If you are a rabbi, priest, minister, pastor, imam, or other spiritual leader, the coming weeks may be the most important opportunity in your life to define your character – and to guide members of your congregation in their spiritual growth.
The state of the world and the contention of American politics come together as a challenge to spiritual leaders to be what they say they are … spiritual and leaders.
It’s tempting in the midst of controversy to “let sleeping dogs lie,” to preach safe sermons and avoid challenging your members to rethink long-held prejudices. It’s tempting to remain silent in a contentious time, to attempt to be an innocent bystander, to go on about your religious duties and sidestep the risks of involvement.
It is also tempting to spread more hate and fear; to respond to the scapegoating and dehumanization of some through the scapegoating and dehumanization of others. If you speak, you will make mistakes. There are so many kinds of mistakes you can make – from being insensitive to being judgmental, from trying to play the middle to making a caricature of your opponents, from falling into the fallacy of equivalence to becoming a pawn in someone else’s partisan chess match. So in order to avoid making mistakes, you may revert to silence. But if you do, you will have made an even greater mistake: putting your own safety above the well-being of others.
Your only real option is to lead by example, to speak and to act … prayerfully, reflectively, prepared by contemplation and conversation with wise colleagues.
We Stand With Love would like to help you do so by providing the following:
- We Stand With Love Sermon Guides: Click this link to find sermons by spiritual leaders who stand with love, along with other resources to help you speak to your congregation with courage, wisdom, humility, confidence, and compassion.
- We Stand With Love Links: We’ll provide links to lots of resources related to love that you can disseminate to members of your congregation.
- We Stand With Love Banners & Signs: You can order a banner to put up in front of your congregation’s meeting place, and you can encourage members of your church to put We Stand With Love lawn signs, adding your congregation’s website.
- We Stand With Love Weekend: Congregations will make September 23-25 We Stand With Love Weekend. They will make standing with love the theme of their services. They’ll sing songs, pray prayers, recite poetry, and preach sermons about love. They’ll talk about how love can influence voting and they’ll announce love-related projects.
- We Stand With Love Response Teams: If violence occurs, spiritual leaders can find one another and work together nonviolently to restore and build peace, aided by resources provided here.