What Can I Do as a Faith Leader?
As a faith leader, you have a powerful role in your congregation and the communities you serve by deepening your commitment to partnership and rejecting domination-based scriptural interpretations. You can set an example by applying partnership principles to social and environmental justice programs, human rights, anti-racism, and LGBTQ/gender equity.
“What is spirituality? What does being spiritual mean? For many people, spirituality means feeling at one with that which we call the divine. But when I think of the divine I . . . think of our own most evolved qualities: our profound human capacity for empathy, for love, our striving for justice, our hunger for beauty, our yearning to create. I think being spiritual means being ethical and, in the true sense of the word, moral.” – Riane Eisler
Partnership Religion and Spirituality
Unfortunately, religion has historically been used as a tool of domination systems to support beliefs that violence, social injustice, and the abuse of women and children are “moral” and “natural.” Because of this, many people have rejected religion, seeing it as a form of domination.
However, the problem is not religion per se; it is the way religion has been used within domination systems. Partnership religion and spirituality are deeply rooted in pre-domination traditions. Partnership spirituality emphasizes our responsibility to put love into action, making the world better, here and now, rather than focusing on life after death. Moving toward partnership religion and spirituality calls for spiritual courage – the courage to stand up against the injustice out of love.
As a faith leader, you strengthen the partnership system each time you stand for the core partnership principles of your faith tradition: honoring the other, love and mutual respect, the sacredness of the natural world, the fundamental worth and equality of all people. When you stand against domination teachings, you challenge those who misuse religion to maintain the top-down rankings of domination systems. Most importantly, you are empowering people in faith communities to put partnership values into action.
Things to Do
- Watch the webinar Uncovering the Roots of Violence: New Perspectives on Domestic Violence, Social Justice, and Faith with Julie Owens, Ron Clark, and Riane Eisler. Also see the follow-up webinar Questions You Asked: Domestic Violence, Social Justice, and Faith.
- Read these excerpts from Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body by Riane Eisler.
- Reclaiming Spiritual Wholeness: Separating the Grain from the Chaff in Scripture, by Riane Eisler in Kosmos Journal.
- Commit to untangling the domination and partnership threads woven through the scriptures of your faith and engage other spiritual and religious leaders in this essential task. Publish and post about what you find.