The division between religious faith and rational freethinking doesn’t have to be a well-defended wall. Those of us who honor and value relationships between people don’t have the time or interest in finding more ways of dividing person from person. Religion has done that for a very long time. And, sometimes, so does Secularism.
I know many people of faith who are wonderful people doing wonderful things. I don’t have to agree with their beliefs to support them and even join them in their work.
My wife is a person of faith and she supports a ministry in Guatamala where nuns are helping the poorest of the poor every day as they live and work among these struggling human beings. She showed me the newsletter sent by the nuns and I read about “Hermana Katy” (Sister Katy) who was listing the ways they try to assist villagers.
She calls them Works of Mercy: Feeding the Hungry; Giving Drink to the Thirsty; Clothing the Naked; Burying the Dead; Sheltering the Homeless; Comforting the Sick; Visiting the Imprisoned.
Honorable work of compassionate people. Yes, people of faith, and. . .who cares?
What I keep thinking is this: What would happen if these nuns were joined by Buddhists and Jews, Protestants and Sufis, Hindus and Muslims, Taoists and Atheists? What could be accomplished in our world if all these divisions, all these (artificial?) walls, were forgotten or dissolved for the “higher” purpose of doing the good and right thing?
As Jesus himself said, “The poor are always with you.” Yes, and they’ve been waiting a very long time for the faithful and freethinkers to stop the squabbling long enough to give out a little “Change,” if you catch my “sense.”
In some communities this is happening, sometimes through Habitat for Humanity or shelters or food pantries, sometimes through the work of interfaith organizations and liberal congregations. That’s great, and should be supported and celebrated by seculars too.
I have no clear answers or solutions. Until we come up with some, I’m left admiring those who do such great work for so little money or little respect. I can’t pray for them any longer, but I can think of other ways to support them, and imagine the next steps in my own “secular ministry.”
What are YOU doing? Care to share?