Over the last week, I have been listening to what others say as a way of avoiding responsibility for the injustice and inhumanity in the world. One thing I have heard people do is to call it something else. Rather than name the injustice behind what is happening in a situation, people will search for alternate explanations as to why a situation exists. I have heard people argue it is actually better this way or that the oppressed group actually prefers it this way. I have heard people mask their inhumanity behind humor or claims of innocence, saying I didn’t mean it. There is this belief that by saying that, that it wipes away the injustice and inhumanity of what is said or done. I have heard other say that the reason bad things happen to people is that they are just bad people. Whether intentional or not, each of these patterns and ways of thinking contributes to the inhumanity and injustice in the world.
I am not sure that there is an easy answer as to how we become more humane in our treatment of others. One of the first steps has to be our willingness to get on the hook. We must become committed, obliged, and involved in working with others to create a more humane world. We can begin by acknowledging that there are people in need in this world. We can begin by paying attention to what is going on in the world and being present. We can begin by stepping out of the comfort zones of our own social locations and educating ourselves about the view from other social locations.
We must be willing to do something. We must stop waiting for someone to ask us to do something; Jesus did not wait for an invitation to get involved. He saw people who were in need and he ministered to them where they were. We must be willing to step off the path of least resistance and make sacrifices in our lives out of compassion and solidarity with other members of God’s family. We must be willing to speak up and speak out. We must refuse to buy into the silence. Abusers pray for our silence. Individual abusers pray for our silence. Systematic abusers pray for our silence. We must be willing to transform our silence into language and action. Isn’t this what we are called to do as spiritual leaders? For me, using my words to break the silence and bring about change is an important part of doing justice, not just talking about it.
Each day, people, personal relationships, religious groups, and nations are being shattered through intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutionalized acts of inhumanity. We are called to be agents of reconciliation; however, it is often hard to know where to begin. This quote, which was found on the back of a magazine cover, perhaps provides the first clue. “If you want a better WORLD, Composed of better NATIONS, Inhabited by better STATES, Filled with better COUNTIES, Made up of better CITIES, Comprised of better NEIGHBORHOODS, Illuminated by better CHURCHES, Populated with better FAMILIES, Then you have to start by becoming a better PERSON.” 
For me, one of the most significant aspects of the relationship between spiritual and religious institutions and the public is the intentionality of the interactions. Are our institutions teaching others how to walk the path of least resistance and contributing to the maintenance of the status quo in society? Or are we as spiritual leaders being intentional about creating opportunities for people from diverse groups to build bridges and open lines of communication. Are we intentional about our efforts to expose people to different truths, different realties, and different experiences of life? Are we intentional about speaking out publicly about legislation that privileges one group over another? Are we intentional about letting everything that we do in our lives be about building monuments of peace, monuments of love, and monuments of justice?
I strongly believe that the personal is not only political, but also spiritual. I find it hard to think about fragmenting my life into sacred and secular or public and private. They do not cleanly divide. As a spiritual leader, all that I practice spiritually influences the choices that I make about public issues. As a spiritual leader, I can work to create an environment in which people can empower themselves to be more involved publicly in fighting injustice. I can model behaviors that illustrate how we can be working in coalition with others in fighting injustices. I can work as an ally with groups that are being marginalized and disempowered by societal norms and regulations. I can write blogs that provide new insights into contemporary social issues and challenge my readers to get involved.
Restoring humanity, involves two steps: a commitment by to work with those who have experienced inhumanity and a commitment to working to dismantle the legacy of the inhumanity. We cannot do anything about the legacy that we have inherited, but we can do something about the legacy that we pass down to the next generation. The move from humanity in theory to humanity in practice is not easy work. Humanity in practice entails individuals who are willing to do the self-reflective and difficult emotional work internally. It requires groups of individuals who recognize that the work and healing that needs to be done is long term, not short term and it is not going to happen overnight. It requires us to not only change ourselves but to change the way we actively confront discrimination and inhumanity in daily life. While none of this is easy work, as with all attempts to embrace the grace of God in daily life, the rewards in our lives and the lives of those we are engaged with is great.
 Church of the Nazarene, Ideas for building an inclusive church http://www.multiculturalministries.org/creative.htm