Monday, August 9, 2010

A Real Question

How does one work for justice without being constantly angered by the lack of justice?

During election years, I find myself getting so wrapped up in the issues of the day, that I periodically have to take a break. When the source of my frustration was purely the horse race aspect of politics--is my party winning or loosing/being treated fairly or poorly by the news--just a news break was fine. But as my interface with politics becomes more and more about justice, I do not think pure detachment is a good enough answer. (At least not for an adherent to Western religion.) So, what do I need to do?


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  2. Frustration, anger & impatience wear me down, too, I confess. My daughter recently said to me, "It isn't all about politics, Mom." She works as a mental health professional supporting children and families. Sometimes the progress that can be made by getting the right people elected to pass the right legislation is just too slow. Aside from party politics, forming new organizations and alliances, doing work on the ground to create organic change, promoting education and inspiration is another way of establishing justice - maybe with more gratifying evidence of progress than getting caught up in the loud noise of politics. Maybe we create a balance by doing some of both.

    But since you mentioned it, that detachment idea is actually a pretty good one. Yoga, meditation, prayer, reflection time in conversation with a friend - it's good medicine. To be effective it really does need to be a daily discipline. My phone plays a gong sound every morning at 8:40 to help me remember a commitment I made with a couple of friends to pray every day about the same time. I knew I would fail the promise if I didn't have a reminder. What I couldn't forsee is what a comfort that sound is when my alarm goes off. Some days I can't actually stop to pray, but the tone connects me to the feeling of peace associated with the discipline, and I'm apt to find time later to just stop.

    Maybe one can't really work for justice within a political system without anger rising inside. I think about the voice of God often speaking anger through the prophets. Don't bother me with your precious worship! "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." (Amos) God was angry a lot and apparently not patient - but God was steadfast and faithful. Righteous anger in defense of justice can be a powerful energizing fuel. Use it. Speak it on this blog! And between blogs, breathe deeply.