Tag Archives: compassion

What then must we do?

Portrait of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. Oil on c...

Portrait of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy.

We start with a quote.

‘What then must we do?’ That is the question that Leo Tolstoy, having surveyed the misery of the ordinary Russian people, tried to answer in 1886. It is also the question that people pose – often somewhat resentfully – when confronted by the … social and psychological status quo … ‘It’s all very well to criticize, but have you got any better ideas…?’

As Christians we have compassion, that’s just the way it is.  Compassion, however, is not just a feeling – it is action.  Compassion is speaking for those who have no voice. Compassion is standing with those who are invisible. Compassion is taking on the structures of power in their systemic abuse of individuals and groups. Compassion is refusing to abide by unethical or alienating by-laws and governances. Compassion is being the Christ figure to those who society forgets.

What would happen if a thousand people wrote to the College of Presidents (email) this week to complain about the lack of due process in dealing with the call for women’s ordination?  What might happen if a thousand people stopped their subscription to “The Lutheran” (email), citing the President’s ban of the discussion of women’s ordination as the reason? Your voice is significant!

There is much that might be done. Alone you may be feeling fragile, so create a group and strengthen each other. You never know what might arise from your group.  Use Facebook, network with larger groups like Women’s Ministry Network and find out what’s happening on the national scene.   Share this blog and others that support women in any domain. Make a difference!

You are not alone in your hope for equality under God.  We thank God for the many who have contacted us from around the world offering encouragement.

How might your voice be heard this week?

Please share your ideas for bringing about change. What has worked for you in any cause that you are part of?


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Do something

From the Naked Pastor, a Canadian artist pastor

What is the future of the LCA?

It involves turning suffering around, by doing something different than what we are doing now. It’s about improvement.  It’s about moving forward.  There is nothing divine about being frozen in time, in ice.  There is nothing necessarily holy about our structures at any given time.  Not the length of the working day, not the way people are used, not embedded racism, not the lack of suffrage for women – these were all institutional issues in Australia that have changed over time.

Jesus engaged with society, he turned it around and upside down.  Things would not be the same once people encountered Jesus.

Jesus continues to come to us today, to turn our lives around, in our Church. Not just to create a powerful, prayerful, personal piety, but also to turn the system upside down, to bring about justice – even to create a system that works out of compassion and brings about justice.

Of course, Jesus was never a politician or another power-wielding character.  That work has been left to us.  We are “to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

How might we act justly, when the structures around us breathe injustice?  One person can’t tell another what they must do, but action is the key.  Whatever happens, action is needed.  We need to take charge in some way.

Turning around injustice usually involves changing power structures, and is usually met with resistance from those whose interest is served by maintaining those power structures, even from within the Church.  We’re going to need support.

Whatever the issue, there are people who need our support, there is a stand that we might take.

How might we serve those who are suffering in our circles?  Who might we ask to help us plan our action? How might we change the face of the LCA by turning suffering around?

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in sociology


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