What is the work of justice? What is the work of love-in-action?
Members of our community are beginning to float these questions. There is a need to act, but also a need to protect ourselves. People are tender right now. Distraught, even. A quarter of eligible voters in the US managed to usher in a new era of American neo-fascism. I would say that’s legitimate cause to be concerned. Our emotional reactions are reasonable.
But inaction is not reasonable. So we’re trying to strike a balance. Many are wondering, where do we begin? Does the church become a political space? We should probably ask ourselves if the Christian Church could ever truly be a-political. We might dodge the subject of electoral politics when it comes up at coffee hour, but are we going to avoid talking about Muslim internment? Perhaps that sounds extreme, but it isn’t. There is a precedent for everything that is happening right now.
This blog is a form of action, but only in so much as it allows me to clarify my ideas and hopefully engage with others in dialogue. The internet is full of words, and some say blogging is an increasingly meaningless platform. They might scoff at the idea that writing is action, or they may call it little more than act of futility.
I reject that notion.
In the face of an ideology that would seek to silence, erase, and disempower voices of dissent, the most important thing to do is to speak. Or for me: to speak, to pray, and then to write it down.
I’ve found myself speaking in unabashedly religious, decidedly Christian terms lately. Sin (read: oppression) and salvation (read: liberation) are on the tip of my tongue in nearly every conversation. My take on these theological terms may rub you the wrong way, and if so I’d encourage you to spend some time with the discomfort. Perhaps God is speaking into that feeling. I stand by my interpretation, though. The entire world looks different once you recognize sin as oppression and oppression as sin. Something breaks open. The Gospel sings anew.
Jesus is said to have freed a man from a spirit that had silenced him (Luke 11). He did so just after he taught his disciples how to pray – how to humbly acknowledge their utter dependence on the providence of God. Jesus told them to knock, to seek, to ask (in short, to use their voices and their bodies) and to be persistent with their actions.
Don’t just knock once on the door of Justice; knock as many times as it takes for that door to be opened. Seek equity in times of peace and in times of conflict, for the powers that seek to perpetuate inequity do not rest. Ask for the wisdom to know how to act, the courage to act when the time comes, and the humility to know that even the outcome of your action is in the hands of God.
But for Jesus’ sake, act.
I write. And I begin to speak more about how Jesus is in all of this. I speak of God’s immediacy, and the movement of the Spirit through our houses of worship. I encourage individual members of my community to respond with a sense of urgency to the coming tyranny, and to be vigilant in their resistance. We must let our strength be in the knowledge and love of God, and we must not grow complacent.
But we need to get our houses in order, friends. We need to clear the path for the movement of Love in our midst.
There is no time. The kingdom of God is at hand.