The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) was founded by John and Vera Mae Perkins in 1989 and is, “a network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities wholistically restored. […] To this end, we follow Jesus’s example of reconciliation. We go where … Continue reading
A SECULAR HUMANIST FINDS COMMON GROUND WITH RELIGIOUS SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISTS Guest post by Trav Mamone I don’t believe in any gods. I don’t believe in Yahweh, Allah, Krishna, Zeus, or even some sort of pantheistic Ground of All Being. … Continue reading
Intimacy with God enables us to maintain a passion for justice and a commitment to living in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in poverty. Intimacy with God opens up the door to intimacy with others.
But what is intimacy? Is it emotional? Spiritual? Sexual? Experiential?
And is intimacy taught or is it simply a part of what It is to be human?
Many of us share this passion for justice, though it may not always look the same. If you were to ask my friends and colleagues what I have a great passion for, what lights a fire in my spirit, makes me sit up straighter, and speak a little louder, they would tell you- Human Trafficking.
For others it may be a desire to see equality for the LGBT community, another might seek to improve the quality of life for the Sudanese refugees living here in Omaha, and so on and so forth.
No matter what the cause, our ability to impact issues of injustice is directly connected to our ability to experience healthy intimacy and our ability to experience healthy intimacy is directly connected to our sense of identity.
How do we tell a woman trapped in Kolkata’s sex trafficking industry that she is valuable and beautiful if we do not believe this about ourselves?
How do we encourage a child living on the streets of Peru that God AND others want to know them and want to share a life with them when we don’t know the depths of that type of relationship ourselves?
Hear me when I say that this is not about perfecting self before you can serve others.
Identity, Intimacy, Impact… this is a continuous cycle… not a hierarchy of achievements.
If you have an incredible sense of self-worth and identity but never look beyond yourself than you have missed the point. And if you are celebrated for your acts of service and your fervor for justice but cannot even be vulnerable about who you are with those who love you, than you have cheated yourself. God is a God of intimacy AND of action. She desires for us to know her, each other, AND ourselves…. and then to use that knowledge to bring about peace and justice.
But, most of us do not even know what it is to be intimate with our self and yet, how we relate to the world is a reflection of how we relate to our self. When you consider that, it is easy to understand why we are rarely truly intimate with others.
How often are you alone with yourself? How often do you spend time studying who you are and working on your sense of self?
The above post is part one of the “Identity, Intimacy, and Impact” speech I gave at the January Meeting of Word Made Flesh’s Beggars Society
I often feel that I spend my life in a perpetual season of waiting, a constant state of longing. I long for a renewed sense of purpose, I long for healing in broken areas of my life, I long to meet and love the man that God is preparing for me, and I long to know my life has impacted the world. I am constantly in longing and it is this unending waiting which can rob me of the joy of the present. I can find myself so caught up in the anticipation of future happiness that I am unable to fully experience the joys of today.
A spirit of longing marks Advent itself. If I must be caught up in anticipation of future things I would hope it would be in the spirit of this season. The word Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming”. It is a time of preparation and reflection. As we reflect on the Hebrews who waited on Christ before us we echo that same act now.
Wrapped up in this yearning for Christ is a desire for freedom. People, across each continent, now echo the same cry for freedom of oppression first expressed by Israelite slaves. For some it is a desperate appeal for autonomy from sin and brokenness and for others it is a plea for physical freedom from their oppressors.
The Advent season provides an opportunity for deeper reflection and solidarity with those experiencing injustice. This is a chance for unity founded in a shared desire for deliverance from brokenness, illness, poverty, human trafficking, and injustice in all its forms. It is a shared cry of longing for a God who hears us and participates in our grief as well as our hope. If I must be in a constant state of longing I pray it would be for a God who brings peace and justice and righteousness to the world.