Hey Church, We Can Choose Sides!
The history of man is a history of violent division and oppression. It started in the very first generation when the unrighteous Cain killed his brother, Abel, simply because Abel’s righteousness angered him. From that point forward, division, violence and oppression have been the norm for the human race.
Today, we have significant division, violence and oppression in our country and the media is asking everyone to choose sides. They report the events in our country in a narrative that makes them all appear very “black and white”. In reality, this is not the case at all, but the divisive narrative is simple and it sells. Lies are always short and simple so they fit neatly into headlines and slogans. The truth, on the other hand, is very involved and complex so that it rarely fits neatly into a headline.
As The Church of Jesus in this environment, we are constantly being asked to align with one side or the other, to make a stand for “what is right”. I think we should be perfectly fine with this challenge to use our voice and never back away from it. After all, if The Church can’t voice what is right, who can? But as we prepare to exercise our voice, let’s not let politicians, pundits or activists define for us the lines of division. Rather, let’s define our own lines of division.
The divisions most often stoked by the folks listed above are predictable and constant.
- Democrats vs Republicans
- Blacks vs Whites
- Rich vs Poor
- Powerful vs Powerless
- Socialists vs Capitalists
As THE CHURCH, we can NEVER allow society to lure us into choosing sides based on these kinds of societal and racial divisions. The Church is designed to be a raceless, classless society and as such, has room for people from all of the above groups within its walls. We do, however, have our own lines of division, lines based on much different criteria.These lines of division are based on at least two things:
- Righteousness vs Unrighteousness
- Victims vs Oppressors
Those divisions are a part of our DNA and we hold to them tenaciously. Let others choose sides based on merely human convention and the novel biases of the day. We, on the other hand, must always align ourselves with righteousness and the oppressed.
So by all means, let’s not cower from the moment. Let’s stand up and exert our voice for all the victims of this last week and beyond:
Let’s stand with the victim, George Floyd, who lost his life when not a single officer came to his aid while an officer had his knee on his neck for seven minutes while he was in handcuffs with two others on his back!
Let’s stand with the thousands of victims in downtown Minneapolis whose average household income is $33,000. Now they are left in tears as they find themselves without transportation while their neighborhood grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail stores are torched and looted by others, probably never to return.Let’s stand with all minorities who have been victims of oppression in our country simply for the color of their skin.
Let’s stand with four Columbia Police Officers injured (one seriously) during the protests yesterday, along with two other officers murdered in Oakland.
Let’s stand with all the small business owners, black, white, latino and asian, many of whom lost family businesses to theft and vandalism and now wonder how they are going to feed their families.
Now is not the time to be quiet! It is the time to use our voice very confidently. The lies that want to divide are very short and simple, the truth that brings peace and unites is much more complex. Be on your guard and use your mind in the days to come. Don’t let others control the narrative and falsely divide us based on temporary, earthly things like race, power, political party or socioeconomic class. Also, let’s not stand aside passively and close our mouths as though we don’t a very pertinent and necessary message to share. Rather, let’s share that message in both word and deed while we stand with all victims against their oppressors in every corner of society.
Sometimes those oppressors are civil authorities like police officers, sometimes they are the rich of Wall Street, sometimes they are manipulative political authorities, sometimes they are rioters in the streets. Regardless of who they are, what race they are or what position they hold in society, the Church must never run away from this struggle for righteousness. We must always run towards these struggles, and upon arrival we must peacefully, yet confidently, align ourselves with the victims as both a verbal and physical rebuke to those who oppress them.
Rise Up Church and Shine in these Dark Days!