Sacred Resistance

A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent

In the midst of polarized communities and nations, religious leaders across the theological spectrum are seeking help with how to respond and lead in troubled times. The need for courage to speak out and act is ever-present, because every generation faces a new set of fears and troubles. Engage in Sacred Resistance.

Author Ginger Gaines-Cirelli pastors a church in the heart of Washington DC, adjacent to the White House, which actively works to bring justice and help for marginalized communities, refugees and immigrants, and the endangered earth. She inspires and leads this work through preaching and by organizing and developing strong leaders, deeply rooted in a well-developed theological understanding. Pastoral warmth and compassion characterize the recommended practices.

 Ginger Gaines-Cirelli addresses tough questions:

  • When Christians see something wrong in our nation or community, how and when should we respond?
  • How do we choose which of multiple “wrongs” to address?
  • How can we take risks faithfully without violating relationships with the congregation or denomination?
  • On what historical, biblical, and theological safety nets can we rely?

See Ginger introduce Sacred Resistance in the video below.  Hear Ginger discuss Sacred Resistance with Ann Michel, Associate Director, Lewis Center for Church Leadership.

What people are saying about Sacred Resistance:

"Ginger Gaines-Cirelli is a terrific leader at Foundry United Methodist Church, which was my spiritual home when I lived in Washington, DC. Now she has written a timely, important book for anyone searching for hope, strength, and meaning in troubled times. She offers thoughtful, heartfelt guidance to seasoned activists and newcomers alike on how to keep perspective, strengthen bonds of empathy and community, and ground our lives in 'sacred resistance.' A powerful reminder to keep fighting and keep faith." –Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State

"Writing with the heart of a pastor and the passion of a prophet, Gaines-Cirelli breathes fresh, indeed sacred new life into 'resistance' and 'politics' reminding all Christians that standing with the marginalized, poor, and harmed is not a choice but a wondrous obligation. Hers is a powerful word for this moment in our nation, and for all moments. Taking a sacred stance towards injustice is quite simply what it means to be a Christian. This book may well change not only your mind but your heart. Powerful, gentle, true, humble, demanding, inviting and above all, faithful—Gaines-Cirelli ushers us into the kin-dom that’s here."
Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary, New York City

"Christians on both the right and left of the American political divide often bring their politics into their churches, rather than forming their political views in light of their faith. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli reminds us that faithful public witness is grounded not in our passionate views about the latest hot button issue, but rather in a vision of God’s wholeness.  Sacred resistance is a theological posture and a spiritual worldview shaped by the prophetic imagination, the cross of Christ, and the heart of God."—Ann A. Michel, Associate Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC

 

From Sacred Resistance: Our resistance is ‘sacred’ because it is driven not primarily by self-interest or fear or even only a benevolent wish for the good of an oppressed group. It is ‘sacred’ because it is driven by God at work in and through us. It is ’sacred’ because it is grounded in God’s vision of wholeness—a wholeness that embraces difference and delights in the surprises of unlikely friendship, a wholeness that calls us to take up the cross, a wholeness that is worth our suffering and sacrifice. When it is God who inspires our action, sustains our action, and provides the ultimate vision that is the goal of our action we are engaged in ‘sacred’ resistance.”


 

Case Studies and Supplemental Material

Ginger Gaines-Cirelli Introduces Sacred Resistance

About the Author

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Ginger Gaines-Cirelli is the Senior Pastor at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. She previously served as pastor at two other beltway area United Methodist Churches, St. Matthew's and Capitol Hill. She earned a M.Div. at Yale Divinity School and was a Princeton Theological Fellow.
She served as a general editor for the CEB Women's Bible.