Faith and Public Policy 2017 WDC

Faith and Public Policy: A Week Later

It has been a week since we came back from Washington DC. I was exhausted and inspired. I have spent the last week catching up at home and resting, but mostly just processing all that I learned and all that confronted me during our immersion. It was intense! When we were there, I felt caught up in the energy of the city, and the call to action. Now that I am home, I am facing a challenge. The fierceness of the movement, and the urgency of the moment seem farther away. I want to stay engaged.

Today I am working on my final project for the course. As I immerse myself again in the materials and in my notes, I am stirred afresh, but the task of overcoming systemic oppression is so immense. There seems to be no justice. I struggle with despair. Even so, I have been resisting my whole life, and I cannot stop now. A scripture comes to mind from Amos 5:21-24. It is one of my favorites:

“I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living.”

So, as I reflect on the inscription on the Supreme Court Building, and the hypocrisy of it all, I know that I am called like it says in Isaiah 1:17 to “learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” and work for all of our liberation.

I consider, as several of our speakers said, that I must focus. I know that it is God’s way to give each person a part to play, and when we all do our part, we accomplish great things together. But, I cannot choose one issue. For me, it would be like choosing one of my children to live while letting the others die. I cannot see a way to disentangle one thing from another, when we are all tied up in this together. I conclude, for now, that this will be my focus; that my voice is meant to lift up the confluence and inseparability of all matters of justice and of all people’s liberation.

This immersion has awakened me to possibility. I am so thankful. I know that I cannot relegate the experience to that week in May 2017, because the experience is diffused in my being. Now, the task is to understand how to embody it. How do I live out the truth that this immersion has made me know? Honestly, I do not know the answer to that question yet. I have shared information with my congregation, and will continue to do so. I will continue in conversation with some of the people who are on the ground in Washington. I will reconnect with the people who are on the ground here that I have drifted from. I will sit with the materials and the blog and my notes. It will take some time to assimilate all that was given me in this immersion. I trust Spirit to bring it to fruition as I go along. As I continue to be attentive, I will become the part I am meant to be. I am glad we are on this journey together, and I look forward to what God will do.