Theologian Mary C. Grey is one of many scholars who write about resistance (a principled rejection of what is profoundly wrong to point toward a better reality) as a spiritual discipline. In “The Outrageous Pursuit of Hope: Prophetic Dreams for the Twenty-First Century”, she has a wonderful section on “Resistance is the secret of joy.” (The wording of that heading implies a reference to Alice Walker’s novel, “Possessing the Secret of Joy.”) Grey names three threads that necessarily run through a culture of resistance.
– “The first thread is that of anger. … Holy anger is a blazing sense of outrage — this simply should not be!” Anger breaks through passivity and apathy and drives us to act for justice.
– “Second … resistance springs from the centrality of compassion. This compassion is more than a feeling, or emotion.” It is our compassion for all those who suffer that calls us to work for positive healing.
– The third thread she calls “dangerously remembering” the histories of both freedom and oppression, of good things which have been and the powers that destroy it. “And this is where the theme of prophetic laments appears. There is no adequate response to remembered sorrow until the grieving has been given full expression. And I mean community-based, responsible and ceremonial grieving, not only the abandoned individual, isolated in grief.”
Grey writes about resistance as one element of a theologically profound hope — a hope that is grounded in a deeply-held affirmation of what is true and good. “The point about a spirituality of resistance is that we already live from a different vision. And this is what is so energizing.” She makes many of the same points in a brief article that is available on-line in Tikkun, “Green Faith and the Recovery of Joy“.
You can read the full article on 350.org.