Maybe it's just me, but it seems the world is crying out for spiritual answers. Logic, meetings and think tanks aren't answering the questions to what's going on in the world with Boko Haram, ISIS, ISIL/ There's a spiritual war going on, ideologies that are exploding and imploding. We're trying it with ground troops, but what about spiritual troopers?
I first noticed the headlines shifting towards Spirit, when Former Pres. Jimmy Carter announced that he was sharing with his Sunday school class the issue of his cancer. Lines had formed and people began camping out as early as 3am the morning of his teaching. The Washington Post had a front page, front and center headline, photo and article. Then there was the visit to the US and other parts of the world by Pope Francis. I had the privilege of being at the Ground Zero 9/11 memorial with his Holiness at an interfaith Prayer service, packed to capacity inside and outside.
Since then, there have been so many signals: Spiritual leaders are needed as partners WITH our political, educational governmental leaders. Faith, especially during this HOLY SEASON, seems to calm the world down. For many, they feel it is the only thing we have to hold on to. I thought it was brilliant of President Obama and Secretary Clinton to appoint me as a faith leader to the post of Ambassador at Large for International religious Freedom. I had been on the front lines of 9/ll, and then found myself on the front lines of Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and National Security, No matter what the faith( or non-faith) of the government leaders I visited and sat with, there was a respect to hear what the faith leader/Diplomat had to say. Then it really hit me this past Wednesday night, how important faith and Spirit are to OUR culture.. I went to see "my girl", Jennifer Hudson, on Broadway, in the Color Purple. The song which ended the show cried out " Just look what God has done" ....Then as we stepped out of the theater, the very next marquee had ' The Hand of God" Then there' been theBook of Mormons, and other shows, like a Trip Towards Bountiful" where the audience actually started singing hymns with Cicely Tyson, in the role she played---all steeped in the culture of faith.
As the Former Ambassador, I spoke to Government leaders about Religious Freedom.
Well the universe is asking for religious freedom --let's get freed up and speak about the areas of life where we are weakest, as a nation. Every elected, and every candidate MUST address the crisis of religion and extremism, not condemning people because of their beliefs, but gravitating towards them to help us understand what perhaps we are missing.. It affects everything we do now, from going through airports, to gathering in Times Square on New Year''s eve.
Perhaps it's time for a faith town hall, not a debate, not a condemnation, but a gathering of leaders from all walks of life, including those who lead our communities in faith. What better time than now: Christmas, Channukah, Kwaanza, a time of reflection, when there's a need for protection
Suzan Johnson Cook, author of Becoming a Woman of Destiny, the 3rd US Ambassador at Large For International Religious Freedom, is an Ordained Minister and the leader of the ProVoice /ProVoz Movement for Women, a contributor of Huff Post and a Candidate for NY's 13th Congressional District. She can be reached at FriendsOfSujay@gmail.com