Simone Campbell is a lawyer...and a nun. In 2012, she packed a bus full of fellow sisters for the first "Nuns on the Bus" tour. The tour was a direct response to a public critique by The Vatican which accused American nuns of being concerned about social justice other than those most important to the Vatican's doctrinal office (specifically abortion and gay marriage). So Simone packed a bus full of sisters and traveled the country stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools, and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and marginalized.
Buses of Christians are currently traveling across the country to encourage voting and raise awareness of important issues which influence midterm elections. Doug Pagitt (who visited FBC in 2016) has embarked on such a tour with an effort called Vote Common Good and calling it a "revival" - a revival of enthusiasm about the power of voting.
Separation of church and state is an historic founding principal for both our country and for Baptists. Baptist Roger Williams is credited with founding the first colony which separated religious affiliation with citizenship. It's almost impossible for us, centuries later, to imagine it being any other way. However, at the time, the Rhode Island Colony was considered heretical and Baptists were even outlawed by other colonies.
I have found myself conflicted about speaking publically to what might be considered "political issues". However, I have become less conflicted as I have come to see "politics" as referring to the activities related to how we organize and make decisions about power. Consequently, every decision we make (or cannot make) is political and everything I speak about (or chose not to speak about) publically is political. Bus riding is notoriously political. How we spend (or don't spend) is political. How we speak (or how we don't speak) is political.
We live in a political world
The one we can see and feel
But there's no one to check
It's all a stacked deck
We all know for sure that it's real
- Bob Dylan
This Sunday, we will look at a unique encounter Jesus has with someone we call "the rich young ruler". It is a political moment, but one that addresses the "politics of the heart" and offers the hope of a new way of being.
See you Sunday.