We asked members of our staff to share what moves them to do justice work. This month Michael R. Fisher Jr, Intern for Policy Advocacy, reflects on his vision of the “beloved community” that propels him continue in the struggle for social transformation, even when discouraged.
Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God
I believe in the transformative power of the Christian faith. Yet, I am often very critical of many of the faith claims and assertions that people make that in some manner disenfranchise others. After all, one cannot ignore Christianity’s troublesome history of destruction, oppression, and demonization by people of faith who misused the biblical text to benefit their own perspective and agenda. But even in the midst of Christianity’s tainted past I have discovered the transformative, liberative power of the faith and its uncanny ability to create meaning and value in things, places, and people that others may view as insignificant or worthless.
You see, I believe my faith provides a prescription for how the human community can live together in peace in healthy communal relationships. However, moving toward such a vision - what many have called the “beloved community” - requires the alleviation of the plight of the poor, those who suffer as the “least of these.” The gospel of Jesus Christ provides for me a liberative Christian ethic that outlines my social responsibility as a person of faith.
My understanding of Jesus’ ministry of liberation is the primary inspiration for the anti-poverty, economic justice public policy work I do in Washington, D.C. Poverty is oppressive. It causes extreme stress and strain on individuals and families who struggle simply to survive from day to day. It impedes people from getting the proper health care they need when they are ill. It demoralizes the self image and lowers the self worth of the one who is unable to live in safe, clean, and affordable housing. Essentially, poverty prevents people from living the healthy and holistic life that God intends for all of humanity. Thus, for me, any interpretation of the Christian faith that does not seek to address the mental, spiritual, and physical well being of “the least of these” in the context of their socio-political circumstances is of little social value. As I seek to help develop a culture that honors all of God's creation, my Christian faith, then, calls me to work on behalf of the rejected and dejected, who may be unable to fight for themselves, as I seek to help develop a culture that honors all of God’s creation.
It is this vision of “beloved community” that propels me to continue in the struggle for social transformation even when I’m discouraged or get tired. For what does the Lord require of me, but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.