fresh reminder of what activism is…

20 Nov

I’m at a conference in Philly for work with a co-worker of mine. It’s been interesting getting to know her- we have something in common, we’re both PKs (Pastor’s Kids).

 Jean’s father, Rev. Fujiu, was a United Methodist pastor in the 1960s in Chicago. He started out as a pastor of a majority Japanese American church which then became a multi ethnic church. Then UMC decided that, in the spirit of activism and desegregation of the 60s, that it would be a great idea to uproot Jean’s family and plop them in the middle of Northbrook where just weeks earlier there had been fire bombs thrown at a home of the first non-white family to move in the neighborhood.

 Jean and I shared stories of the challenges of growing up as PKs- like living in fishbowl etc. Among many topics we talked about how, despite our difficult circumstances, that our parents are still inspirations to us. Rev. Fujiu was a committed activist pastor in the 1960s and Jean saw her family commitment as the bases for her continued commitment to social justice and her community. 

 The one thing that really challenged me was that Rev. Fujiu gave so much of his income to charity that he got audited because IRS thought he was lying about how much money he was giving away just to get tax benefits.  All I could think of was, how much of his salary did he give away that they would audit him AND given his pastor’s salary- what was he feeding his family on if he was giving away such significant portions of his salary!? That really challenged me to think about what it means to engage in this world as activists. It is not just going out and picketing. It’s not just giving AFTER you’ve bought everything you’ve ever wanted.  It’s about committing your life and resources in a way that is significant- maybe to the point that IRS will audit you because they think you’re lying about how much you give.

 Now, that’s activism.


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