HH and I were away over the weekend and we saw one of those lawn signs that starts: In this house we believe . . . only we had never seen this particular sentiments on one sign before nailed to a tree beside the swingset and the American flag. It said:
In this house we believe that
All lives matter
Abortion is murder
Socialism is evil
Pedophilia is immoral
We kneel for the cross
We stand for the flag
I could write about this particular combination of beliefs all day long, but I invite you to do your own analysis. Signs like these are interesting for so many reasons and they tend to identify the politics of a particular neighborhood. We usually find multiple “Black Lives Matter” in some neighborhoods just as we tend to see “Blue Lives Matter” in other neighborhoods. And then there is sometimes both in the same yard, much less the same neighborhood.
Good for us if we want to change the world. I’m going to assume for a moment that people place these kinds of signs in their yards to express all kinds of things: anger, hope, frustration. Or maybe they are trying to pick a fight. Or maybe they are trying to fit into their neighborhood.
I, for one, believe Jesus was talking about changing the world when he said these things right here. We change the world to look more like what God created the world to be when we love God and our neighbors, when we care for “the least of these,” when we make disciples, when we pray for our enemies. When we change our own hearts, we change the world.
I’m not sure lawn signs change much of anything.
We human beings tend to prefer lazy activism. We might vote, send checks to the Heart Association, and buy Girl Scout Cookies and feel great about ourselves. We might put a sign on the lawn declaring our support for immigrants or Dr. Fauci. But if this is the extent of our spiritual practices, we are falling short.
God calls us into relationship with each other, and God wasn’t just talking about relating to people who agree with us. We are called to love and serve even those people whose lawn signs make us crazy.
My immediate response to the lawn sign that HH and I saw was, frankly, anger. I wanted to argue with the people in that house, not befriend them. (Personal note: I don’t believe socialism is evil, for example but I know it’s often demonized. Please read what Jesus said about sharing.)
Here’s what I believe: I believe God is calling us to do more than stick a sign in our yard about loving immigrants or supporting Black lives. I believe God is calling us to – actually – love the people. I believe that God is calling us to increase our proximity to people who don’t look, speak, think, or act like we do. It’s really hard sometimes.
Or we could put up a lawn sign.