Dear Church Leaders
There’s a lot of despair in American right now. I know this is true for any given Tuesday, but right now feels different. The last few weeks have been a series of spiritual body blows, from Ferguson to Staten Island to the CIA. Nobody knows what they don’t know and the truth feels slippery. Who can we trust?
Folks are acting out and not just the ones we see on TV. Social media is alive with anger and hatred. Say what you like about social media, people use it, read it and are influenced by it. Right now there’s a virtual war going on and people are aiming to kill.
Our political leaders are acting out too, every single chance they get. That’s what finally plopped me in front of this keyboard: watching politicians who call themselves Christians and pro-life, who campaign with the support of the Christian churches in this nation, defending the use of torture. Just Sunday, one of them said he would do it all again, even the torture of innocent people.
We’re in the wilderness, circling the wagons, trying to protect us from them. There’s so much fear, and we’re never good when we’re scared.
We need you, but you are nowhere to be found.
There are those who believe you aren’t speaking up because you’re scared to anger your “base”. I dismiss this argument for two reasons: one, the people who make up your “base” are followers of Jesus, who called us to love, not hatred, prejudice or torture. And two, our Christian faith transcends politics. It’s bigger than any personal agenda, political party, government or nation.
Maybe you’re just plain scared, like the rest of us. This I can understand.
A few weeks ago, four prominent rabbis in New York recited the kaddish for Eric Garner. They did this because, as one of them said “Rabbis and all Jews need to stand up and say that every single person is a creation in the divine image — that black lives matter…We put our bodies on the line to show how crucial it is that the systems meant to protect us do protect all of us.”
They stood up for what was right and used prayer for healing. They did it with peace and love in their hearts.
Then they got arrested. This is how upside down the world is at the moment.
Not meaning any disrespect to the rabbis, but they reminded me of Jesus. Don’t you just know He would have done the same? I felt comforted because the rabbis showed me that the grief and uncertainty in my heart are real. And that we need prayer right now, in our hearts but also out where everyone can see it, solid, un-moving, determined, courageous.
So I am asking you to end your silence.
Lead us in prayer for understanding, to soften what has become scared and hard.
Lead us in difficult conversations about reconciling the anger and prejudices in our hearts.
Lead us to challenge the politicians who have strayed from sacred value of respect for life from birth to death.
Stand up and be Christ in this world. Shepherd your sheep. We need you.