’ll brag about his work:
“To follow Christ means that we allow his life to gain leverage against our lives. Against our lust for power, he endures the cross. Against our pride and arrogance, he washes the disciples’ feet. Against our upward mobility, he preaches good news to the poor. Against our self absorption, he has compassion on the multitudes. Against our tight circles of family and friends, he reaches out to strangers. Against our safe noninvolvement, he confronts the powers. Against our violence and hatred, he demands that we love our enemies. Against our self righteousness, he welcomes sinners. Against our bigotry, he tells us about a Good Samaritan. Against our frenzy, he invites us to trust God. Against all the lies which enslave us, he tells the truth which sets us free. How can we be transformed into the image of Christ? One answer is that as we surrender our lives to God’s purposes, God changes us.”