I meant to do several blog posts while I was in New York, but somehow I didn’t have the words to express all that I was taking in. Now that I’ve had 48 hours to reflect and “come back to reality,” I have so many things to say. My mind is buzzing with information and possibilities. First, I have to say how wonderful it was to be around our delegation and other young adults who attended the CSW. The apathy that usually identifies our generation was nowhere to be found amongst these young adults. The delegates, young and old, are genuinely concerned about social justice issues and work every day to make this world a more sustainable and peaceful community. Not only was it inspiring, it fed my soul. Second, we were continually asked how we would translate all that we’ve learned into our everyday life. For me, I want to take the ideas of gender equality, advancement of women, and other advocacy issues, and find a way to incorporate them into my own community. Being a southerner, I have my work cut out for me. The south is still plagued by gender and ethnic inequality, poor education, extreme poverty, racism, and a myriad of other issues all of which should be addressed by the faith community. Unfortunately, many faith communities in the south (and really, everywhere) have used religion to justify acts of hatred and intolerance against humanity. In my hometown alone, we have several Christian churches where the only use women have is to teach Sunday school. They aren’t even allowed to pray out loud, leaving them with, quite literally, no voice simply because they are women. I am not quite sure this is what Christ had in mind. Isn’t the gospel about radical inclusion? The poor, the sick, men, women, children, sinners… we all have a place in God’s Kingdom because we all are created in His image. God does not discriminate. If we really want to live into our faith, we should continually strive to recognize each other as God’s Creation, and therefore, we are all valuable. We must speak out against injustice because when we deny one, we deny all, and we deny God. The faith community has to lead this movement for radical inclusion.
I had a Jewish studies professor who used to often say, as though to remind us, “What we do or do not do, good or bad, will echo in this world and the next.”
To my own community: How will we lead and how will that echo?