That’s right. You read that title correctly. My spirituality is political. It’s the foundation for my passions and activism.
Many have been calling 2020, in simplest terms, a dumpster fire. Every single hardship, sidestep, and explosive uprising has happened. The years leading up to this have been the powder keg; the time has come to ignite.
So, if my spirituality is political, how does that fit into the mix? We know the separation of Church and State. We hear the farthest ends of the political spectrum hollering their extremist views. The last thing we’re likely thinking of is throwing God into all of the hubbub.
But perhaps that’s the missing ingredient. Maybe our avoidance of spirituality in our politics and activism is what will spark collective action. My spirituality is political, and let me explain why.
church and religion vs. spirituality.
The elephant in the room: when you say your spirituality is political, do you mean you want us acting for God and throwing Divine names into our actions? Not necessarily.
We must first distinguish the terms “religion” and “spirituality.” We can participate in religions without them having spiritual potency. As many have already discovered, we can amplify spirituality in our lives without structured religion.
Religion provides a clear framework for believing in a Higher Power(s). The traditions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and more. They’re organized systems that create community and ritual.
Spirituality, on the other hand, depends upon the individual. The roots of the term “spirit” refers to “breath.” How does one bring life to what they believe and value? A congregation cannot provide all the answers. In walking your journey, you may feel drawn to religion, or you may want to create your own sense of meaning.
When we separate Church and State, the “Church” is organized religion, the specific groups, doctrine, and names of God we exemplify. Spirituality is deeper, and it most definitely has a place in politics and activism.
how is my spirituality political?
I don’t think I would be a fraction of where I am today, doing what I do, believing what I believe, without my spirituality being political. There’s no use in dividing up those major pieces of who I am and what I believe in.
That’s the key word: believe. What may appear strictly secular can and should have morality behind it. We have certain values innately imprinted on our hearts and minds. Our human instinct beckons us to label and separate, create binaries. However, that often prevents us from seeing the whole picture.
I consider life itself as worship. Every thought and intention, prayer. Every action and decision, ritual. The ways we go about our daily lives exude what we hold true and sacred. It takes radical hope to wake up every morning in a seemingly broken world. Taking care of ourselves and others demonstrates service, the deep love we carry.
These examples are smaller in scale, but let’s throw in how we spend our money, or who we vote for, or what causes we support. Have you ever asked yourself, Why? What about Black Lives Matter, or universal healthcare, or the checked boxes on your ballot, mean to you?
some key spiritual activists.
You may be asking, if spirituality is political, then why don’t I see Spirit or God mentioned anywhere? My response: are you looking in the right places?
Regardless of your beliefs, Jesus was extremely political. He questioned the disparity of the rich and poor, constantly critiqued the Roman regime, and preached pro-Socialist values. His crucifixion wouldn’t have occurred if Jesus hadn’t been creating a political movement through His words and healing. The people today who evoke His name the most would’ve hated Him, ironically enough.
And I cannot forget Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His work went from the pulpit to the streets, a constant back-and-forth in the civil rights movement. Black churches were often the only safe havens in society for the Black community, and Dr. King took advantage of it. And, again, most of America hated him, hence his assassination. Dr. King’s story and how it aligns with the Gospels is no accident in my eyes.
The quote I keep seeing passed along on social media comes from Desmond Tutu: “If you’re neutral in situations of injustice, you’ve chosen the side of the oppressor.” Tutu became the first Black Anglican Archbishop in South Africa, where he played a vital role in ending apartheid. He’s just another example of how we bring forth spirituality as an active force for change.
how to make your spirituality political.
The greatest problem I see: we’re undoubtedly disconnected from the implication of our actions. We ignore what happens after we say something, buy something, or vote a certain way. Not only have we compartmentalized people based off their differences, we have also separated ourselves from society’s interconnectedness.
When you buy something off of Amazon, you don’t think beyond the two-day shipping. You don’t consider acting outside of sharing a post on social media, or taking out your trash, or donating money to an organization, or using a slur in reference to someone different from you.
Spirituality embraces our Oneness, the unitive consciousness we share. Some may call it Spirit, or God, or the body of Christ. Whatever name and path most resonates for you, we’re undeniably all derived from the same Source. When you look into the eyes of a stranger or an animal, the beating heart shares a similar rhythm. All of nature and Creation, regardless of species and form, is equal.
I cannot suggest for you the right thing to do or say in making spirituality political: that’s for you to discover and discern. I don’t know your story, your unique gifts and experiences that uplift your purpose for existing.
What I can tell you is that your impact matters, far more than you may realize. The media and information you consume matters. Every small choice you make ripples outward. And, given that we’re all connected, pulling one string loose could unravel the whole tapestry.
So, dear ones, I encourage you to think of how we might live your life knowing those truths. Would you change? Would you look at your affiliations and choices differently? The values your heart sings, let them project into every facet of your life.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie
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