Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. During June, Therese Taylor-Stinson is curating a month of blog posts exploring Contemplation and Social Justice, featuring posts by member os the Spiritual Directors of Color Network, Ltd. Join the conversation here, on Facebook, or Twitter!
Editor’s note: This post is a continuation of “Reluctant Companions Part I.” You may wish to read it here before reading this post!
By Cynthia Bailey Manns
In “Reluctant Companions–Part I,” I wondered how we, the collective we, can engage in conversations about Faith, Race, and Politics, when each topic can be polarizing and tumultuous. Currently, we are faced with so many issues which divide us—misunderstanding of various faith traditions, religious freedom, same gender marriage, LBGT equality, voter suppression, the dismantling of the social construct of race, minimum wage increase, just policing, immigration, poverty eradication, gun control, global warming, education reform, and the list goes on. I, like everyone else, have opinions on each one of them that have been shaped by my spiritual beliefs, which are the foundation for my values and my life experiences. So I ask again, how do we have the difficult conversations necessary regarding these topics in order to act to ensure a more just society?
The only way I know to be a part of this process is to begin with myself. I am giving “spiritual attention” by contemplating how God is calling me to action. I am asking myself:
- What do I truly believe?
- How do I use what Rev. Donna Shaper calls “sacred speech” by acknowledging God’s presence in the words I choose and having an intention of connecting and building bridges instead of divisions?
- How do I listen to another with what St. Benedict calls “the ear of the heart” by recognizing that we all bring our values and life experiences to these conversations, and I need to listen closely to what is being said and not said?
- How do I ensure that I am respectful of another’s viewpoint and not blame, shame, judge, or denigrate them?
- How do I see God’s presence in another, recognizing that we are all more connected then we may choose to accept?
- How am I being called to bring empathy, compassion, and healing to these divisions?
A lot to contemplate. A lot to bring to prayer. I am fully aware that we are the recipients of the sins and graces from those who came before us. Now it is our time to determine what sins and grace we will leave for those who come after us. How are you being called to action?
“Listening entails vulnerability because it entails that we can be influenced.” George Mumford
How you consistently respond, is consistently who you are. ProjectForgive.Com
Every new day is a new beginning, take a deep breath and start again.
Cynthia Bailey Manns, M.A., currently serves as a spiritual director and educator. Her ministry also includes workshop and retreat facilitation. Cynthia is currently completing her Doctorate of Ministry in Spiritual Direction.