Bill Walton graciously invited me to come on his show recently and we talked for 25 great minutes about why Hill aides are among the least well-known, but most influential groups in the nation’s capital, Christian apologetics, HillFaith, journalism, and much more.
These two graphs from my response to Bill’s opening question set the tone for the rest of what proved to be a delightful conversation:
“If you were asked, who’s the most influential but least well-known group in Washington, DC, if you really understand how things work in this town, you would say immediately, ‘Congressional Staff.’ There are about 20,000 of them. They are mostly young men and women, highly educated, very motivated, and very smart.
“They have a passion for public service and politics, who are also routinely over-worked, underpaid, and almost nothing gets done in Congress without them. They have tremendous power by virtue of their positions to influence public policy in this country, yet they may well be the most invisible power center in the nation’s capital.”
That headline above poses one of the most important questions anyone can ever ask themselves. Unfortunately, it’s too often one of the last questions all of us ask of ourselves.
The question has a particular relevance for people working on the Hill. At the surface level, everybody in Congress, working for Congress, reporting on Congress, seeking to influence Congress and trying to get to Congress has beliefs, or at least claims to believe certain things.
Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on the water is among the most well-known of His miracles, but there is another important aspect of this event that ought especially to capture the attention of anybody working on a congressional staff.
What’s your ambition? Move up to a better-paid, higher-challenge position with your current boss? Climb the ladder to work for the most influential and powerful senator or representative? Maybe it’s to make contacts and then join a lobbying firm or advocacy group. The Hill is a wonderful springboard in countless ways, but it can also be a tough, risky place to work.
This year marked the fifth in the past six that I have joined a devoted and talented team of nearly two dozen men and women who are present and former members of Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) in Sykesville, Md., on a week-long mission to Puebla, Mexico.
At the outset, let me be clear that my saying this is not “virtue signaling” on my part. That God led me for the first time to go on this mission trip in 2015 was in itself a miracle and concrete evidence of how radically He has transformed a previously selfish, booze-addicted and politics-obsessed egotist with a new heart and desire to love and serve Him, my family, fellow believers, and my neighbors. I get zero credit here, it’s all to His credit and glory.
Being an aide or intern to a senator or representative in Congress is a lot like what it must have been for Daniel, the Old Testament prophet who at a young age found himself among a small group of conquered Judeans being groomed for the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Part of the group’s three-year study and preparation for service to the King involved adherence to a royally prescribed nutritional course that conflicted in key respects with the dietary regimen of the Jewish faith of Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
A great love song captures a moment of realization about the beloved and why they are. Such a song is Bethel Music’s “Goodness of God,” as sung by Jenn Johnson. Photos like the one below can, too, in a sense.
I can hardly ever listen to this beautiful music without being overwhelmed by the realization that God has blessed me so far beyond anything I ever could deserve on my own. And the amazing thing is, He does it simply because that is His love for His children. See Psalm 139:15-16.
Along with “Goodness of God,” I am often reminded of these blessings looking out the window in my home office into the backyard. I’ve always loved Fall leaves, and, as you can see in the accompanying photo, they are here in abundance.
So enjoy the “Goodness of God” on this lovely Fall Sunday afternoon.
This post came about today because early this morning as I was walking Twister, our exuberant Black Lab, I was somehow reminded by a magnificent oak of the fact I couldn’t see the trees for the forest on my first “bad” job on Capitol Hill.
Here’s the background: My first job on the Hill was as press secretary for a Maryland congressman. It was a great experience, as I learned so much from Don Baker, a superb Washington Post reporter, about journalism and the news process, and I absorbed volumes about the ways of the Hill.
But then I got over-confident, talked my way into a job working for an older Texas congressman as his chief of staff, and promptly realized I had screwed up royally.
If your boss called you into his or her office today and told you that, since nothing else matters as much as winning the allegiance of voters, you must sell all of your possessions, say goodbye to your friends and family, and focus your every ounce of strength and waking hour on the campaign until election day, would you do it?
Think about it: If the boss doesn’t win another term, you are out of a job. If you are out of a job, how are you going to pay the rent, buy food and clothes, or take care of your family if you have one?
It’s Sunday morning, June 16, 2019. No matter what you did last night or where you were, the problems, hopes, doubts, suspicions, dreams, fears, ambitions and worries you faced yesterday are likely all still here today.
No, that’s not a negative, that’s a statement of reality. I know how it feels to wake up and either know too well what I did the night before or wish that I didn’t know. That’s how a lot of us live for many years.
And then Jesus Christ on the morning of March 1, 1991, opened my eyes to myself, to Him, to the reality of my need for His saving grace. That was the moment my life changed forever.
This guy has been there, done that. And he just might have some useful insights to share about life on the Hill
By Mark Tapscott
If you work on Capitol Hill, you and I likely have a great deal in common. You, like me, love this country and want to make it better. You are passionate about politics, the campaign trail and the legislative process. You worry about the future, of America, and of you and your loved ones. You probably grew up somewhere else, most likely out there in “Flyover Country.”
Doesn’t matter which political party you identify with or where on Capitol Hill you spend your workdays. Your hours are long and odds are good you could be making more money working somewhere else (maybe a whole lot more if you’ve been here for a few years).
But you get to rub elbows with many of America’s most important and best-known leaders, and your work affords endless opportunities to meet and work with interesting and amazingly smart, skilled people. Money can’t buy the satisfaction that can come with that, right?
Fact is, for better or worse, the Hill is the center of your world. Maybe not tomorrow, but for now, most of your friends also work here, including people you socialize with, enter into (and out of!) romantic relationships, and compete with to grab that next rung up the success ladder. Continue reading “What Is HillFaith and Why Should You Care?”
Taking the Good News to the ends of the Earth includes sharing the Gospel with people working for Congress
God has already blessed HillFaith in countless ways that I never expected and one of most important of them is the number of readers like you who have chosen to follow this humble blog.
Clicking on the Follow link in the right-hand column of the homepage is all a person has to do in order to receive an alert whenever a new post appears on HillFaith. If you haven’t also followed HillFaith on its Facebook page, you can do so by going here.
Proponents of atheism like Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and Sam Harris have become prominent public figures, thanks to their intelligence and debating skills, science knowledge and formidable public presences.
They are helping prompt the renewal of a much-needed public debate in the U.S. and Europe on the Theory of Everything (TOE) questions: Why is there something rather than nothing, why does the universe exist, why are human beings in it, and what happens to us after we die?