Pardon the Interruption: Humanity over Patriotism
Over the last two weeks my heart has been heavy. I would like to take a moment to get a few things out and challenge ourselves in a different way. Fair 5 will continue next week, but today I would like to talk about impact and courage in the hard places. There are easy ways to create impact and some issues are harder. But they all take courage in action. As I have been writing about starting an ethical lifestyle, there have been some hard things happening in our country, and Adventure God is tugging at me to lean in.
I was so excited when I started this blog a few months ago, so I could start writing about issues God put on my heart. This was going to take me out of my comfort zone A LOT. Courage normally is not my strong suit, and being an introvert and people pleaser doesn’t help either. As I began this process, I noticed some lies creeping into my mind: telling me no one cares, or nobody sees me. They told me I was not good enough and I cannot change things. There is an enemy out there that doesn’t want us to be courageous and create impact and tests our courage to keep going. If you are like me, it’s easy to come up with reasons not to speak up.
So I struggle from time to time with not being good enough and wanting to make people happy. Yet my heart is burdened by recent events that indicate to me that I live in a nation that chooses to put patriotism before humanity. These things are not compatible.
I learned recently about Terence Crutcher. An innocent, unarmed man shot next to his disabled car. Terence was a father of four, attended community college for music and sang in the church choir. The disturbing video released shows officers and helicopter pilot saying he “looks like a bad dude” and was tasered and then shot with his hands in the air.
God is calling me to stand for life and discuss important issues. While I am busy battling my mind and trying to plan out blog posts, innocent people are being killed. What is the right thing to do? Quit because it is hard? Believe the lie that things can’t change? Keep quiet out of fear of offending others?
The sad part is Terence is just one of many sad stories. Charles Kinskey was shot trying to take care of an autistic man. In Baltimore, a 13-year old was shot because he had a BB gun. Then politicians use fear to incite votes and tell us that they alone can save us from the slew of bad (read: different) people.
And meanwhile we raise the US Constitution above all and fight over individual rights for ourselves to be “safe” at other people’s expense with the argument that more violence will stop violence. The Jesus I know says deny yourself, love your enemies and that peacemakers will be blessed. He promoted a very different way to look at the world. And the empire and religious killed him for it.
Shane Claiborne in Jesus for President puts it well: “Is it possible that we can’t see the destructiveness of our economy not because we don’t know it is terrible but because deep down we think it is necessary and therefore it’s hopeless to criticize it?”
We are angrier at the football player not standing for the national anthem than the man of color killed when he needed help. Even worse, we justify it. We put patriotism before humanity. By saying we need fewer gun regulations because of “the constitution” we put patriotism above humanity. Please read this great blog calling all white America to take a knee. This is how we create impact.
Creating impact takes courage. I came a across a beautiful quote from Brene Brown: “Courage is turning towards hard truth, not turning away.” If we want to create a life of impact we need to turn towards the hard things with courage and humility. I think it is easier to talk about buying ethically than sitting and working with those suffering. It is hard to stand up to a broken system and empire and address hard issues of race, violence and patriotism.
What would happen if we all give up because we think it’s hopeless to change? I think we are seeing that by how our friends of color are being killed and exploited and by how we put a flag above humanity to serve the kingdom of America instead of the kingdom of God and life. Where are our priorities?
I don’t know about you, these events have given me a gut check. Creating impact can be hard. The deeper we go the more push back there will be. But I believe God is calling his church to rise up in love, peace and life. We need to stop reading the Bible through the lens of America and begin to read America through the lens of the Bible (Jesus for President).
Let’s get practical. There are many ways, easy and hard that we can step into this issue. This week let’s reach out to someone different from us and talk about hard issues, or ask how we can help. Sit with the poor and marginalized and listen to their story. It is amazing how our perspective can change when it becomes personal.
Be courageous and vote for Adventure God’s kingdom of life versus the empire of patriotism over humanity by taking a knee during the national anthem. Then say a prayer for our friends of color, and those that are different than us. Pray that we will be courageous and turn towards the hard issues and lean into Adventure God’s calling for us to be peacemakers. Maybe this calling just looks like being brave and starting a conversation with someone when it doesn’t seem comfortable.
If you are ready, will you join me in stepping up (or taking a knee) for life and a different kind of kingdom? Can we simply be grateful for our freedoms and admit that we are far from perfect and things need to change?
Talk back now. Let’s share other ideas for how the issues of race and violence in our country can be combated to create a country that values all life.