Frustration to Reflection from a Judgmental Social Justice Wannabe

Why wasn’t their mention of the tax reform bill passage from the pulpit?

I agree honoring the Sabbath is crucial to sustaining your energy and ability to show up nonviolently. To love instead of hate and to not burn out into oblivion.

However, I craved to hear outrage, weeping, sadness and the offering of reflection of what Jesus would say to the us, what he would call us all to do, how we can move forward to love, help and create a more just world…what he would come steal from us in the night (as Nadia Boltz-Weber speaks to) – our greed, our privilege to look away?

I understand that some would find a sermon laced with political references polarizing – but how did our faith become unwound from action in the world? (Or is it?)

Where people object to sermons calling for the poor to be feed, for equal rights, access to healthcare if this requires being involved in political and/or social justice movements? (Or do they?)

As I told a friend, my pew attendance is hard. I’m trying to stay committed. I need a community for accountability and support. But oh how I judge, judge, judge from the pew. I know this and have to remind myself to be quiet (it is Advent) and listen.

Though I no longer adhere to the belief that Jesus is the only way, I’m still rooted in my faith (with plenty of doubts). Jesus does present a Third Way I try poorly to follow. Which is why I’m still sitting in the pew and hushing my inner critic.

Despite my own personal (selfish) sermon needs (wants), I do see people in my own congregation rising up to help one another – through a food pantry, support of homeless veterans, and much, much more. Maybe some places and some people have different ways of showing up – dare I say, different gifts.

My judgment might need to be stolen in the night and replaced with openheartedness and a wider lens to see all the different forms of activism present in my community.

My offering today, on the 1st day of Advent, is to watch the following segment and reflect if you and your faith community are showing up? And to know there are many actions needed to tackle the injustices of the world – all are needed in this movement.

The Rev. Osagyefo Sekou (left), the Rev. Seth Wispelwey (fourth from right) and Brittany Caine-Conley (fifth from right), a 2014 Eastern Mennonite Seminary graduate, march with other clergy Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter-protest the “Unite the Right” rally. The three will be honored by the National Council of Churches in November. (Photo by Jordy Yager)

I started this piece with frustration but I’m ending it with more hope, reflection, and the confrontation of my own internal judgmental discourse.

I’m starting to see/realize where I fit in my faith narrative.

Anyone have a megaphone?

Before I go, here is a quote I came across today:

 “Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. I don’t think you can explain it as a mere derivative of something here, of some movement, or of some favorable signs in the world. . . . Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. . . . It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.”

– Vaclav Havel, “Disturbing the Peace”

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