Volume 1, Edition 2
The ideology of racism has once again reared its ugly head in our country. The events in Charlottesville Virginia during this past weekend bear witness to the fact that racism, bigotry, segregation, and hate filled ideologies are alive and flourishing. As I watched the media coverage of the venom that was spewed forth both verbally and physically, I was never more reminded of the complete and total depravity of humankind.
If that was not enough, on the heels of these heinous and demon inspired events, I then started to see Christian inspired responses to these acts. (Now I am not against the Christians public response to any form of evil, quite contrary to that, I believe that more Christians, and especially Christian leaders, need to be more vocal.) But what grieves me concerning many of these responses is the subject matter that is being put forth from Christian leaders. In several instances, some writers are just seeking to place blame on a group, or shift blame from one side to the other. Another writer placed the blame squarely on the Presbyterian Church going back to the turn of the 20th Century proclaiming that it was the Presbyterians who failed to properly address slavery and racism when hate groups such as the KKK were brandishing out judgment under the guise of Christian principles. Still other Christian leaders blamed it on the” religion of politics”, setting their sights squarely on the leaders of this country, past and present, to properly address and eliminate racism.
Why is it that as Christians living in a fallen world we are so hesitant to address the root of the problem? How come it is so unusual and rare to hear someone boldly state, “we have a sin problem”?
As a newly called Christian Pastor, I believe that I am not in a position that affords me the opportunity to sit idly by on the sidelines while the nations rage. Matthew 5:13,14 tells us that “you are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?...You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” So, this begs the question then; if we are called to be “the salt of the earth, the light of the world and the city on the hill”, how do we respond to evil that would see the ruination of God’s creation if it could?
As an Evangelical I am not going to present what “I” believe is right, there are certainly enough well intentioned but misinformed people who are doing a fine job in filling that vacancy. Instead I am, (as should all who call Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior), going to let the Word of God lead me into all truths.
The Apostle Paul took the afore mentioned teachings of Jesus Christ and expounded upon them in Ephesians 5:6-9; “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them, for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.” And then to further expand our horizons and to bring us into a full and complete understanding of what it means to be the light of the world, John records these instructions in 1st John 2:9-11; Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
The message could not be any clearer, the lesson given by Jesus Christ in Matthew are a small part of a much bigger sermon, perhaps you have heard of it; The Sermon on the Mount. If you call yourself a Christian, then you are called to love, but more than that, you are called to do so even to your enemy, even unto death.
The evil theology of Nazism, racism, bigotry, superiority because of skin color, education level, financial level or any level that you want to name, is antithetical to the Word of God, and antithetical to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because these issues go against the very Word of God, it is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to denounce this evil agenda. But we need to go one step further as well, we also must denounce any action of evil and malicious intent that any other group would see by way of retaliation.
I cannot be quiet because to do so would be to deny the fact that the saving grace afforded to me, from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, regardless of my own worthlessness, would be for naught. I would, in a sense, be declaring that this very same saving grace, was not life changing.
I cannot be quiet because I cannot (and will not) try to keep one foot securely planted in the secular world and at the same time keep the other foot in a Christian world.
I cannot be quiet because although I may not be able to “change the world” through my Christian witness, if the Holy Spirit is able to change just one person through my witness, then that is okay with me.
I cannot be quiet!