It’s Time For Spiritual Offense

By Caitlin Breedlove

Let’s be honest: our team of faith and spirit-rooted leaders here at Auburn including our Senior Fellows did NOT get involved in healthcare because we felt it was a clear win. We visited offices on the hill, we prayed, we carried coffins, we got arrested and we organized our friends who are doctors, nurses, and those who stand to lose their healthcare.

We were in motion because we knew we were called by a higher imperative beyond the cynicism of the halls of power, beyond what we thought could be done. We were not talking only to power holders. We were talking to every single person who stood to lose his or her healthcare this week. We played defense because the stakes are so incredibly high.

One of the biggest roles spirit plays in my life as an organizer is when I jump into a fight, with others, with no idea if we can win.

I feel like I am rolling the dice (with my ancestors and my higher power by my side) every single time. It’s not faith if we feel we know for sure. It’s not faith if we are in it for our egos because we are sure it is a winning fight. It’s not faith if we feel we have control. We get in motion because we have to; we must—regardless of secured outcome.

Let’s face it: for many progressive leaders, every day since November has been grueling as we try to engage the question of strategy under Trump’s administration. Our healthcare victory signals that there are divisions among conservatives.

Now is the time to play offense from our highest purpose.

The best place to play offense is at the kitchen table, on issues of the heart. When we move, unpretentiously, as humans directly affected, we can go on the offensive and speak to those who are currently alienated from mainstream politics. The healthcare fight shows us that people of faith play a role; when we don’t only preach about our values—we are willing to take risks, make sacrifices for those values. We need to fortify ourselves with the power of deep, wide, aspirational organizing.

We have fights coming around immigration: we need to name the story that communities most impacted are naming. We need to gather our energy behind and around the leaders who are re-imagining what an electoral season could be if it actually aimed at awakening the voters no one has been talking to and no one has been listening to. Our work is cut out for us.  We can build beyond our usual friends, usual campaigns, and the usual strategies when we organize around our spiritual imperatives, even in this political climate.

We can pray with our feet as we defend and protect our people, now we need to pray with our feet to forward what we want. I look forward to praying with you.

Caitlin Breedlove is Vice President for Movement Leadership at Auburn  

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