moral mondays.

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I was raised in the church, so I know that my hope isn’t supposed to be in politics but in the will of God (though people never say that when their own party is in charge). But I confess that it is difficult to hold out hope for the future when the NY Times runs an editorial saying that your state is in decline.

To be fair, I was already discouraged. Working in education and being a parent have made me aware of how little the people in power actually care about investing in our children, in building a future for them. Plus, I’ve been doing some reading and thinking and learning about Jesus, and it might be making me a little bit radical.

“Jesus was, as we shall see, among those advocating and practicing active nonviolent resistance to the domination system. Public criticism, then as now, was a form of resistance.” –Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary by Marcus Borg

When my state voted on amendment one last year, something in me was unleashed. Now I’m the person who stays up late watching Wendy Davis and the Texas legislature streaming on the iPad while my coworker tries to sleep in our hotel room. I am the lady who refreshes the SCOTUS blog in an aquarium and on a bus to get the latest rulings. I write my governor and I listen to political podcasts and I write my governor again, but nothing changes. In fact, the governor, my elected official, doesn’t even acknowledge my emails.

(Don’t worry, I’m about to get to the hope part.) (That means this is where Jesus comes in.)

I only recently heard the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that “the arc of moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Maybe I heard it before and it didn’t mean anything because I thought talking about the moral universe was about getting people to comply with the rules of my faith tradition. But now I see that he was talking about being part of that bend towards justice. It’s been a big switch for me to think about a life of faith being about following Jesus’ example rather than about believing all the right things, but as I have stopped believing in the checklist faith, I have seen how my voice, my participation matters. It matters when my faith compels me to stand up for schoolchildren and teachers and access to healthcare and unemployment benefits, because what other gospel is there?

It would be nice if participation in the message of Jesus was easy and convenient, but, in the end, I decided to take Atticus to Raleigh for the 10th Moral Monday protest organized by the NC chapter of the NAACP. There were people of different ages – babies on up to old-school feminists still wearing the same shirts they wore in the 70s (which is kind of awesome and kind of discouraging) – but there were also people of different faith traditions, different races and ethnicities, different sexual orientations. We were bonded by our shared love of North Carolina (despite the governor’s claim that we are “outside agitators”) and our concern for its future. I whispered in Atticus’s ear so he would know, This is what the kingdom of God looks like.

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For further reading:

Lauren Winner’s thoughts on participating in Moral Monday.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s letter to his kids on why he got arrested at Moral Monday (and other recent posts as well).

Milton Brasher-Cunningham’s post on Moral Mondays that made me realize that I had to go for myself.

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