Monday, March 08, 2004

Contradictions: Reconciliation and Activism

I feel as though I'm being asked to do two things at one time. I've been involved in healing ministry since the beginning of my Christian walk. I tend to look at situations in the light of intercessory prayer: toward forgiveness, healing woundedness, reconciling differences and wholeness.

Recently, I've felt dragged into the role of activist, to an as yet small degree. (Me, the former politically apathetic.) When I started blogging, I didn't have in mind a fraction of the stuff I've been writing. Look at Sunday's (March 7) entry: Political activism. Using (or at least trying to use) humor, sarcasm, and pointed commentary to object to censorship.

This takes a little different attitude. The not so conciliatory part of me.

It would be easy to say, "If God wants things a certain way, He'll take care of it," and do nothing. But fatalism is not the Christian way. Christ calls us to be activists in His behalf. We are the body of Christ -- the feet, hands, eyes, ears, mind and mouth of Christ, to do His work on this earth. We are to use the spiritual gifts and talents He gave us to accomplish this work, whether it is feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the mourners or setting free the captives.

It is the qualities within me that draw me to the healing ministry that draw me to the disenfranchised, the victims of oppression, to want to help bring healing. It is the activist in me that wants to squawk loud and long, until the injustice that causes so much need for healing in the first place is corrected.

Living in this diocese, I am seeing so much woundedness. How can any gays or lesbians listen to themselves be called depraved and lower than animals, have political action groups spewing animosity, and not have a terrible wounding?

At the same time, I wonder what kind of woundedness causes someone to be so full of fear or anger toward a group of people. I know that children of abusive situations are often rigid control freaks -- survival meant controlling the people around them. I wonder what kinds of wounds were suffered to make someone feel so threatened, so dispossesed, so angry as to make him or her so intent on controlling the situation by whatever means it takes.

This kind of feeling, taken to its extreme within a group, leads to terrible abuses -- blaming all its ills on a few people, the "them" of whom they are so resentful, who are put into a different box, not fit to be in the same room (or at the same table) with "us."

I'm coming to believe that as Christians, we have to be both activists and intercessors. That means we point out injustices and work to correct them. We also pray for the people concerned, even those who would sneer at any attempts to pray with them -- we simply pray for them. We pray for all to be healed. We pray for those who call us enemies and ask God to lead them and us to repentance.

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