Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to Do Activism

There are a lot of different things happening on behalf of social justice. Certainly, it is not ever quite enough, but there is a lot going on. Right here in Columbus, you can book your calendar quite solid attending one justice-related event after another each day of the week.

There is so much going on, but so much that needs to be done. It is quite easy to get lost in the confusion. What do you do? How can you make a difference?

I recommend the following two-part strategy: First, pick an issue that is near and dear your heart. The Good Lord will guide you in this. It may even be something that surprises you, perhaps an issue you never expected. A chance encounter with a stranger may open up a whole new world for you (as a side note, there is no such thing as "chance").

But I would suggest not stopping there. The second part is this: There is a time to leave our picks and our shovels in the fields, drop everything and run to help our brothers and sisters on a particular cause. Sometimes the timing is just right and the momentum is such that it makes a difference to pull together now. In case you are wondering, all signs seems to be saying that this issue is Immigration Reform right here in the USA.

So work on a particular cause and leave some room to jump in when many hands are needed. As you reach the depths of that one cause you may find that it is fundamentally related to most other (if not all) causes for justice. For example, I may work against the death penalty, but to me what the death penalty really underscores is the extent of the radical love of Christ--even the most heinous criminal is not outside of that love. Certainly this love is not contained within the issue of the death penalty but rather spills out into everything else. The death penalty becomes a lens through which to see the whole. If this love of Christ even includes them, then that mus radically alter how we treat everybody.

This isn't the only way to do activism. I also have quite a bit of regard for groups that work on a multiplicity of issues. A smorgasbord of social justice is a very important witness to the holistic reality of life here on earth--you can't subdivide justice into this cause or that cause, but rather all justice is related, and it all matters. It makes no sense to be thoroughly against abortion but offer not even a nod to work against war or the death penalty. The very ideology under the right to life is just that--the fact that all life matters.

No comments: