Week 12 Blog: On Trust, Faith and Courage.
Halfway through. I got here 3 months ago today. 3 more months and I’ll be finished. Then it’ll be on to the next one. The next step in the right direction. I cannot yet see where that will be. I’m trying not to (over) think about it too much. There is a lot in front of me, I feel like there is. There’s a lot behind me, I know there is. I was so concerned bordering on anxious leading up to this experience. I wanted to do well at it, to fit in, to not miss home too much, to get as much out of this fellowship as possible. And now I sit, 3 months in, writing my 12th blog, thinking about what will happen next. Wondering what the next step is going to look like. 12 months ago I was still at university. 6 months ago I went to the Global Forum and two Academies, not knowing what I was going to do when I got home. October last year to the present has been a whirlwind. Ups and downs. Pushes and pulls. Lessons learned. Mistakes repeated. One thing I have realized about myself is that I want to be in control. I don’t think I am a control freak per se. I really hope I’m not. What I mean though, is more to do with being in control of my own providence, not other peoples. Sometimes you do have to let go and roll with those punches. Let go of insecurities, inhibitions, and fears and even let go of your plan – your apparent direction. It comes down to trust and faith, courage too I guess. I think it was Plato that wrote, “courage is knowing what not to fear.” I like that. It doesn’t mean that being courageous is to not fear at all. It does mean that some things should not be feared and some should. One just has to figure that out.
I think being apathetic is a form of cowardice. Coward is a pretty horrible word. It brings with it a lot of grim imagery. Nevertheless I do think apathy is a cowardly act, if only because to act against injustice in this complacent world takes courage. Apathy is too easy. I know a lot of apathetic people, I’ve been one, and I still sometimes am one. Most apathetic people don’t think they are apathetic, that’s the problem. Just because you know what a word means doesn’t mean your not guilt of it. And just because you write really idealistic blogs doesn’t mean you’re not a hypocrite. Thomas Gray, the 18th Century English poet (part of which we’ve all heard before), wrote, “Thought would destroy their Paradise. No more;—where ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise.” It would be rather blissful to be ignorant to all the mess in the world, all the injustice. The globalized explode of information has pulled away the veil of ignorance for a large portion of the world. Ignorance is still bliss, but I think the excuse of being ignorant is quickly becoming null and void. However, I would rather be ignorant of something than apathetic to it. I would hope most people would agree with that. The thing about ignorance is – lets put it into some context, lets say ignorance about the realities of modern-day slavery – it is passive. You don’t actively peruse ignorance – you can actively get out of it. This is where apathy and ignorance diverge. Apathy is active – it is implied that “you” know about something and don’t care enough to act or alter your behaviour, and to me that is far worse. This is what we are up against in the modern abolitionist movement – it is not the ignorant, we can convert them to knowledge – it is the masses of apathetic people who are aware of the wrongs in the world but don’t really care enough to do anything about it. That’s cheap grace.
Hebrew 11:1. I didn’t read it in the Bible; I actually read it off a poster on the wall of the bathroom of the Urban Program in San Francisco. “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see.” Word. That pretty much sums having faith in God up. It also works to describe the faith a movement like this must have, to end the trading in human property in our lifetime, to believe that is an act of faith. The more you learn about modern slavery in all of its manifestations, the more that faith is tested. It is going to get worse before it gets better, and either way it is worse than we think it is. “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see.” What do I hope for? A world without a human slavery epidemic. I cannot yet see that world, but I am certain that together we will. It is just going to be a very long march.