I enjoy sharing an article that brought a teaching or encouragement to my life and thought Saturdays might be a good day to share them with you!
Today’s Saturday Share is from my friend, Kitti Murray, Founder of Refuge Coffee in Clarkston, Georgia.
Here you go:
Maybe you’re like me. You know “Peace on Earth” isn’t a flimsy sentiment. Sometimes peace on earth feels nearly impossible, but as much as you’re able, you want to be an agent of peace in your own uniquely-wired, beautiful way.
Refuge Coffee was founded on the idea that welcome is both a universal need and a universal capacity. We all need it. We can all give it. But I confess that there are days when I edge dangerously close to closing the door of my heart to people whom I perceive to use their power and wealth against peace and welcome for all.
How do we remain loving and welcoming, when the world—at times—appears the opposite?
Here at Refuge, we talk a lot about acts of welcome. Inviting the stranger into our homes. Believing in victims. Giving the same opportunities that we, the privileged, enjoy to those who have had privilege ripped violently away from them. These acts of welcome are just what they sound like: active. So, as much as this Southern, Bible-belt, older woman cringes a little at the label, I guess this makes me an activist.
Activism, I’ve begun to appreciate, is a worthy calling. But all this action needs something else to keep me (and, I imagine, most of us) from falling into re-activism. From becoming the dissenting, angry voice on social media and in our own kitchens, from a self-righteous adherence to the high road that doesn’t call people up but rather looks down on them. From pride that we are “woke.” From becoming the mirror image of the very attitudes we oppose.
Brian Zahnd says, “Before you can become an activist, you must first become a contemplative; otherwise you’ll just be a re-activist. And re-activists merely recycle anger and keep the world an angry place.” In a piece written about the Christian season of Advent, he adds, “So learn to gaze at the stars. Learn to keep vigil in the fields… Learn to be quiet. Learn to wait.”
I’m convinced contemplation is necessary if we are going to do radical acts of welcome. We must think—long and hard and deep—if we are to act well. To be grounded as human beings before moving to action. As a confirmed doer, this is tough for me. But I’ve also learned that genuine introspection almost always makes my actions stronger and more loving in the long run. Richard Rohr writes: “We mostly think like everybody around us thinks unless we have taken some real inner journeys of love, prayer, and suffering.”
Stopping to look within, especially in the difficult or painful times activists can’t help but experience from time to time, often leads to the change I long to see in the world… inside of me.
I wonder if you’re like me. If you are, I remind you to stop and contemplate before your own uniquely-wired, beautiful activism unfolds in 2020.
Looking forward to more acts of welcome together,
Go In Peace, AChuck