The whole church needs to encounter the courage and truthfulness of the fact that God created us good, to love and be loved.
There are so many horrific events in the news. What do we do with the tumult of feelings that rushes through us when we hear about them? How do we navigate this world of lightning-fast news and online echo chambers where we can block particular perspectives and opinions? In these charged, gut-wrenching times, how do we process information and determine what course of action might align with our values? In seminary a professor assigned “reaction/response papers.”
Denigrating "social activist churches" was central to Hauerwas and Willimon's agenda. Yet Resident Aliens revived social gospel arguments.
As church leaders, we have our ears, hearts, and words. We pray that God will use them. But we also have limitations--time, energy, and ability. And even though we feel helpless, like we can never do enough, sometimes being the person who takes the picture, who tells the story is our most important job.
As a writer, being a part of denomination has incredible benefits and difficulties. Here are some things I learned about the relationship between the two.
Social media can reduce activism to a fad—something that we take part in because a particular Twitter hashtag is trending, a video has become viral or a Facebook cause has become popular. It can ignore the hard work that has been taking place over decades and discount a long-term strategy that a community might have.
The whole Kony-video thing seems to be over. Most of the millions of viewers watched the half-hour film about Joseph Kony right after Invisible Children released it. The group's action kits are sold out. Lots of thoughtful criticism has been written and widely shared. Yet I keep coming back to it, because these conversations have revolved around questions I wrestle with regularly as a missionary in Nicaragua.
"I met an activist who said, 'You should go back to Virginia and start to organize.' It took me about three months to send out the first e-mail."