Stacy Rector: Faith and Politics

Rev. Stacy Rector, Executive Director of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty shares her thoughts on the connection between faith and politics.


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Reflecting on Faith and Politics

Use the following piece as a reflection for the video, "Stacy Rector: Faith and Politics". Feel free to think critically about the questions individually, or use them in a group discussion.


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Invitation to Transforming Solitude

 

In South Africa, 1976 was a big year. On June 16, townships became frenzied as students took to the streets in protest against the educational system. Two months before, Desmond Tutu had been on silent retreat. In the silence, he began to sense in a new way the urgency of the oppressive educational system in South Africa. From a place of retreat Tutu wrote a letter to the prime minister asking him—begging him—to act in a different way. The letter warned the prime minister that the streets were going to erupt in protest. Tutu’s letter was ignored.

 

We come to see the world more clearly in silence and solitude. Tutu’s prophetic glimpse came to him in solitude. It is in solitude that I can see my marriage more clearly. In solitude I can better see how I am living, how I have hurt people, and how I need to make amends. Perhaps you have experienced these insights in silence and solitude as well.

 

I invite you to open yourself to receive the transforming gifts of solitude—rest, refreshment, and renewal—that you may be recommissioned to participate in God’s mission. I invite you into the discovery that you are not on your own. I invite you to enter into a personal knowledge of God’s compassionate heart through intimate interaction with God in the silence. I invite you to begin stepping into this experience. Start with short moments of solitude. Don’t try and fill the moments, just leave them empty. Maybe you take an hour to sit and do nothing but be with God.

 

Henri J. M. Nouwen writes, “Solitude is the furnace of transformation.” Ask Christ to be with you as you take your first step into solitude. Open yourself to receive Christ’s invitation to transforming solitude and let him show you the way.


From P. 53 of Invitations of Jesus. © Copyright 2014 by Trevor Hudson. All rights reserved.

 

© 2016 The Upper Room®. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
 


Reflection Questions:

 

1. Often, people are either more action-oriented or more spiritual. Is that true for you? If so, what are ways in which you can attempt to grow in your area of weakness? How can you help others grow in the area of your strength?
 
2. Stacy Rector describes a necessary tension and conversation between spirituality and politics. In your experience, how does faith shape or inform peoples’ political views? How could the relationship between spirituality and political action become more fruitful?
 
3. “Solitude is the furnace of transformation.”  How will you make room for solitude in your life this week?

 

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Take Action


Take Action: Faith and Politics

Use the following Action steps to get involved with Faith and Politics in your context!


Use the action items below to get involved with faith and politics in your context:
 

1. Research and attend community gatherings in your area focused on interfaith discussions. Interfaith Alliance is a great place to start, see if they have a location or affiliate near you!
 

2. Check out the Center for Engaged Compassion whose mission is to "Repair the world through the practical application of wise, skillful compassion". Their Founder and Co-Director, Dr. Frank Rogers Jr. has written an excellent resource on this topic called, "Practicing Compassion".
 

3. Look into The Faith and Politics Institute, an organization dedicated to cultivating mutual respect, moral reflection, increased understanding, and honest conversation among political leaders to advance productive discourse and constructive collaboration. They host a variety of events, see if there are any that you could get involved with!
 

4. Use the following Moyo Guides as reference points to facilitate important faith-centered politically-relevant discussions. The Encounters serve as thought provoking introductions, the reflection questions help facilitate healthy discussion, and the action items provide practical steps to take to get involved in these areas.
     a. Solitary Confinement: Jeannie Alexander: Prison Protocol
     b. Death Penalty: Stacy Rector: False Hope and True Healing
     c. Migrants and Refugees: Identity Crisis: How Do We View Migrants?
     d. Race Issues: Unlearning White Supremacy
     e. Sexuality and Gender: Alphabet Soup: The Spectrum of Self-Identity

 

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