Have you ever seen the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes? When a friend recently asked me to watch it, I reluctantly agreed remembering that it came out when I was in elementary school. Honestly, I thought it was going to be similar to a Beverly Cleary book-made-movie. Was I ever surprised!
Instead of dealing with the concerns of early-adolescent girls, the film addressed a myriad of social justice issues throughout the 20th century in the South including gender expectations and roles, racial tensions and injustices, domestic abuse and same-sex relationships. In a sense, I felt overwhelmed by how many topics were addressed in this film.
Sometimes I feel that way in life. If we’re supposed to do justly (Micah 6:8), does that mean I’m expected to become a foster parent while caring for my widowed grandmother, fight politically for equal rights, donate money to the local food pantry and women's shelter as well as an orphanage abroad, start a community garden in my backyard and refuse to use styrofoam?
(Hm, now that I started listing ways to fight for social and environmental justice, it actually seems doable...)
My experience has been that I’m generally passionate about two issues: orphan care and equal rights for the LGBTQ community. I’ve been inspired by people I’ve met and their stories of injustice have caused me heartache. Yet, one of my best friends in college was equally passionate about sex education and how it could lower the rate of abortions. We once hotly debated which topic is more important. She argued that if everyone had children they wanted and could care for, then orphan care wouldn’t be needed. And I responded that in reality, there are orphans and probably always will be so we need to support them. Finally we agreed to disagree with thankfulness that God could be glorified through both of our passions.
While we should all try to do justly in all that we do, it is good for us to be uniquely interested in various concerns. Since I’m new blogging on this site, I’m curious...
What topics are you passionate about? Why? And who inspires you?
Would you mind leaving a comment about your experiences? I would find it encouraging to learn that there are many of us young adults in the United Methodist Church who are working towards a better world by focusing on a variety of issues. Thank you!
Heather V is a graduate of Drew Theological School and is currently working as the Director of Pastoral Care at Trinity United Church in Warren, NJ while working through the UMC ordination process.