Advocacy and the Way of Love
A few months ago, some colleagues and I were talking about how we’ve engaged the Way of Love in our own lives – taking on as a rule of life those seven basic practices of turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, and rest – and building upon them to grow spiritually. (It’s sometimes lost on people that we can grow spiritually, and indeed that God dreams and expects of us to grow spiritually, which makes it that much more important to take on a rule of life).
We’ve seen the amazing ways individuals and congregations are using the Way of Love to organize their lives and their program offerings, and lately, we have been interested in seeing how an organization or office could lay out for the wider Church how their offerings can be integrated into an individual’s, small group’s, or congregation’s rule of life. Enter the Office of Government Relations, which helps “[carry] out the mission of The Episcopal Church by bringing the experiences and values of our faith into decisions about our nation’s public policy.”
The extraordinarily talented staff of that office put together a guide and an infographic explaining how their work contributes to our common life as Christians. At the beginning of each section of these documents, they explain a practice and then offer tips on engaging the work through their several offerings. Under “Pray,” for example, we are offered the building block, “Remember to pray individually, pray corporately, and dwell in God’s loving presence with concerns and thanksgivings for government officials in their work, the people impacted by their decisions, and the progress of the work ahead of us.” Of particular interest turning a contentious election season is their offering under the heading of “Go” – which is to cross boundaries, listen deeply, and live like Jesus – “Develop your expertise in engaging across profound difference by taking our new Make Me an Instrument of Peace class on civil discourse, developed for individuals and for groups by the Department of Faith Formation, the Office of Communications, and ChurchNext, a ministry of Forward Movement.
What I particularly appreciate about this offering is twofold: first, it gives me as an individual Christian a way to concretely practice the Way of Love with an office whose work I deeply admire and feel called to support. As I look for a deeper practice of Blessing for an upcoming season, I can look to this resource for a good and well-supported suggestion. Second, it inspires me to create the same kind of resource for other church and para-church organizations I love. These tools, using some basic knowledge of the Way of Love and a bit of reflection on our work, are within reach for everyone.
Find PDFs of these resources below or save the image included in this blogpost.