Tough Assignment

“What can we do?”loveyourenemies1

I’m hearing this from people who are outraged, hurting, frustrated, and/or depressed. What can we do beyond march for justice? What can we do about political actions with which we disagree? What can we do to relieve our anger?

I was talking with college students yesterday who have heavy academic loads and part-time jobs, and clearly they don’t need another assignment.

But I have a tough assignment for all of us who are struggling with the current political atmosphere.  In schools and churches and neighborhoods and families, we find ourselves feeling uncomfortable around –  if not estranged from  – people with whom we disagree.  What can we do?

  • Send money to organizations working for issues we support.
  • Volunteer for those organizations
  • March for refugees/immigrants/women/LGBTQ people to show broad support.

All these actions are important.  But here’s a tougher assignment I’m suggesting: Invite someone on the other side of the political aisle/someone you hate/someone you don’t understand/someone from a demographic that makes you uncomfortable . . .  and invite that person for coffee or tea.  Or ice cream.

Do not talk about politics.  Do not talk about religion.  Tell your story.  Share the names of your kids or your dog or your parakeet.  Talk about what you do for fun these days.  What was your childhood like?

It’s harder to hate someone when you know their story.

If you are a praying person, agree to pray for each other.  If you are a brave praying person, pray at the end of your time together.  And agree to meet up again.

We have got to break out of our bubbles.  We have got to broaden our personal relationships and information sources.

One of the things I’ve appreciated about the protests in support of refugees is that many Christians spanning theological lines have joined Muslim and Jewish folks and people with no faith tradition to stand for refugees.  Keep in mind that refugees, by definition, are in danger if they stay in their homeland.  Keep in mind that Jesus was a refugee. Keep in mind that all of us are called to support the weak and vulnerable.  This is what makes us human beings.

Please join me in this tough assignment.

Image quotes several verses from the Bible:  Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27-28.

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