I’m back from a short series of meetings in Orlando with a mixed multitude: LGBTQ people from various faith traditions, religious scholars, nonprofit leaders, and people committed to reducing, preventing, and intervening in social oppression.
This is my tribe, one of them. These are people who give time, resources, attention, and talents to projects and actions that benefit vulnerable or marginalized people. They do it regardless of their employment status. They do it even when they don’t have to. They do it because they can’t not do it and still sleep comfortably. Many of them experience a sense of call to it.
It can be easy to think of social change work in terms of the mechanics of the work: the analysis, the strategizing, the base-building, the fundraising, the campaigns, the evaluation. But these are all activities and don’t require any particular moral foundation. The people I partner with do have a particular moral foundation and they’re driven to express that morality through their work with and for others.
They seem incredibly fulfilled by that, not just during clear victories, but over years and decades of intense effort and many emotional highs and lows. I have to think there’s something nourishing about approaching the world as they do, accepting that we’re mutually interconnected and choosing to build their lives and relationships with a much different logic than the rules of a society that’s always-striving and never-sated.