Activism is the action of those causing motion or change in our institutions. Power is the capacity to influence others to act. To bring about the kingdom, we must learn the formal and the informal structures of an activist spirit; the channels, the groups through which new ideas pass power in numbers, the strength in unity and mass movement. Have patience, tarry until imbued from upon high, do not go before God's time but be ready at a precise moment to act quickly and decisively. Identify the issues before organizing and have a clear enough path toward justice to attract supporters. Understand your enemy and assess your strength before setting a course of action, then delegate responsibility and effect dialogue. The redeeming person does not wait for the others to come, he goes to where the action is.

Activism is too strong a word for some, I thought I would see if I could soften it up a little. I looked up the word in the dictionary and it suggests direct action to effect change. I worked in community service and in homeless activism so I affectionately remember the campaigns, boards and commissions, the media events and the pressure groups so the word activism rolls off my back. To an ultra-conservative, change and progressive thought and action is a threat.

The best example of Christian activism in America is of course the civil rights marches and Martin Luther King. Who opposed them? It must be grade school stuff now to learn that it was the ultra-conservative churches and right-wing government leaders who branded King a communist agitator and troublemaker. He is looked up to now, but not then, except by those of a righteous activist spirit. Which of your fathers did not stone the prophets? This is not the watered down gospel that is preached to the poor and oppressed of the world, it is the gospel that packs power and reminiscent of what the Jews were expecting from Jesus the first time He came.

Issues are pretty clear most of the time and can include protests and demonstrations and social activism. Themes in common here is social justice and the denunciation of oppression. It is a real shame that the main opponents to working with the poor are rich churches. Ignore Babylon.

Every true man of God is faced with a counterfeit spirit of some kind or another to divert his allegiance. We need to agree that when we are called to go, that we have not already set up a defense mechanism against action that would preclude us from hearing the call. "For I was hungered and you gave me meat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in. Naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came unto me."

Margaret Mead is quoted as saying something like: "Never doubt that a small handful of dedicated, committed people can change the world, indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Liberation praxis of the poor reveals the kingdom. It is far nobler for many Christians living in an oppressive government to be an activist or a political organizer than it is to be a theology professor, minister or even a bishop. This is a world apart from trying to live the luke-warm american dream or believing that God makes another rich. What we have today is a new generation of folk singers singing the blues as well as praise. The rich go to church and eat and drink in His presence but despise the poor and the power.

We are admonished to bring others from the outer court into the Holy Place. There is a lesson here in the protests and knowing of the cleansing of the temple. Jesus protested, he demonstrated and he drove the moneychangers out of the temple. He is again driving the money changers out. Preaching the gospel of the kingdom to the poor will take an activist spirit.

Jesus was condemned for depriving the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the High Priest their temple income. Follow this logic toward those that are protesting the WTO and the IMF and World Bank and you will see that they are doing what Jesus did. This is the prophetic voice today, called with Christian activism to denounce injustice, avarice, exploitation and oppression.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote that "every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest." Every true activist for justice in these last days must be sure to develop a preferential option for the poor. The haves develop their own morality to justify their means of repression and all other means employed to maintain the status quo. This is action (praxis) theology.

Getting a lot of Saul Alinsky teaching in here but there are lessons to be drawn from the greats of the past that must be shared. If the Christian activist begins with an affirmation of his love for people, he promptly turns the oppressed off. If, on the other hand, he begins with a denunciation of exploiting employers, oppressive landlords, economic discrimination, ineffective programs for the poor, police profiling, gouging merchants and governmental incompetence, he is inside their experience and they accept him. The activist must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act. Do not be afraid to stir up dissatisfaction and discontent. The world is in a mess, so provide a channel into which the people can angrily pour out their frustrations and reach out to others in the same circumstance in love. Above all else, pray in the spirit that we may gather in the harvest and establish the kingdom by our actions.

Letter writing has always been a good way to stimulate support, now it is e-mail. Your message is a permanent record of the stand you are taking. In an effective letter writing campaign, ten, twenty or fifty letters can be perceived as a groundswell of support. Timing is important, if you are organized, you should alert the members of the group in precision. If you write too soon, you may not capture the attention of the group or person you wish to influence, and if you write too late, the decision may have already been made. Most in power are conscientious about their mail and consider the views of their constituents when they deliberate an issue.
[113, 180, activism according to the protests of the World Trade Organization was an item of the latter rain discussion list]

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