These last few days & weeks have been difficult to deal with. The Stanford injustice. The singer killed in Orlando. The mass shooting in Orlando. The toddler attacked and killed by the alligator at a Disney Resort. One thing is for sure, Orlando has had a tough week. Awful week. Tragic week.
As a side note, if you haven't read the powerful letter written by the victim of the Stanford rape and assault, I highly recommend it. It may be the best piece of literature written in the last few years. No joke. Here's the link.
All that has been happening and I must admit my emotions and feelings are swirling in all different directions. Part of me weeps. Part of me is angry. Part of me questions "Why." Part of me knows I have to speak into this. Yet, honestly, a large part of me wants to hide and cower. My internal conversation is, "Lord, let someone else be prophetic. Let someone else proclaim hope and love into these tragic situations. Let someone else speak up."
I even try to justify it to myself. I think, "It's not my community. It's not someone I know personally. Rape culture doesn't apply to my context and my congregation. LGBTQ hatred doesn't exist within my people, my friends and my family."
That's the demon I'm dealing with today. It's the demon I, as a Christian, fight and wrestle with every day. That demon is Cowardice.
I don't want to ruffle feathers. I don't want to upset people. I am afraid of saying the wrong thing, so I cower and don't deal with the tough issues. But, the tough issues are the real issues. Those are the places God is most at work. Those are the people and communities God wants us to be joining Him the most.
The truth is I, like you, do have a role to play. How I use my gifts and voice matters. I can't cower and wait for someone else to speak up; instead, I must take that scary step forward. Rape Culture exists in Cedar Rapids, IA, just as much as it exists in Santa Clara, CA. Hatred towards the LBGTQ community exists here just as it does in Orlando, FL.
By me not speaking, I am speaking. By me not acting, I am acting. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that and I believe it's true. Bonhoeffer was a part of the movement of Christians who tried to overthrow Hitler during WWII. He saw Christians doing nothing and allowing the Nazis to alienate and persecute people. He loudly spoke out against Christian indifference to injustices happening in the world.
Indifference and doing nothing is hurtful and harmful to our society, because it enables and allows injustice and hatred to continue.
What's happening in our world is awful and we, as Christians, must not cower, do nothing or say nothing. Indifference is the safe option but it's not the option I hope we, as a Church, take. Instead, I hope we take the riskier option, which is to take that step forward. That we use our platforms, our voices and our gifts towards bringing healing, hope and wholeness to our world.
I'll leave you with a famous quote that sums up the problem of indifference.
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me." -Martin Niemöller
May we always be the Church in our world. We don't need people who go to Church. We need people who are the Church. Who don't stand idly by observing hatred. Who don't step back and wait for someone else to stop injustices from happening.
Instead, may our Church be filled with disciples who take that step. Who proclaim Christ. Who proclaim hope. Who are on fire for the Gospel. Who support one another. Who see each other. Who stand with one another. Who listen and love each other.
That's the Church I want to be a part of. That's the Church our world needs. That's the Church communities like Orlando and Santa Clara needs.
All my love,