Not all the people in our communities and nation have the same access to education, healthcare, and justice. This week’s SPIRIT spotlights Appalachia and the effects of mountaintop mining. The song “Sea Change” asks us why are we closing our eyes to the plight of people in our midst who are poor when we are all in this world together.
Key lines: So where will we go when the waters threaten to wash us away? / And all of our sons and our daughters wilt in the heat of the day? / I feel the sun draw nearer, I feel the sea start to rise / Who’s looking back in the mirror? Why are they closing —Why are they closing their eyes? / …Why are we closing our eyes?
Questions: When have you closed your eyes to a problem in your community or school? When have you opened your eyes to a problem? What did you learn or do about it? What duties does government have for the people it serves? How do you balance serving God and following the laws of our country? What issues make you struggle to answer?
“Without roots in the people, no government can avail, much less when it wants to impose its program through bloodshed and sorrow.” In 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated not long after he spoke these words. Romero challenged his government to end the violence that was sweeping through his country and killing his people. He refused to be silent about the injustice that was affecting the poorer classes of El Salvador. The song “Believer” is about recognizing the pain that injustice causes and using it as a force to bring about personal and social change.
Key Lines: First things first / I’ma say all the words inside my head / I’m fired up and tired of the way that things have been, oh-ooh / The way that things have been, oh-ooh / …Singing from heartache from the pain / Take up my message from the veins / Speaking my lesson from the brain / Seeing the beauty through the… / Pain!
Questions: Who do you see standing up injustice to people who are poor? What examples of injustice do you see in our society? How can you take a stand against them?
This week’s Spirit tells us the story of Father Tolton, the first African-American priest. It also touches on a time in American history when slavery existed and racism flourished. Unfortunately, despite the outlawing of slavery as well as the civil rights movement of the ’60s, recent events have shown that racism is still part of our society. Black Lives Matter; every person’s life matters. Accepting all who are different from us challenges us every day. Father Tolton gives an inspiring example of persevering against ignorance for the betterment of our communities and society.
Key Lyrics: What am I trying to find? / Are you alive, oh my Amerika? / Perennial with the Earth / And freedom, love, and law, and life / …It doesn’t mean that we can’t try / Fix me in your twilight eyes / So we can make a moment last
Questions: When have you experienced prejudice? How did you feel? Who in your school or city have you seen exposed to prejudice? How did you handle it? What are some ways you can combat prejudice in your school or city?
Nonviolent direct action, or civil disobedience, is a method peaceful movements use to bring about change. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used nonviolence to bring about desegregation and promote racial equality in the United States.
The film A Force More Powerful documents how several social movements used nonviolent methods to end injustices. These movements range from ending apartheid in South Africa to Danish resistance to Nazi occupation.
Search out other people who have worked for peace from Isaiah’s time to current times. Identify global and local peacemakers today and the nonviolent movements in which they participate. Peacemakers come from all walks of life and backgrounds. Share with others what you have learned about the history of nonviolence.
“Girls in extreme poverty need more than a school. They need a family. That is exactly what KGSA is.” – SPIRIT ONLINE Vol. 26, #3
Reflection Questions from SPIRIT ONLINE for October 20:
What motivates Abdul and makes KGSA successful?
What challenges do the girls face?
Why is educating girls important?
How can prayer keep us from losing heart?
Who in our society persists in work for justice as the widow does?
Do you have any questions for Ellie Roscher, the author of this SPIRIT ONLINE issue? Leave them in the comments!
Last night, Hugh Evans told David Letterman when he first became inspired to fight extreme poverty: as a teenager. Now he’s 30 — and the CEO of Global Citizen, an organization dedicated to fight extreme poverty.
What inspires you? How can you make the world a better place? Are you a Global Citizen? What do you think about this approach to changing the world?
Hugh Evans’ interview with David Letterman is below: