Yesterday my Facebook feed was filled with outrage over the an injustice done in our country. James B. Comey criticized Hillary Clinton for her handling of her email system, calling her actions "extremely careless". The sense of rage at this injustice was palpable at Mrs. Clinton's lack of truthfulness. A politician failed us. And this politician has a great chance to lead our nation as President. My Facebook friends posted with gusto how wrong her actions were.
They are right - it is wrong to be deceptive. Leviticus 19:11 says, "You shall not steal, nor deal falsely nor lie to one another." Mrs. Clinton was wrong to be deceptive.
But they are wrong. We are wrong. I am wrong.
There is a Latin phrase, en vino veritas - in wine there is truth. Meaning when someone has excess alcohol, the truth of their heart comes out. Facebook and politics seem to be similar places of en vino veritas. And the truth is many white Christian Americans care more about their sense of impending doom in regards to their life, their well being than the plight of others.
Our priorities are wrong. Or sense of injustice is misplaced.
I say that because many of my Facebook friends are more disgusted at a politician's deficiency than the execution of two black men in the past 24 hours. Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were confronted by police, judged and executed in a matter of minutes. We openly wonder if these men didn't deserve it, provoke it, or give the officers some reason to shoot them. It was their fault. Black people need to get it together, take care of their lives and their community. We say America doesn't have a race problem - black people just are seeing the world wrong. We ignore the fact the KKK is on rise or that we would have any hand in causing the oppression of another.
The problem is that men and women who call themselves Christians don't give a rip that another black man is dead. We don't care as a group. We care more about fighting for our rights than we do about our bearing the burdens of our neighbor. We care more about protecting our money, our way of life, more than we do about injustice done to the least of these.
I know this because it is true of me. When I preached for the first time on the sanctity of life - speaking out against the evils of abortion, which make no mistake it is pure evil - I realized if I actually believed this, that life matters & that we are made in the image and likeness of God, then I would have to do something or prove to be a coward and a hypocrite. This journey towards becoming who I was saved to be, a minster of reconciliation, has taken me a long time.
To be Christian is to be moved with compassion. To be a Christian is to give up your rights and allow the one who made us to move us. As my friend Jason Clarke says, we are called to "wage peace" to actively seek out the welfare of others.
These shootings are a time for us to figure out if our God really is who He says He is. I am convinced that there are only two things that are eternal in this life, the Word of God (Isaiah 40:8) and the souls of men and women (John 3:16). The greatest commandment calls us to love others like Christ has loved us, unconditionally and intentionally (Matthew 22:36-40; Luke 10:25-37).
These tumultuous times, which often feel like the 1960's to me, give us ample time to show what we really care about. Will we give our lives to the Word of God and the souls of men and women? Or will we spend our time worrying and complaining about gay men and their wedding cakes? When the next Orlando shooting happens, we will simply post something stupid and benign like "prayers up for Orlando?" Will we go on "hating the sin and loving the sinner" yet not actually knowing one LBGT person?
What about refugees? What about illegal immigrants? What will we fight for? Will we fight, vote, and post about how to keep them out? Don't get me wrong; ISIS is evil and our immigration system is broken. But what will you fight for? Will you give your life to protect America or will you fight for a King and a Kingdom that is not of this world (John 18:36)? When will we stop caring about our rights and give a rip about the rights of Syrian refugee children that are now in danger of being sexually abused?
If I wrote this the right way then their should be some tension in you - I know there is in me. Am I going to be a coward and a hypocrite, or will I allow the living God to take me to places I don't feel comfortable and love people who are different than me? We said this is a year to rise - rise in faith, identity and action. Make no mistake, the time for action is coming. It is time to "love not love in word and talk but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:18).
Jesus heal our land. Heal our hearts. Amen.
Rachel Clarke here.
Romans 12:15 says that one of the marks of a true Christian is to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Church, we have an opportunity to enter into the world of the black community an opportunity to listen to their lived experience and mourn along side them. We cannot mourn with those who we haven't heard.
Here is a list of events that are happening in response the events of the last 48 hours around Dallas...
Justice for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Rally
tonight 7/7 from 7-9 pm at Belo Garden Park
1014 Main St Dallas, TX 75202
Union Coffee is hosting The Conversation (facilitated discussion) about the last 48 hours
Tonight (7/7/16) from 7-9pm
5622 Dyer Street Dallas, TX 75206
Faith in Texas is having a meeting July 14 6:30-9:00 pm to present a plan to mobilize to change systems that oppress people of color. I will be attending the meeting you can register by clicking here.