Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli: The Practice of Perspective

January 28, 2022

In the years since I wrote Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent, one aspect of that work I’ve relied on most heavily is  “keeping crisis in perspective.”

It became clear as I presented the book that this critical part of our spiritual practice can be easily overlooked. Throughout these long years of pandemic, this practice has been my constant companion. Questions driving my reflections include: “How do we hold what is happening in a way we can get our heads and hearts around?” “What are the resources from our faith that help us?”

As I wrote in the book:

“Perspective is how we ‘hold’ reality, how we frame it and understand it. If our framework is God’s saving love always at work for the healing and wholeness of the world, we hold moments of crisis differently than we might within another frame…We are reminded that whatever is happening is not ‘all about me’ but is rather part of a much larger experience.

“We are given the gift of knowing that we are not alone, that God is with us and that there are other people with whom to share the struggle and the work of mending.

“We will have the benefit of memory — the awareness that the work of cultivating God’s Kin-dom on earth as it is in heaven has been ongoing from the very beginning. We will have at least a vague sense of where our energies should be directed…

“This practice is only possible insofar as we stay connected to larger, holistic vision. Staying connected requires the help of others who share the vision 
(community!), regular engagement with the rituals and narratives of our faith (worship and study!), and close contact with the God whose grace beckons us toward the vision in the first place (prayer!).”

Our “Shine On!” series continues through this month, providing grounding in the spiritual resources of our faith that strengthen our capacity to keep crisis in perspective. I hope you will remember you don’t have to hold anything alone and will see yourself always in within the frame of God’s steadfast love.

On the Way with you,