By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party
Human liberation is basically a question of moral and spiritual values. If a person sees the meaning of one’s life in one’s material well-being, accumulating wealth becomes an end in itself – “eat and drink for tomorrow you will be dead”. If, on the other hand, a person sees the meaning of one’s life in spiritual values, that is the love of God and the love of one’s neighbour, then material possessions become mere means towards an end.
Faith in God should free a person from enslavement to one’s material possessions and enable one to use the riches of this world towards truly human ends, that is living a life of love in communion with God and one’s fellow persons.
The radical transformation that is necessary to free a human being in the very depth of one’s heart from selfishness and greed is a gift from God. No one can give oneself this “new heart” (Ez 11: 18-19).
It’s not by fighting to the bitter end, but by analysing the causes of the conflict and by resolving it, that we can create conditions in which the self-reliant efforts of our people will bear fruit. We can only build such a society with the free cooperation of all its members.
A human being finds fulfilment in committing one’s whole person in freedom to the service of one’s fellow human beings.
Our party has adopted many pastors or revends as parliamentary and local government candidates. For them, only with God’s help can we transform a society inclined to greed, selfishness and hatred into a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17), capable of love, compassion and generosity. It’s God’s work through them. As followers of Christ, put all their trust in the kingdom of God. Far from waiting its arrival in passivity, they strive with all their might towards its realisation here and now well knowing, however, that God alone, who has announced its coming through Christ, will bring about its completion. This is the way in which we are pursuing our aim of radical transformation of our people and society.
Spirituality refers not only to our spiritual life. It refers to a human being as a whole, in his or her spiritual and bodily unity. In the Gospels, the totality of the human being is what brings life to the spirit. Thus, spirituality isn’t the way you feel the presence of God. Nor is it the way you believe. Jesus said, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Thus, spirituality is a way of living life according to the spirit. For Christians, living is the best way of believing. Faith without deeds is worthless; as James stated, “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is all-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith, by itself, if it has not works, is dead” (James 2:14 -17).
Our way of life is the result of what we believe.
If we consider the Gospel accounts, we can clearly see that Jesus’ spirituality wasn’t one of withdrawal from the world, of moving away from everyday life in order to better serve God, or of denying earthly realities. In John 17:15, Jesus asked his Father to keep his disciples from evil without taking them out of the world.
Jesus’ entire existence was one of immersion in the ideological conflict, in the arena where different concepts and options for or against the oppressed, exploited, humiliated, marginalised were discussed. Nor was Jesus’ spirituality that of moralism. That is the spirituality of the Pharisees, who turn their moral virtues into a sort of conquest of sanctity. Many Christians have been trained along these lines and lose strength in their faith because they don’t manage to adjust to the pharisaical moralism they seek. God seems to live on top of the mountain, and spirituality is taught as a manual for mountain climbing to be used by Christians interested in scaling its steep slopes. Since we are of a fragile nature, we begin our climb over and over again – it is the constant repetition of the Sisyphus legend, rolling the stone uphill.