The Great Awakening

Something is happening. Faith is being applied to social justice in ways that we might have never imagined just a few short years ago. Spiritual power is being harnessed to address the greatest social challenges that we face today.

There have been other periods in history when faith tangibly changed things. Often called “Great Awakenings,” they are times when the “revival” of faith alters societies. In fact, historians say that spiritual activity isn’t called revival until it changes something, not just in people’s inner lives but in society. Revivals often occur when politics is broken, when it fails to address the most significant moral issues of the day. Social movements then rise up to change politics, and the best movements usually have spiritual foundations.

As I travel the country, I can see and feel a revival of faith that is directly leading to new calls and commitments for social justice. That rebirth and renewal of faith is being directly applied to the moral and biblical scandal of poverty around the globe and here at home, the crises of environmental degradation and climate

change that pose such a threat to God’s creation, and to the multiple assaults on human life and dignity that shame our world.

Many of the great social issues we face feel like huge, unmovable mountains: deadly disease pandemics that kill millions, massive inequality that imprisons half the world’s people in miserable poverty, human sexual and economic trafficking, dangerous climatic changes in the earth’s temperature, genocide that no one seems to be able to stop, so many threats to the sanctity of human life, endless violations of human dignity, and the alarming unraveling of both family and community systems.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2008
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