This past Tuesday (March 1, 2016) Halcyon started a new campaign that focuses on social movement leaders that have pushed the world to connect our decisions to morality. These leaders inspired the world to be something better; to care about the dignity of others, and how we, as a community of people, must look to our faith as a guide for social change. The leaders we highlight are: Blessed Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rosa Parks, St. John Paul II, Cesar Chavez, and Sophie Scholl.
Each of these leaders faced incredible and hopeless odds, but they persevered — several giving their lives for the cause of freedom and a better, more moral society. It is up to all of us to take on the persistent spirit of these advocates for change and ensure that the cost they — and those who fought with them — paid means something. Now, I am not just saying that as lip-service; I literally mean we have a duty to ensure their accomplishments and lessons on life endure. In order to do this we, as a society, must believe, promote, and live out the following three principles.
1. Acknowledge that the truth exists
To go forward today, we’ve got to go back and rediscover some mighty precious values that we’ve left behind. That’s the only way that we would be able to make of our world a better world, and to make of this world what God wants it to be and the real purpose and meaning of it.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Once the truth is denied to human beings, it is pure illusion to try to set them free. Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery.St. John Paul II
Our society must understand that knowledge does not come from within. The internalization of knowledge leaves society unable to change course, as we have created a relativistic “truth.” If truth can be thought of as different dependent upon perspective — as it is now — we are effectively saying there is no such thing as truth at all. But this cannot possibly be accurate. The truth exists, even the simplicity of that assertion can act as a control to this hypothesis.
How does this apply to the social change that Halcyon is working towards?
Acknowledging that the truth exists — even if we do not agree on what that truth is — sets us all on a course of curiosity. This search for knowledge can begin the moral debates our society needs to move towards being good and just. Does God exist? Where do our morals come from? What is “good” and what is “just”? These questions cannot be asked from the personal perspective. Let me be clear on this point: the internalization of knowledge is the single greatest failure of humankind. It is this that has led to the social ills of abortion, the deviation from natural sexual policies, the pluralistic nature of our social decisions, and the abandonment of faith as our moral compass.
If we cannot acknowledge that truth exists, then we cannot build a better world.
2. Recognize the human dignity of all
A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.
– St. John Paul II
Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.Blessed Mother Teresa
When we as a society acknowledge that truth exists we can reestablish our moral compass. Our first course must be the recognition of the human dignity of each person at each stage of life. It is this element that is the primary guide of our faith. Christ, through his sacrifice for all on the cross, left us no other path other than one which starts with the recognition of the dignity of others.
The greatest atrocities mankind has ever conjured are attacks on human dignity. We cannot seem to learn from our mistakes: the racism that has plagued America, the Holocaust, the murder of innocent unborn children, and the depravity of euthanasia. We, as a society, insist that we experience atrocity instead of starting our decisions, policies, and actions by requiring a standard that they are built on the foundation of both truth and truth lived out: human dignity. This is the right course no matter the debate, be it abortion, gay marriage, or immigration. This doesn’t mean that we don’t use our faith as a moral compass to make decisions, create policies, and take action, but it does affect how we go about doing so.
Acting with human dignity in mind is the only path towards a good and just society.
3. Our Christian faith is actionable
Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. Christians are called to compassion and to action.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The real damage is done by those millions who want to survive. . . . Those who don’t like to make waves — or enemies. . . . It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.
– Sophie Scholl
Notice the three activities referenced above: make decisions, create policies, and take action. No longer can we pretend that our Christian faith is an internal concept that we occasionally acknowledge. Our Christian faith is actionable, and as such we must live it out every day — at home, at work . . . everywhere we are. It does our society no good to acknowledge the truth and recognize human dignity if we fail to act. We must build a better world, not wish one into existence.
Our faith must be lived, both inside the church and outside of it.
Since our faith is actionable, The Halcyon Movement is asking for you to complete a simple task each week that we will announce with that week’s post: go to our Facebook page each Tuesday to share the images of these revolutionary leaders who dared to live out their faith for the betterment of humankind, and do one simple thing to make a difference. For this week, we are simply asking that you go to church on Sunday. Some of you go every single week, some not in a while, perhaps some never.
Whatever the situation, make it a point to go to church and post on our Facebook page that you went, and perhaps a little bit about your experience if you feel led to share. Everyone at Halcyon will be sharing our experiences throughout the week.
Our generation is the least likely to attend church, so we thought this is a great place to start. Blessed Mother Teresa calls this “a drop in the ocean” action, but that drop shapes the entire movement. Moreover, it illustrates our dependence on God for truth, and not ourselves, as I point out in principle #1.
If we want to change the world, then we must pursue these three principle, and through doing so, build a movement . . . together.
The Church as an ecumenical body spread around the world…The Church we are talking about is a tremendously powerful institution in our society, and in the world. That Church is one form of the Presence of God on Earth, and so naturally it is powerful. It is powerful by definition. It is a powerful moral and spiritual force which cannot be ignored by any movement.
– Cesar Chavez