We are made for the world. And so we will need to come to maturity in the world. To dream of an escape through epiphany, through rapture, through indifference to human suffering, or through tolerance of violence, is to doom ourselves to adolescence. Engagement with the realities that surround us, terrifying or otherwise, is our only hope.
Programs, projects, missions–political or religious–that emphasize group identity or national security, that are premised upon technique and efficiency, diminish our possibilities by fencing ourselves off from reality. And so we turn neighbours into antagonists, see enemies as inhuman, and secure our comfort at the inevitable expense of the poor.
We need people of action–not people of activity. But being a person of action and not merely activity, is always risking being misunderstood, ignored, judged, derided, disliked, or vilified. But an even greater struggle for the true activist is in facing her own self doubts, illusions, disillusions, and self-intoxication. Courage to sit with these, to explore what they might teach, is the necessary work of an activist. The true activist does not lose herself in that embrace, she only learns the truth about herself and is therefore capable of true engagement with the world.
Who has a wide vision? Who acts for human maturity? Who continues to act in the apparent absence of promise? Who acts with faith that our broken acts of compassion are yet redeemable by a larger spirit? Who understands that there is something greater at work, but that this larger spirit is only released through local acts of mercy and charity?
As Christians, our job is to disappear in the world and join the ranks of all those doing the work of personal disarmament, of creative protest, of active peace, of love. That is, as Christians, our job may very well be to become non-Christian.