Where Is God In All This Pandemic?

Whenever there are tough times either for the nation or for us as individuals, it’s inevitable that people ask where God is in the midst of the challenges, pain and setbacks.

HillFaith is focused on the 20,000 or so mostly young men and women who work on Capitol Hill for senators, representatives and congressional agencies, but I actually live in Maryland and attend Friendship Baptist Church with my wife, Claudia, in Sykesville.

Like thousands of other churches in America, our Sunday morning services, Grow Groups (what used to be known as “Sunday School”) and Connection Groups (small groups for fellowship, service and study) have gone online until the Pandemic is sufficiently past that groups will again be allowed to meet.

This morning’s service by Senior Pastor Mark Massey is on this question of where is God when we need Him in the midst of crises. I suspect there are more than a few HillFaith readers who are asking this question and perhaps Mark’s sermon thoughts will be helpful:


 

A Tribute To A Great Man, Former Sen. Tom Coburn Of Oklahoma

Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) died Friday after waging a long battle against the prostate cancer that prompted his retirement in 2013. I have no doubt that he would still be in the Senate today, absent the cancer.

Former Sen. Tom Coburn RIP

Being a fellow Oklahoman and graduate of Oklahoma State University, I admit to having a particular interest in Coburn, but parochial considerations aside, I admired him immensely because he never succumbed to the temptations of fame and power that too often make Washington, D.C. what it is.

Coburn was first and forever a genuine man of the people, the real-life “Okie from Muskogee,” full of blunt courage, deep common-sense and immense admiration for the wisdom of America’s founders.

There was never any doubt about where this man stood on an important issue or worry that he would betray his principles. That is a priceless virtue in the nation’s capital and one that is far too rarely seen these days.

Coburn was a committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. His family said of his passing that, “Because of his strong faith, he rested in the hope found in John chapter 11 verse 25 where Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, will live, even though they die.’ Today he lives in heaven.”

The genuineness of his faith was seen in how Coburn treated his staff. Tears came to my eyes earlier this morning when I read these words from Keith Ashdown, who was Coburn’s staff director on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee:

“I was raised by a single mom. The closest thing I had to a father figure in my life passed away this morning,” Ashdown said in a tweet. “Senator Tom Coburn was a great lawmaker and even a better man. Working for him was one of the greatest honors of my life.”

And former long-time Coburn communications director John Hart’s tribute stirred my tears as well:

“His family came first and our hearts break for their loss. But those of us who had the joy and privilege of working with him were all his adopted sons and daughters. He made room in his heart for all of us and we kept in close touch with him until the end.

“He would always find time to challenge, encourage, correct and guide us. He touched us all deeply and gave us a gift that has blessed our lives and families beyond measure.”

One of the ways journalists covering Congress privately assess senators and representatives is by what their staffs say about them in candid, confidential moments. Coburn’s staff meant it when they expressed admiration for their boss, which was frequently. Coburn was so different from so many others we cover.

Count yourself blessed immensely if you ever have the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill — or anywhere else, for that matter —for a man like Tom Coburn.


 

 

 

 

STAFF MOVES: Look Who Is Being Promoted On Capitol Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Donald Stevens is the new guy in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s office, serving as Counsel via Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Stevens is a 2014 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He also earned an MA in history in 2010 from the University of Oregon and a BA in chemistry in 2007 from Stanford.

Over on the House side, Ashlee Rossler has saddled up as Legislative Assistant/Counsel for Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio). Ashlee’s law degree was awarded by the University of Wisconsin School of Law in 2019 and she received her BA in international relations and political science from Syracuse University in 2015.

It must be Counsel Week on the Hill because number three here is Ronce Almond heading over to fill that duty for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee via Ranking Minority Member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Ronce’s law and political science MA are both from Duke University, while his BA in history comes from George Washington University.


LOOKING FOR A HILL JOB?

Check out this five-part HillFaith series by Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for Senators Don Nickle (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Bernhardt has a wealth of experience, insider insight, how-tos and obscure terms (know what a “golden reference” is on the Hill?), plus lots of helpful links.

The Best Resources for Finding a Job On the Hill

Where Your Best Job Lead is on Capitol Hill May Surprise You

Getting in the Door on Capitol Hill

Here’s Nine Valuable Tips for Interviewing Well on Capitol Hill

Working on Capitol Hill is the World’s Best Job (Or at Least My Best Ever)

 

 

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted To New Jobs On Capitol Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Kamara Jones has moved over to the Joint Economic Committee as Communications Director, working for Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), the bicameral panel’s vice-chairman. Kamara previously served as Communications Director for the Congressional Black Caucus and before that as Press Secretary for Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). She is a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and earned her MA in African-American Studies from Ohio State University in 2010.

Annie Kowalewski (Screen shot from Twitter)

Annie Kowalewski nabbed her first job on Capitol Hill and it’s a good one, Policy Analyst working for Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Annie’s law degree is from the University of Edinburgh (I absolutely love Edinburrrow!) and her MA in security studies is from Georgetown University.

Joe Fawkner has arrived in the office of Rep. Carol Miller (R-WVA) as a Senior Policy Adviser. Joe formerly lobbied on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was Executive Director of the Hong Kong/U.S. Business Council. Joe was awarded his BA in international studies from Boston College in 2000 and is MPhil in modern Chinese studies from the University of Oxford in 2003.


LOOKING FOR A HILL JOB?

Check out this five-part HillFaith series by Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for Senators Don Nickle (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Bernhardt has a wealth of experience, insider insight, how-tos and obscure terms (know what a “golden reference” is on the Hill?), plus lots of helpful links.

The Best Resources for Finding a Job On the Hill

Where Your Best Job Lead is on Capitol Hill May Surprise You

Getting in the Door on Capitol Hill

Here’s Nine Valuable Tips for Interviewing Well on Capitol Hill

Working on Capitol Hill is the World’s Best Job (Or at Least My Best Ever)


 

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Broad Coalition Of Advocacy Groups Urge Staff Pay Raises

A coalition of good government groups, think tanks and concerned individuals urged four key leaders in Congress in a March 4 letter to support increased pay for the 20,000 mostly young men and women who work for senators, representatives and committees.

The letter was addressed to House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Minority Member Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), chairman of the legislative appropriations subcommittee, and Rep. Jamie Herrera Buetler (R-WA), the ranking minority member of the subcommittee.

Dear legislators:

On behalf of the undersigned bipartisan group of civil society organizations and individuals, we encourage you to raise the funding levels appropriated toward the compensation of your U.S. House of Representative staffers. Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Broad Coalition Of Advocacy Groups Urge Staff Pay Raises”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Being Promoted On The Hill This Week

Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Aryn Fields is now Communications Director for Rep. JaHana Hayes (D-CT). Previously, Aryn was Press Secretary for Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) and before that interned in the personal staff office of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). She is a 2018 MA graduate in political communication from American University and she earned a 2016 BA in government from California State University at Sacramento.

Tanner Spencer appears to be in it for the long run (screen shot from Facebook).

Tanner Spencer was just promoted to Senior Legislative Assistant for Rep. Jim Banks (R-IND), from his prior duties as a Legislative Assistant. Tanner has been with Banks since serving as his campaign field director in 2016. He’s a 2016 graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in public administration.

Now handling scheduling duties for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is Mark Waits, moving up from Deputy Scheduler/Assistant to the Chief of Staff. Mark is a 2019 political science BS graduate from Utah Valley University. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Being Promoted On The Hill This Week”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Great News For Kids! The Nuclear Family Is NOT Disappearing

It’s almost a truism among academics, the mainstream media commentariat and many Washington policymakers that the nuclear family  — one  married man and woman plus their kids — is a dying institution in America.

Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash

Not so, according to Institute for Family Studies (IFS) Senior Fellow W. Bradford Wilcox, writing recently in The Atlantic in response to David Brook’s claim that the nuclear family was a “mistake.” Here’s the top of Wilcox’s article and a link to the rest of an important and timely piece that should be of interest to everybody working on Capitol Hill: Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Great News For Kids! The Nuclear Family Is NOT Disappearing”