I believe that advocating that our institutions and systems provide equitable treatment and healing opportunities for those who heretofore were constrained or denied access to such opportunity is what it means to be a public church, the Body of Christ in the world. The light of the gospel reaches into the brokenness of sin and the resulting injustice that sin provides, lifting us all into grace.
Being a justice advocate is about lighting the way, naming the sin and cleansing the wounds of that sin—if not personally, then we do it corporately as when we impact entire systems by arguing for and insisting upon justice for all. Being an advocate for justice can be exhilarating; there is no greater high than to be able to impact a system for the better!
At the same time, advocacy humbles. Reaching out—helping people connect with the information needed to understand how what is happening right now requires their energy as people of God advocating for justice—is exhausting. When we feel that everyone shares a single reality and sees the world correctly when they see it the same way that we do, we have no need to learn from others. We covet; we war and express wrong judgments. When we cling to the divisions and bitterness we glory in our brokenness.
In my 2013 studies of the Inner Castle by St. Teresa de Avila I was shaken to my core to understand how feebly I contain the love of God. At the same time, I have grasped that it is Love Himself that holds me. At some point I turned a corner. It is Love not justice that I seek.
What do you seek?
Inez Torres Davis is director for justice.
Photo by takomabibelot. Used with permission. The photo depicts a sculpture of St. Teresa de Avila created by Gregorio Fernandez, circa 1614.