Word for the Day: All things to all men.
This has been very difficult to write. I watch the videos of cities being burned, property being destroyed, and the police being vilified, and my flesh wants to fight back. On the other hand, when I hear the phrase “Black lives matter,” I have to say, “Absolutely!” For those who want to quibble that all lives matter, I think they miss the point. The black experience has been traumatic for many, and, from their perspective, they need to stand up for their own. No problem.
I even get that many are just angry and want to feel the sweet taste of a moment’s revenge. I don’t approve, but I understand. What I can’t wrap my head around is using all of this as a cover for crime in the streets, stirring up the mob, then standing back and watching them do their work. The fact that a crowd can be moved to do things that individuals would not, is well-documented. The emotion and the anonymity tend to dissolve normal constraints. (Think soccer fans) Marxists and community organizers know this.
That being said, a couple of things bother me. First, the organization “Black Lives Matter,” does a good job of presenting a case for the aggrievement of black people. Many of their ideas are hard to argue with. They do, however, espouse some things that I can’t endorse. Their website makes it clear that they are heavily invested in the homosexual and transsexual cause. They specifically denounce the western family structure, and they are overtly anti-police. Much of their language, and some of the public pronouncements of the founders make me believe they are Marxists at their core. They want to see western civilization overturned. That is unacceptable.
The second thing that irritates me (almost to despair) is the lack of will and wile on the part of our political class, Left and Right. For fifty-plus years they have been diddling around, putting band-aids on these issues, and now they seem shocked that the folks they have pandered to or attempted to intimidate are mad about it. I pray that someone will emerge as a leader of the American Center who will protect innocent lives and private property while taking bold and effective action to open opportunity (education?), promote family stability, and establish some kind of conversation on how we live together. We must strive for equal justice under the law. God help us if we can’t find anyone for that role. We are leaderless, and that is unacceptable.
Here’s the point: The challenges for the Church are immense. We are marginalized by our politics and paralyzed by our fears dressed as self-righteousness. While we gripe about the restrictions placed on our meeting halls, the community around them is burning down. If we don our MAGA hats and charge off to a Trump rally, we have just lost our ability to touch half the population. Our challenge is two-fold: First, we need to get our hearts right. I can’t allow my outrage at mob behavior to fester into hatred for the individuals involved. Writing them off as simply evil is unacceptable. Second, with a heart of love, I have to find some way to connect with those whose politics I find abhorrent and whose behavior I find frightening. I don’t know how to do that but hiding in the church building and being outraged is unacceptable.
Jesus died for every one of the protesters and the rioters, the looters and the cops, the rabid racists and the spineless politicians. He put us here to make sure they all get a clear presentation of the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray with me that God gives us opportunities, one-on-one, in their natural habitat to open conversations, not about politics, but about life, love, sin, pain, and redemption. Every mob member has a mom, a purpose, a passion, and a story. Surely, we can connect. To do nothing is unacceptable.
“Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”(1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NLT)