“Everyone ’Neath Their Vine and Fig Tree”

19 Feb
Anthony Manousos and Jill Shook

Anthony Manousos and Jill Shook

Last Thursday the Whittier Daily News published a commentary written by my husband, Anthony Manousos, and me. We’re thrilled at this chance to share about issues of faith, stewardship, and social justice with the greater Los Angeles community.

We enjoy both co-authoring and co-speaking. In fact, on Sunday we spoke at the Quaker meeting in Santa Monica about each of our books. It was very well received and people were inspired to deeper trust and action. We closed by singing our marriage theme song, based on Micah 4:3-4: “Everyone ’Neath Their Vine and Fig Tree,” which is the article title.

In the commentary, Anthony and I discuss the ways in which we try to live out our beliefs. Among them is my work in affordable housing, based in my view of Jubilee and of justice for all, especially lower-income people.

Here are some excerpts:

Although my wife Jill and I come from very different theological perspectives—I am a liberal Quaker, and she is an Evangelical Christian—we share many core values in common, including a deep concern for God’s creation. We both believe that the “earth is the Lord’s” and we have a responsibility to treat the earth, and all life, as sacred. …

“God’s green earth” begins in our own backyard and local community. Jill and I do what we can to make our lifestyle sustainable. We grow our own organic fruits and vegetables … We have a passive solar system to heat water for our showers. We are installing a solar power system and are using gray water. We hope to reduce our water consumption by 20-25% and electricity bill by 100% within the next year. …

We also advocate for policies that will benefit the poor and the environment. As a member of the Christian Community Development Association—a multi-ethnic, interracial group of Evangelical Christians committed to economic justice—Jill advocates for policies to create walkable, less car-reliant communities that are racially and economically mixed. …

Jill’s views on housing and the environment are grounded in the biblical idea of Jubilee, which means the God is the ultimate owner of all land. She argues for the creation of more community land trusts (CLT) because in a CLT, people own their homes but lease the land. CLTs ensure that housing will remain permanently affordable. Over 200 cities have CTLs that provide affordable housing to low income workers.

You can read the full article on the Whittier Daily News website. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and how you may also be trying to live out your faith.

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