A bit more on my background passage that I invoked a couple days ago. (Here’s a direct link to that post : )
“Whom we have seen” vs “God, whom we have not seen” in I John 4:19-20 as we know, is not a critique of “belief in God”, but a recognition of the call to respond to actual, active harm; to protect, as evidence of that belief.
It is recognizing that we have a natural “emergency intinct”; that things we consider to be immediate threat are given undivided attention before we return to our “usual”, everyday calling; and this goes for those who are actually working on other emergencies. It is a wicked problem when we have time sensitive problems like the Ecological devastation we are witnessing that require unprecedented collective attention, to be pulled away to stand in between those who would exclude and those who are being excluded to say “enough”; but we do it, and try to balance that work with our ecological education and advocacy work, knowing that we must love those who “are seen” (most immediate and set upon, even though we also know that the ecological problems are ALSO “immediate”, present, and urgent. The I John passage was not faced with such an existential problem of the magnitude of what we face, but it is recognizing the protective response to defend those we love; and that those with whom we are in community are those we love.)
We eco-activists know that the ecological crisis is an “active harm” problem as well, and we still know that there is no time to waste, and yet what do we do when we have this active, relational church problem of intense exclusion and harm? This is why I call this a “wicked problem”. We’re called to “till and to keep” (to honor/love and protect) the earth, but zoom in on this and we have God’s children under assault, as God’s creation is under continued assault.