BEING A SPIRITUAL CITIZEN
“There’s a neglect of spiritual practices that prepare the soul for engagement with social issues from a place of love. I love the people in congregations. But it’s hard to get real in the culture of church.
Maybe it just takes more courage than most of us have.”
~ Bruce Sanguin
Every time in human history has its share of challenges. Our time is no different in that respect, however, the challenges we face are large and complex. Simplistic answers, while tempting, are inadequate. We cannot build a wall to solve our problems; we cannot ignore climate change as a matter of public policy any longer; we cannot sustain humanity through the politics of fear, division, and separation.
We are called to engagement; and the call comes both from within and without. In the terms of spiritual intelligence, we often fail to distinguish between inner messages from ego versus those from our Higher Self. Ego tells us to play it safe, to withdraw, or to attack an enemy. Higher Self tells us to bring our best selves into engagement with whatever challenges are present because it is ours to do.
In our New Thought spiritual communities, we are only just coming to terms with social justice and engagement on a large scale. We are awakening to the expanded reality of faith with works. Thoughts and prayers alone may feel good, but they are no substitute for a combination of faithful spiritual practices and acts in harmony with those practices. We must also realize that when we apply spiritual principles to issues, we are often going to appear to be for one side or another in identity politics. The courage and skill to be a presence in support of our principles is critical.
“. . . faith without works is dead. We should not only pray, we should act, each contributing
the best he has to the common purpose, each willing to make any sacrifice necessary…
one in a certain sense, a selfish one, for we all desire self-preservation, but the other in the greater sense that there can be no individual self-preservation without the preservation of all….”
~ Ernest Holmes, “The Essential Ernest,” page 179
"So many people pray and pray and pray. They don't get action. Our bodies need to be acted upon.
It is not altogether praying, but it is doing. You must do something.”
~ Charles Fillmore
These statements from the founders of two prominent New Thought denominations, Centers for Spiritual Living and Unity, show that the relationship between spiritual practices and acts is nothing new. It has just taken us nearly a century to grasp its significance for all of humanity.
But we must enter the realm of citizenship with a deep connection to our Higher Selves. The world of politics is rough and tumble, often seeming the antithesis of a spiritual life. But that is exactly why the need is so great for spiritually mature engagement. Citizenship and politics are the way we do community in the larger world beyond the church walls. If we are not bringing the best of our spiritual awareness and practices into this arena, we are withholding our best from our fellow human beings.
“In our time we have come to the stage where the real work of humanity begins. It is the time where we partner Creation in the creation of ourselves, in the restoration of the biosphere,
the regenesis of society and in the assuming of a new type of culture; the culture of Kindness.
Herein, we live daily life reconnected and recharged by the Source,
so as to become liberated and engaged in the world and in our tasks.”
~ Jean Houston
There is much to do and we in New Thought have so much to offer. Let us step out of our comfort zones and call forth our inner powers of Love, Compassion, Strength, and Wisdom. Let us engage from these qualities, trying to convert no one, only to bring Love into the process at every level in every way possible. Now is our time.