"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Sunday, April 08, 2007

in good faith

in my research on social change organizations, i came across a book called Dry Bones Rattling, about faith-based activism in the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).

i was skeptical at first when i read about how the IAF relies heavily on religious organizations and religious community leaders for building its power base and affecting broad social change. it seemed to me that incorporating people of strong faith could potentially alienate non-religious people, and even repel many progressive individuals, who (in my experience) often repudiate organized religion.

but after attending my second Passover Seder at the house of a kind friend, and taking part in the reading of the Haggadah, i soon saw that religion may share many of the same ideals and goals of social change movements. or, rather, that activism draws its inspiration from many religious teachings.

for example, from the Four Children section of the seder (at Passover, the family confronts the stories of their ancestors' pursuit of liberation from oppression. this section gives suggestions for ways in which to answer the children when they ask the elders how to pursue justice in our time):

"[The Indifferent Child may say:] 'It is not my responsibility.'
Persuade him that responsibility cannot be shirked. As Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, 'The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference. In a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, but all are responsible.'"

i liked that part very much.


and i found Passover Seder to be quite delightful. it was so nice to be amongst friends and gentle strangers, and to feel so welcome in a home not my own. it made it very difficult to remember that there are others suffering from hunger, disease, war, injustice, when the world seemed so filled with light.


let us take care of each other,
stephan!e

1 comment:

Brian said...

Hi Steph,

The interesting thing is, that at their core, all religions claim to have stewardship of the earth as a tenant.

Glad you had a wonderful weekend.