Social Policy Blog Post 3: What’s church got to do with it?

Trace the religious roots to social work and examine how social work and religion coalesce and/or diverge today. Make sure to point out at least 4 historical roots, 1 place of coalescing, and 1 divergent point in your analysis. 

I have been on the struggle bus this week. I had a car accident and a sick kid within 24 hours. Let’s see how this goes!

I am a preacher’s kid and was raised by an extremely conservative family. This topic is a tender spot for me. I grew up with all the Bible stories and platitudes talking about helping the poor, sick, widows, and orphans. I also grew up hearing about how “poor people are living off the government” and “they’re just lazy”. I know that not everyone who professes any kind of faith is like this, but it is a common theme. Anywhooo…

Historical connections

  1. Jewish protections for the powerless (gleaning, marriage contracts).
  2. Survival of ancient religious communities was dependent on communal living.
  3. The rise of voluntary social organizations connected to the church during the Second Great Awakening and the influence in moral and social reform.
  4. Settlement houses of the late 1800s that were based on an idea of Christian Socialism.
  5. I’m not sure why this won’t let me delete these numbers because I don’t need a number 5….in the Western world, we don’t value a sense of communal living like ancient communities did. We have an ‘every man for himself’ mentality. This is a divergence.
  6. Churches are still heavily involved with social welfare and volunteering. Food banks, bill payment programs, and international mission involvement are just a few of the ways the church reaches the less fortunate. This is a coalescence.
  7. This is all I got for today. I would like to adjust this at some point, but I’m out of time. Peace!!

Generalist Practice Blog Post 3: NASW Day at the Capitol

For those who attended the Capitol experience: Write about 5 specific things you learned (or were reinforced) from the NASW Day at the Legislature and how you will use them to impact your work on a macro level in your career as a social worker.

Today was an eye-opening day at the Oklahoma state capitol. I started the morning with a tour, followed by check-in and talks by the NASW president Frannie Pryor and lobbyist Kara Joy McKee. After lunch was a panel discussion with Oklahoma legislators from both sides of the political aisle. They all appeared moderate and eager to work with the NASW and other helping professions. There was a brief discussion of their stances on certain things and a quick rundown of some bills that are coming up during this session that might be of importance to social workers. Then we were sent off to meet our reps and talk with them about issues that were pertinent to us and our profession.

I learned a lot today. There were things I learned that I would have been happier not knowing.

  1. My state senator, Rob Standridge, supports taking public education funds and filtering it to private and homeschools. He even talked with some homeschool parents about the loopholes he knows about and ways to get that money into their hands. I’m not anti-private and homeschool. I went to private school for three years, and I was homeschooled for a year and a half. My best education, however, came from public schools. Taking money from public school funds and filtering it into the private sector cheats our children and our teachers out of funds they so desperately need. How can the governor complain about our public school systems when she is allowing this to happen on her watch?? In my macro-practice, the way I would combat this is through lobbying for public education.
  2. The NASW has put out a document to go with the Trump presidential transition called Advancing the American Agenda. We had a brief reading of this document that covered some highlights, but I clearly need to read it in its entirety. Reading this document would give me clarity on where my association stands on the new presidency and how to support my clients as they try to make sense of the things that are happening to them. It has been made clear that many of the social programs that benefit the children with whom I work are at risk of being cut. Even if there is little I can do about those cuts, at least I’ll know where the NASW stands and can use that and the Code of Ethics to support my practice.
  3. I learned that not everyone in the State House and Senate hates each other and hates democrats. The panel was made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, and they were all civil and supportive of one another. I found this heartening. I think it’s a good way to demonstrate civility to the citizens of the state. I can tell groups in my practice that our representatives are civil and supportive of each other and of the work we’re doing. It might help community leaders feel more comfortable approaching them on issues that are important.
  4. I learned that I need to read the 2017 OK Legislative Primer if I’m going to have a prayer of being informed! I’ve not yet read it, and I didn’t even know what to ask my representative (who I did not get to meet with because he was in another meeting). It reminded me of the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Staying informed on policies that effect the populations with whom I work is imperative in a macro setting.
  5. I learned about the importance of the handwritten letter. I’d read about this in an NASW-Texas article on lobbying and grassroots efforts. Admittedly, I dismissed it as something that no one ever has time for. And maybe that’s right. And that might be why those hand written letters are so special when they pass across the desk of a senator or state rep. It means that someone took the time to write down, pen and paper, their needs and concerns for themselves, their families, and their communities. If I need to strongly advocate for my community but can’t schedule an appointment to meet with my representatives, there is nothing quite as special as a handwritten letter. I’ll start using them more often.