I just started reading Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent by Ginger Gaines-Cirelli. I’ve only read two chapters, but so far it is well worth the time to read it.
There are a lot of frustrated angry people around these days, because there are a lot of things to be angry and upset about. In the work of trying to make a difference, how do we keep from becoming one of those angry, frustrated people? How do we shift ourselves away from anger into a healthier state of mind? It begins with our starting point.
We must start with God, with our focus on God, attentive to God’s ways. As Gaines-Cirelli writes, “Therefore, our inward posture centers on God and resists all that is not God, resists all that is counter to the ways of God revealed through Jesus….We have welcomed the work of Spirit within, work that constantly reforms our hearts and minds, draws us more deeply into God’s grace, and nudges us to act. The nature of our being necessarily affects and directs the focus of our doing.” ( page xxi)
Sacred resistance doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes, we’re not guaranteed perfect insight. It doesn’t mean we don’t get angry or frustrated, but it does mean we don’t stay that way.
We need to be attend to our relationship with God. Because our ability to resist comes out of that. Not out of fear or anger, but emerging from a sense of God’s desires for the world. It is not opposing policy simply to be obstructive. Working for God’s vision for the world (as best as we understand it) means we oppose what would impede or hinder that vision. Working for what is of God (again as best as we are able to discern) and resisting what opposes God’s way (as best we are able to discern).
I have a lot of qualifying statements in that last paragraph- as best as we are able to understand or discern- because not one of us is perfect. Not one of us lives without error or misunderstanding. It seems to me that a certain amount of humility is part of sacred resistance. We need to be willing to learn and grow and even change our minds, always seeking for God’s will.
It seems to me the centering, the grounding of ourselves in God is crucial to the work of sacred resistance.