As promised, I have finished the Irresistible Revolution, and can now discuss it in a blog, at a dinner party, or otherwise. Funny story first, though: the very same day that I wrote my last blog, I went to church a little early and ended up chatting with my pastor for a bit about what I was doing, at which point he introduced me to someone that he knows who is involved in the movement. We had a lovely talk and I enjoyed it, but I had to stifle a giggle when he asked about my work some and then immediately said, “Oh! Have you read…?” And of course I hadn’t. One day I really will be able to say yes, though! It’s going to happen!
Anyway, I enjoyed the Irresistible Revolution. One of the major themes of it is the Christian call to get up close and personal with the poor and suffering, and to love people with such abandon that you do radical things that surprise the whole world. I know exactly what he’s talking about. In college, I met people who really would go sleep on the streets with their homeless friends every week in the middle of classes. I went with them a few times, and the love was palpable. Eventually, I started doing crazy things, too. My last year, I worked with Emmaus Ministries, and I went out onto the streets of Chicago to hang out with my friends (who happened to be men involved in prostitution) on street corners at two in the morning every single week. And every Wednesday I took a 45-minute train ride into the city and then another 45-minutes-worth of El transfers to hang out with them even more. And I absolutely did not do that because I felt like I had to or because it’s what Christians are supposed to do. It never felt like something that sucked away my time from my studies or my friends (I actually sometimes felt that my studies and my friends sucked time away from Emmaus). I was there every week because I loved them and I loved being there and I felt God moving every single moment. Because they were real, interesting, wonderful people. I really miss them.
The people who are trafficked that I’m working so hard for right now are real people, too. They have lives and stories and families. But a lot of times we can’t just go out and find them and listen to those stories. The problem with fighting injustices that are so under that radar is that we need to find a way to keep that radical love in mind when we don’t have the luxury of person to person contact. Most people don’t want to because they think it will become a drag and take up all their mind space if they have to keep loving all these people, so they would rather just not see. And, yes, it does take over your mind, but I wouldn’t give that mind space back for anything. Because loving can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be all the time, and it has so many amazing benefits to it that people hardly talk about. Shane Claiborne talks about finding family in the slums. I’ve done that, and it was the best and most fulfilling way I’ve ever spent my time. Right now I’m working on making people I haven’t even met into my family (we’re all brothers and sisters, aren’t we?) so that as I fight for their rights it will be just as easy as wearing three jackets, a hat, and two pairs of gloves in order to brave the midwest winter nights with Emmaus. Because loving the people I met and wanting to be there with them in the dead of night made that the easiest thing in the world. I’m sure a love like that can handle research and paperwork as well. I just need to find it.