I’m not one to use what’s considered to be vulgar speech, especially on a blog for my church, but sometimes it is worth doing. This image — source unknown — floated through my social media a year or more ago. It aligns with what I trust to be the truth about how change comes about and how we make it happen.
Vulnerability is indeed showing our hearts to everyone. Our capacity to engage one another in dialogue and truly listen to another is critical for any kind of meaningful change.
One of the key elements of non-violent resistance is to be able to express your values in such a way that it doesn’t injure or damage another. Gandhi understood his whole life as a series of experiments to understand what was true and because he couldn’t be sure that he fully understood the truth, his protests were designed with the intent of creating understanding about particular issues.
The Salt March, for example, involved hundreds of people walking with Gandhi to salt flats where he and others took up handfuls of salt. Because the British government controlled the production of salt, and because it was heavily taxed, simply having salt in their hands was illegal and so they were arrested. Their actions at that time raised up the injustice of the British control of an item necessary for life and made it visible.
The end of British rule in India was many layered and complicated, but it was certainly hastened by Gandhi’s protests and actions.
In these times, my hope grows from the awareness that change comes from vulnerability.