So how can we today be a Holy Disruption? We need to be creative, but here are a few starter suggestions.
Self-Education, Hearing Oppressed Groups, Engaging in Hard Honest Dialogue and Taking a Visible Stand:
- This is especially important for those with privilege, who can easily opt out with little thought or guilt because the particular oppression doesn’t directly impact them. For instance, a white person when it comes to racism, a straight person when it comes to homophobia, a Christian when it comes to Islamophobia, or a cisgender person when it comes to transphobia.
- Read and listen as much as you can. Make an effort to really have ears to hear when people are speaking about their oppression. Don’t dismiss it just because you don’t see it.
- Take a visible stand–sometimes just being public about standing with the oppressed is seen as a challenge to the status quo and a support to oppressed people trying to get free. A few current examples are churches being vandalized for displaying Black Lives Matter banners sign; backlash against Macklemore for rapping about privilege or Beyonce for black pride; backlash to Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) supporters. Taking a visible stance is a form of resistance in a society where silence is construed as assent.
- Talk about it with people who don’t agree in your life or, for those experiencing oppression, help others in your community to see the oppression they face. Don’t always avoid challenging your Uncle Rick when he argues All Lives Matter in response to Black Lives Matter. Sometimes disagreement can be productive.
Engaging with Organizing Communities and Supporting Their Efforts
- For those affected, it can be an especially liberating and empowering endeavor to organize with others and to just be in those spaces. Sit in a meeting of your local BLM chapter or affinity group like Standing Up for Racial Justice. This also helps to defeat the inertia that can result from merely being a social media activist. Find those doing something (or trying to) and join them and/ or support them.
- For the privileged it can and should be hard work that requires lots of listening, small egos, and creatively weaponizing your privilege. Ask yourself: What can I learn? What privileges/resources/skills do I have to offer? And if you are in a space where black people or other oppressed groups are present or leading–how can you be led instead of leading?
Incorporating Justice Fully Into Your Worship and Spiritual Life
- Justice should not be reserved for a “very Special Sunday”, activity, or team. It should impact the way you read scripture, the way you view the Divine, the way you preach and talk about God, and the way you worship. Think about how you can incorporate the vision of Jesus as a holy disruption into your spiritual life.
- Seek to understand that liberation as seen through Jesus’ example and the prophet’s expectations of him, was not limited to the spiritual, but to our lived lives.
- Strive to become and live as a Holy Disruption for both your church community and wider community. Ask: What here could use some disruption? How are we being keepers of the status quo? How can we disrupt ourselves and our wider community?
Candace McKinley has been active in social justice movements for several years. She is a former member of Shalom House, a Christian intentional community dedicated to peacemaking. She is an active member of DecarceratePA, an organization dedicated to fighting mass incarceration in Pennsylvania. She is also a member of Up Against the Law Legal Collective, a collective that provides Know Your Rights Trainings, training for activists ahead of actions, and legal observing and support during and after protests. Candace served on the Steering Committee of the Philadelphia Coalition for Racial, Economic, and Legal Justice, a coalition formed in late 2014 to organize against police brutality and for economic, racial and legal justice. Candace currently works with the Philadelphia chapter of Black Lives Matter and leads the Circle of Hope church team, Circle Mobilizing Because Black Lives Matter. Candace is also the Executive Director of Roots of Justice, a non-profit dedicated to anti-oppression training.