Faith is not just a word describing a condition of relationship with the Holy: faith is also the passionate conviction that relations between people -- and between people and creation -- must be firmly rooted in the struggle and practice of justice and reverence for all.
Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing, so said Dostoevsky. This means: if you are going to claim "faith", then you absolutely must put that faith "on the line": you must activate your compassion: you must exhaust every effort to create the conditions necessary for everyone to thrive and fulfill their potential as human beings: you must resist the seductive power of greed and live in "abundant simplicity": you must not accept anyone's presumption of power over you -- and so excuse yourself from "showing up" in your life.
Too often, faith is seen to be a "litmus test of salvation": profess the "right" creed, and you are thereby free from the obligation to think and act from the perspective of those for whom to live means to suffer. Too often, faith is understood as a "personal relationship" with "God": even to the point of mocking the teachings of the prophets to practice and seek justice and mercy -- before bringing your gifts to the altar. Too often, faith is seen to be a mark of "success" -- a sign of "rich blessing" -- instead of being a living call to action...
The true power of faith lies in powerlessness... this spirituality of solidarity is the genuine core of each of the Abrahamic religions... For too long, and for too many people, the preachers of faith have lied about its requirements and have proposed a corrupt system of domination in its stead. Faith requires that we stop paying for our oppression. Faith requires that we embrace a radical transformation into "loving loud"...
It is not the Way of Love that a few ultra-rich folks enjoy unlimited comfort and pleasure -- while billions of their fellow human beings suffer extreme poverty. No! Love does not require that some people remain poor and malnourished forever! Love is meant to be the force of transformation -- the force that lifts up and frees the poor into their possibilities! The primary duty of the rich is to divest themselves of their wealth and enter into lives of solidarity and service -- only such selfless action will justify the blessings they have received!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.