My wife and I were driving back from St. Louis this last week when we came upon some road construction. It was bumper to bumper traffic. Cars continued to zoom in the left lane going as far up as they could go before merging despite the signs saying no passing. A big rig in front of us pulled over to the left lane physically blocking the other vehicles who were attempting to zoom by past those who were waiting. I could hear a collective shout from the cars both in front and behind mine because the action the driver took. We joked about how events like this are when society is the most unified. This of course was the unification of the cars to keep out those who had not waited their turn.
This event reminded me of the importance social justice has in today's world. More than ever before we as a community desire to have social justice even in the smallest arena's of life. Some people have left churches because the lack of action and care for their community. I completely understand this because churches need to be actively living out the message of Christ. I also believe churches can be the primary change agent for social justice in a community. So lets look a little closer at social justice and who knows maybe you have the idea that a local church or community needs.
Value the Idea
Improv comedy is so much fun to watch. I laugh at the randomness and complete chaos it produces because it's original and authentic. One reason it's so great is because those acting value the ideas of those around them. If they didn't there would be lashing back and forth instead of a collective product for those watching to enjoy. Here's a clip of a group called Roman Improv. They play a game called Speak in One Voice which starts around the 1:30 minute mark. While you watch also see how they value the other's ideas.
Ideas are precious and need to be gently taken care of. When ideas are valued people are valued. The idea is something from the person, a part of them that could lead to something great. So how does this connect with social justice. Creating social justice starts with an idea. You never know how one little idea could impact your community. So hold up others ideas! Creatively think with them and together maybe change can happen.
The truck driver took action when he saw a need. We have opportunities everyday to take action too. Open your eyes to the needs of those around you in your community. I am sure ideas will float in and out of your head if you intentionally look. Harness the power of your thought and move on it. Remember, action is about collaboration. Who else is working towards the same goals? Who can benefit and build on this idea? What resources or people do you need to carry it out? Do you have a diverse team with different perspectives?
Doctrine and Covenants 165 1d&e
"Undertake compassionate and just actions to abolish poverty and end needless suffering. Pursue peace on and for the Earth. Let nothing separate you from this mission. It reveals divine intent for personal, societal, and environmental salvation; a fullness of gospel witness for creation’s restoration."
You Make a Difference
In the story above I have been both the person that zoomed ahead and also the person that waited in line. Social Justice in society is all about our perspective and culture. I think its important we keep this in mind. If you find something unjust than how you communicate it makes all the difference. The goal is to unify those around you so they see the need. Everyone makes a difference in creating social justice. I could have very easily slowed down and let cars in despite the action the truck took. But all those in line pulled together tighter for the same common goal. This shows we all have a role to play.
For those out there that are wanting to meet the needs around them and push forward social justice. I encourage you to find a community that will support your ideas and your initiative. I believe most Community of Christ congregations can be this place. Most are starving to become the hands and feet of Christ. It may just be your idea that they need.
Thank you for following our blog! This week think of ways you can help your community. Write them down and share them with a friend.
Craig Hidy like the majority of ministers in Community of Christ is a bi-vocational, self sustaining ordained minister. He is a member of the Midlands Mission Center Emporia Team and an ordained Seventy. He and his family, live in Topeka, Kansas.
What is a Seventy?
The Seventy carry out missionary work for the church in close association with other missionary leaders. They represent Christ primarily as ministers of evangelism through witnessing, inviting, and church planting. They especially proclaim and promote Jesus Christ’s invitation to faithful discipleship through vibrant witness, and train individuals and congregations in witness and invitation. They particularly minister with seekers, individually and in groups, to share the gospel in relevant ways and to invite response. They support sacramental ministries by preparing people for baptism and/or confirmation, presiding at sacramental services, and performing most sacraments. They promote community by inviting individuals, households, and families to respond to Christ’s call to discipleship. They promote justice and peacemaking by inviting people to experience all aspects of Christ’s peace through active discipleship. They create ministry partnerships with mission center officers, apostles, elders, and evangelists.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ or Midlands Mission Center. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.