I tend to post a fair amount on my private Facebook page about politics during an election, particularly if all I can see is hypocrisy, fear-mongering, or corruption coming from our politicians. But don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for in any elections, because that’s not what this post about. Nor is it even about politics!
What it IS about is activism.
Are you an activist?
Do you feel a burning passion calling you to make a difference in Aboriginal affairs? In the pro-life movement? In poverty? In the fight against slavery? In standing up for refugees? In standing against multi-national corporations? In the growing prevalence of pornography? Have you ever worked/volunteered for or started a non-profit organization?
Back in university, a friend and I started a student group intended to minister to student single mothers and their children. I have to admit, it was a complete and utter flop! BUT it taught me some things about myself. It was during a time when my life’s trajectory was changing from the pursuit of science and medicine toward a growing desire to nourish the spiritual lives of children (mostly) and women (coming later). Looking back on it, I think that attempt at starting something was pivotal in my spiritual life.
Advocacy and activism are one of the ways that we can deepen our relationship with God.
Scripture is filled with verses about caring for the poor, the vulnerable, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger in our midst.
It’s perfectly natural for many Christians to see a vulnerable group and to set out to defend them.
One of the areas in which activists need to be careful, however, is in making sure our activism comes out of God’s love, and not our wrath. Activists tend to call out the injustice in the world, which can be exhilarating and dangerous. Even with the best intentions, an activist can develop a sense of superiority.
True advocacy comes from a place of conviction and love for humanity – ALL humanity. Not just the unborn but also the unsaved. Not just the oppressed but also the oppressor.
More than any other Sacred Pathway, I think this one can bring you so close to God…but can also push you so far away from him if you’re not bathing your activism in prayer and humility.
Recently I’ve been thinking about how one becomes an activist while also being a parent. I can’t jump on a plane to the Philippines and rescue children from slavery. But I can do some (or all) of these things:
- save the lives of children in extreme poverty by becoming a volunteer advocate. My absolute favourite organization is Compassion, and you can get involved in their Canadian advocacy group here. I have been a Compassion Advocate for years (although I’ve been doing a pretty terrible job of it recently)! They are a FABULOUS organization with amazing track records, both fiscally and ministry-wise. They have loads of different volunteer positions for people with different skills and abilities.
- find petitions that inspire you on SumOfUs or Change.org – sign them and share them…or start your own!
- becoming informed about election issues rather than simply getting fed by my Facebook newsfeed.
- if you’d like to help your children connect with God through activism, here’s something we did with our family.
- go shopping. Make your dollar count by buying fair trade, eco-friendly products.
If you feel like you would like to know more about this sacred pathway – it’s in-depth descriptions, warnings and benefits, please snag yourself a copy of Gary Thomas’ book! Even if you just read the synopsis, it will give you a great idea of where I’m going with these posts!
Here’s a link to a quiz you can use to help identify your sacred pathway(s). Please remember though, that just like any online quiz, there are flaws. For example, I don’t rank very high in the “intellectual” pathway according to their particular examples, but I definitely feel like that is one of my strongest pathways. Anyway, try it, maybe you’ll learn something new!