I told you earlier this year that I’m committing to shifting my volunteerism from charity to activism. I’d like to focus more on alleviating the causes of suffering at a systemic level. I am slowly discerning what this looks like. I think it might mean pivoting from food packing events and reading support in my kids’ classrooms to programs that advocate for reducing food insecurity and making education funding more equitable.
I’m open to suggestions. For now, on this day after Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I’m considering this quote from Dr. King and this 1997 letter from Father Clay. I’ll ask myself:
- What are my tools?
- What is God calling me to do with my tools?
- What am I willing to risk to do the work God is calling me to?
If you’ve made this pivot yourself, I’d love to hear your story in the comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org. God Bless.
Working for Justice
I invite you to reflect on the following quote:
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967
Working for justice is deep in our tradition. It goes back to the prophets in Israel. It is also something that we seldom do. I would guess that most of us sin by failing to do much of anything. Some of us work for justice but do it poorly. Our minds may be clear and our wills strong, but our hearts are not soft. For others of us, our hearts are soft, but our minds are fuzzy and our wills are hesitating.
Our minds must be clear. We must name the injustice wherever we see it, no matter who is called to task. We must have the courage to face the opposition we will find.
Our hearts must be soft. We must look with compassion on those to whom we are opposed. Like ourselves, they are wounded people caught in the web of dysfunction. If we think of them as the enemy, we will become unjust ourselves.
Smile, God Loves You.
From the letter “Working for Justice,” by Father John Clay. Published in Dear People Whom God Loves, (c) 1999