As a sociology undergrad in Washington, D.C., I learned a lot about protests and civil actions. And as a participant observer, I canvased communities, conducted surveys, organized protests, marched for causes, and rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court.
As I’ve incorporated this wisdom into ministry, I also have a richer appreciation for the activists who chose paths of peace and non-violence. Each of these spiritual masters worked daily, faithfully, courageously, diligently, and prayerfully, to create global change and to offer paths of enlightenment to anyone seeking new ways of being and doing.
Overall, one thing is clear: These masters — among them Sojourner Truth, Henry David Thoreau, Dorothea Dix, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela — didn’t seek their own glory. They acted, grounded in the heart of their faith, for the highest and best, the equity and equality of all humanity. They focused always on the transformation they sought, rather than on what problems they were against.
If you’re ready to help transform our world for the best of all humanity, please consider these suggestions:
- Get involved with the interfaith councils in your community.
- Grow your own spiritual understanding by attending an event, meeting, or worship service completely different from your own.
- If you don’t currently attend a church, mosque, synagogue, or other spiritual center, consider joining one. Look for those which honor diversity and affirm the Presence of God, the Divine, in all people.
- Affiliate with and patronize only those groups or companies, especially local businesses, which respect all people.
- Listen for “Yes, but . . .” language which is the language of exceptions, excuses, and exclusivity. Seek people, places, and organizations focused on inclusivity. Listen for the “Yes” which includes everyone.
- Choose non-violent, peaceful actions, remembering that they are strong, centered demonstrations of assurance, faith, and power.
- Refrain from screaming, fighting, or arguing, especially with someone who tries to make your way “wrong,” or engage in theological or political debates. Instead, consider saying: “I hear that’s what you believe. I believe this.” Or, as has happened to me, if someone yells: “I’m praying for your soul,” you might reply: “Thank you. I appreciate your prayers.”
- Contact all your city, county, state, and national officials to share your concerns and opinions. Even if you didn’t vote for them, they’re in office to serve the good of all their constituents, not those of a few.
- If your current, elected officials aren’t serving as you believe best, support the campaigns of candidates who hold similar values to yours.
- Remember that even those we dislike are children of God. Rather than using valuable energy hating them, pray for their enlightenment, knowing that, at any moment, hardened hearts can open and blinded eyes can see.
- Overall, keep your mind — and heart — open. Stay prayed up, especially as you discern how to act. And, to avoid discouragement, celebrate even the smallest of victories, knowing that transformation, for all of us, is happening one step at a time.
© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.