What do Lutheran women say about faith and politics? Over the next two Mondays, Women of the ELCA’s blog will share the essays of Lutheran women who were asked to describe why they are politically active. These essays appear in the Women of the ELCA resource, “Called to be Political: (But I don’t want to be political!).”
Elyssa J. Salinas-Lazarski
For me, being political begins with listening. I grew up listening to political opinions—first, my family’s, and then others’. I read widely: Mary Wollstonecraft, Betty Friedan, Plato, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gloria Anzaldúa. I listened to and read their stories—and learned that different experiences lead to different perspectives.
As a doctoral student, I know that being political comes with the responsibility of doing what I do best—research. I would not hand in a paper without proper research, so I should take that same care when making a political decision. As a student, I am required to listen even as I research, and this listening resounds with humility because I do not have all the answers. It brings me back to the end of Micah 6:8, “. . . walk humbly with your God.”
Being political is not about being the one with the one right answer. It’s about seeing that there is a bigger picture that includes the stories of other people: people who don’t look like me, people who don’t think like me, people whose livelihoods require something different of them than mine does of me.
Being political for me is about listening, because from my vantage point as an able-bodied, heterosexual, cisgender, married, white-passing Latina who has had the privilege of education, I know I do not have the experience to answer all my political questions. And so I surround myself with people and opinions that help me see past my own reflection to another story because being political is not about me.
Being political is about working together to build a better world for all the children of God, setting aside differences to recognize Christ in each one of us and taking action to protect one another.
Elyssa Salinas-Lazarski, MDiv., is Adjunct Faculty in Theology at Dominican University. She is a doctoral student in theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her research focuses on theology of the body and sex, integrating her Lutheran faith, and her experience as a Mexican-American and as a woman. Alongside her studies, she is a teaching assistant, poet, and hobby baker. Salinas-Lazarski’s poetry and blog posts can be found at Bold Café; The Mudroom; Open Plaza by the Hispanic Theological Initiative; and We Talk, We Listen. She lives in Oak Park with her husband, two children, and two cats.