A moment of silence
I do not have the privilege of being able to say or write my unfiltered thoughts in public without facing consequences both in my career, and without having repercussions to my family and church community as well. When church leaders speak, they are expected to speak for their flock, not for themselves as if it were a vow they took when they began their leadership. I think certain pastors who obtain a kind of celebrity status may have a little bit broader range of acceptability to speak, but the backlash they face when they do cross those invisible lines is probably worse. We share that privilege with public servants in general and politicians in particular. Most of my opinions never leave my house, and quite a few never leave my head.
There has been so much gossip, slander, and indictment of our leaders going on lately that I had to take a step back to avoid joining in with the senseless, cutting words. Yes, there are issues (both new and old). No, I’m not thrilled with how things turned out. Yes, my family will probably be affected by dismantling Obamacare. Yes, I know people who are terrified by the immigration practices being put into place. I don’t know everyone or everything, just my small connection, my small network of people whose lives are affected.
I needed some time of silence to listen to God and to myself as well to figure out what my true thoughts and feelings were, and to figure out if I even had anything worth sharing. I know God still has things to share with us. I’m still listening to see if I have anything worth adding myself. The fighting is as old as time. The arguments about responsibility in tragedy became jealousy, hatred, and homicide in the next generation. That is not an excuse for our violence and hatred… it is a question, if we truly are a progressive people, why do we still do this?
I don’t know. We pass around multiple religions and politics and laws as if it will cure us from being selfish human beings whose talk always outshouts our walk. As a Christian I should know this more than most and expect to be judged more harshly than my neighbors. Our communities are unhealthy and there is no one person or even one group of people who are powerful enough to cause that… but I can play a role in making a difference.
So what have I done in my silence? Last semester I was invited to join a group of international and American students to help them achieve a vision of people of all nations and cultures being brought together in Christ. They saw this need in our community months before the election and asked me to help shepherd this new ministry. These students may be among some of the last affected by immigration laws, it is true, but they are not immune from global politics both inside and outside the USA. I’m not protesting right now – it wouldn’t make much difference in our small community that most politicians barely knows exist. I’m choosing to make a difference in the lives of people here and now. I know it is not enough, but it is a start.
How do you and your community strive to promote healthy international relations?