Yesterday I wrote about grounding our actions, especially social justice actions in faith. My friend Leslie commented, “A challenge because there are large groups who align with a faith or use faith as an reason for egregious behavior.”
And yes, she is correct. How can we know if we are truly centered in God’s will or simply kidding ourselves and using faith to justify the ideas and beliefs we already have?
It is a tough question. You can find well respected and/or popular religious figures on all sides of any issue.
One of the first things I was going to say was that we should be in conversation with people who think differently than we do. People who will challenge us. But for most of us, myself included, our religious homes don’t include a wide variety of beliefs or political views. All of us tend to hang out with folks who have similar values. There’s not much point in pretending otherwise.
Speaking as a Christian, I can read the Bible. But so do six day creationist and complementarians to name a couple of examples. Frustratingly it is possible for people to disagree about Biblical interpretation each having prayerfully and thoughtfully engaged the text.
We could add that if our actions promote justice and peace maybe that means we have properly aligned ourselves. Brain science tells us how incredible easy it is for us to convince ourselves that our motives are pure.
Are we loving? Surely that is a good criteria? I know people who think the loving thing to do is to tell LGBTQ folks they are going to hell. They sincerely believe that and feel that for the good of the other’s soul that they need to speak this “truth”. A lot of damage has been done by people who believe they are “speaking the truth in love.”
This isn’t easy, is it? And Leslie’s comment needs to be taken seriously. Let’s hope that Ginger Gaines-Cirelli the author of Sacred Resistance will help me out with this question as I keep reading.
Today the only answer I have is humility. We need to consider carefully, prayerfully that we might be wrong and be open to change. Which, if we are honest, is hugely difficult. That’s what I’ve got tonight. I’d love to know if you have a better answer.