I am in Philadelphia, PA this weekend. I just attended a wedding & reception of a high school friend. On my flight here I had a chance to read chapters 4 & 5. I will post on chapter 4, and then blog on chapter 5 later today (since it’s after midnight) or on Monday. Jim Wallis shared two lessons that he learned from his involvement in social justice ministry.
1. “Protest is not enough; it is necessary to show a better way,” (pg. 45).
2. “Our most difficult and darkest moments are precisely the time to embrace the nurturing relationships that remind us how precious and sacred the gift of life really is,” (pg. 46).
Amen to that. Focusing on the first lesson he said that it is easier to protest; providing alternatives is hard work. It takes more creativity and requires more risk, (pg. 46). Which is precisely why most people just protest or do nothing at all.
“Protest should not be merely the politics of complaint… It should instead show the way for both personal and social transformation… The power of protest is not in its anger but in its innovations,” (pg. 46).
I see this concept in play in the right to life movement. It is one thing to just protest abortion, and I firmly believe that we must advocate for the unborn since they themselves do not have a voice. We shouldn’t stop there however. We need to support crisis pregnancy centers. We need to begin more ministries like Ruth Harbor in Des Moines who take in unwed mothers-to-be and love on them and support them while they are going through pregnancy. We also need to consider how we can help lower the rate of unexpected pregnancies among unwed mothers. There is much that can be done to reduce the number of abortions proactively.
I know personally that I am frustrated when someone comes to complain to me about x, y or z, and does not bother to offer any potential solutions. So we must be willing to provide a different option(s).
Wallis shares about the “six-point plan” that Sojourners/Call to Renewal and others provided shortly before the Iraq War as an alternative – a third way. It addressed the importance of combating terrorism and provided things to be implemented that were alternatives to war. They are:
- It called for the disarmament of Iraq. Inspections that were backed by an international force to accompany inspectors to insure that they were able to complete their mission without hindrance.
- It also called for Saddam Hussien’s removal from power, and bring him before an international tribunal. My question is how would this be accomplished? Also I’m not convinced that an international tribunal is legit or effective.
- International involvement to foster a democratic Iraq. I’m just curious what examples we have of the U.N. being effective in national building?
- Push Mid-East peace plan that includes a Palestinian state.
- Focus on network of suicidal terrorists.
Alternatives are better. I thought the six-point plan had some interesting ideas, it is too bad it wasn’t brought brought up earlier.