So, Church . . .
- The Property Committee of a predominantly White church is looking at contracts for replacing the windows and three proposals have been submitted. One of those is from a Black-owned company. As the committee looks over the proposals, one long-time member says out loud, “Well we can already eliminate the Black one.” And no one says a word.
- The preacher, in a sermon about Mary Mother of Jesus, makes a toss off joke in his sermon about “the problem with single mothers . . . ” And no one speaks to him about this comment after worship.
- The Head of Staff demands that a youth program welcoming formerly incarcerated kids from a nearby residential facility shut down. “This is not what our members have in mind when they pay for youth programs.” And no one says a word.
See what I mean here?
We in the church are “nice” and discomfort is our kryptonite. We don’t want to “split the church.” We don’t want “important members” to leave. We don’t want to stir up conflict.
Nice is killing us.
I’m not talking about turning over the tables (yet) and I’m not talking about refuting heretical comments with pithy but hateful retorts. And I’m not talking about politics.
[Note: This is a very good article in The Atlantic by Shadi Hamid here regarding our conflation of religious beliefs and political beliefs.] We do not stand up to racism or sexism or attacks against the vulnerable to be politically correct.
We stand up to racism, sexism, attacks against the vulnerable and all other injustice because of Jesus. We speak up because we are not embarrassed by the Gospel.
Imagine how our culture would change – and especially how our church culture would change – if we stopped being “nice” and started being brave disciples of the One who preached a message of abundant life for all God’s children – including the brown ones, the poor ones, the addicted ones, the sick ones, and even the ones who are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Agnostic, and Atheist. What if we showed everyone what the love of God in Jesus Christ looked like?
What if we spoke up when our siblings in Christ said and did things that are the antithesis of Jesus’ message? We could change the world. Or at least we could begin to change the culture.
It is not okay – for theological reasons – to allow men to denigrate women, to allow white nationalism to fester, to allow the poor to be punished for their poverty, to make health care available only to the wealthy. It is not okay according to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
What would it take for you to speak up? We speak up because of Jesus. We speak up because we say we want to follow the Carpenter from Nazareth. We speak up because we claim to love the Lord.
Please. Speak up. And have a lovely weekend.