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July 16, 2020

Paying Attention

Paying Attention

How does faith intersect with social justice? What is the role of churches, synogogues, mosques, and other religious organizations in times of crisis? To what extent has religion become politicized? As more people identify as secular, are we increasing the degree to which we channel our moral convictions into politics? And if so, are our politics better or worse for that?

Especially in the United States, religion and progressive politics often seem at odds with each other. When we talk about religion in politics, it’s often in the terms of the "religious right," or "Christian conservatives." But churches and other faith communities have at times been anchors for social justice, too, using the faith space as a springboard for activism. Should religious communities be “neutral,” or is there an obligation to take a stand on issues of injustice?

To explore these questions more, I’m joined in this episode by Reverend Andy Willis, the pastor of the English-speaking congregation of the ELCG (Lutheran Church) in Geneva, Switzerland, where he’s been based since March of 2014. Originally from Minnesota in the United States, he has also lived and worked in Jerusalem and in Olympia, Washington. Andy is an old friend and someone who is always thoughtful and nuanced in how he speaks about religion, politics, and social justice. This was an interesting conversation for me, and I hope it will be for you, too.

Book recommendation: Faith in the Face of Empire, by Mitri Raheb

Music recommendation: Songs of our Native Daughters