Rediscovery of Faith | Sojourners

Rediscovery of Faith

I know God as a deliverer. When I was at Union Theological Seminary, I encountered God in the liberation movements of which I was a participant—in the civil rights, anti-war, and student movements, and in women’s liberation.

The God of the biblical faith was for me the one who heard the cries of the oppressed and who delivered them. I saw the dialectic of judgment and grace being worked out in the midst of social upheaval. I steeped myself in the prophets and developed, by exhaustive reading of Marxist theory, a sharply analytical, prophetic critique of American capitalism. But for me in those exciting march-filled days, God was always out there, fighting an oppressor that was out there, an oppressor in the evil structure of society, the principalities and powers. I had little understanding of the oppressor inside the deepest part of each of us.

My deep involvement in the movement enriched me tremendously and in no way do I look back on it with regret. But like so many other dedicated radicals, I quickly burned out. Why? For a long time I didn’t understand why, but now I think I know. I initially dropped out because my health broke down, but it wasn’t this that kept me out, for had I known a loving, empathetic response to being sick on the part of my movement friends I would have regained strength—to come back fighting. But that is exactly what I did not experience.

I was sick and few visited me, hardly anyone from my family, my academic and my movement friends. What was worse was that I didn’t even expect them to, so low was my sense of self-worth. If it wasn’t for the love of a husband who stood by me and provided for me, a husband who learned how to love growing up in a missionary family, I think I would have gone stark-raving mad.

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