I’ve spent the first weeks of January meeting with people who have expressed an interest in social justice and I’ve talked frankly with my friends within the church, and with my Bible study group. We shared thoughts about the acceptance of people of difference in the Pascack Valley region and if there is a need for improvement in our celebration of diversity. Unfortunately, even though everyone I speak with applauds my efforts and wishes me the best of success, not one person wishes to join the team and help me develop the ministry.
Indeed, most people feel there is no need at all for addressing diversity in our area. They see the problem to be “out there” and “not here”.
I am, for the moment, discouraged. I feel like the teacher in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” asking his students to engage. “Anyone? ... Anyone?”
I don’t pretend to have all the answers or even know the correct questions to ask ... which is why I’m seeking the help of a dedicated core team. Perhaps I see a problem where there is no problem – or perhaps others are unaware of a problem because it does not affect them? Perhaps, like Ferris Bueller, some of us are out playing, enjoying ourselves too much to be concerned. We've embraced Ferris' philosophy: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Still, I ask, are we truly seeing the world around us while we are taking time off to "look around"?
I will continue to ask these questions, and I will continue to meet with more people, inside and outside our church, in the coming weeks. As I share with you what I’m learning, perhaps you will be inspired to help us devise a plan to seek social justice. I cannot, and should not, do it alone.
In the meantime, I encourage you to sign up for the weekly newsletter from the General Board of Church & Society at umc-gbcs.org to learn what they understand to be happening "out there".
Seek me out, and let me know what local social justice issues speak to you "here" and how you’d like to help. Tell me if I’ve got the wrong idea or if I am on the correct path – tell me your truth. I promise to listen and engage.
In Christ’s Peace, Lisa Schoelles