It has been too long since the fingertips have tapped these keys. I have tried to live a life of intentionality and that does not permit a lot of time to unload. Now I must bring my intentionality here....to my personal space....and to this public space. There is a heavy load that is being held right now. As the news broke of the movement in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend passions began to rise in all directions throughout our country, throughout our cities, throughout our neighborhoods, our churches, television, social media, faces, hearts. The Alt-Right formed and participated in a highly organized "Unite the Right" rally, that attracted White Supremacists, Neo-nazis the Ku Klux Klan and those in support of the evil by which these groups stand. Men and women stood together spewing hatred like vomit. Violence broke out between protestors and counter-protestors, leaving one woman dead and many injured. Hate breeds hate. White nationalism is hatred. "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Matt 6:24 This scripture passage does speak of God and money, but it absolutely applies to race or nationality. If it is our master, if it is what we worship, we cannot love another. If we worship whiteness, we cannot love blackness, brownness or any other color. After the events of the weekend, an eerie hush fell across the nation by the majority. When our President finally spoke, it was lukewarm and met with scorn. Deitrich Bonhoeffer said “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” I put this quote as my social media status, but I know that is not enough. Those are not my words, although I feel they are perfectly fitting. Silence speaks volumes. I have prayed "God give me ears to hear You, eyes to see You." I am compelled to use my own words which exhibit my true heart. ALL have not been silent. Some have spoken out. The brave of this nation, of our communities, in our church, were willing to take a stand against the hated and evil. My church was a place that allowed the voices and lent our listening ears to those of the minority. One of our pastors Matt Marshall and church members, Alma Hernandez, spoke what was on their collective hearts. There was immense anguish and rage. It was intense and it was painful to hear. But, we listened. We heard.
I have never been so close to this issue as I am now. As I pray that God would draw me closer to Him, I never took into consideration where He was. Where He would draw me. What that would look like. God is not merely in the safe places. He is with the marginalized and the hurting. He is with the oppressed and the lonely. That is where I have found more of God. He has drawn me out of an uncomfortable comfort zone. He has placed me in an unsafe, safe place. I am in a place allowed to have feelings, a place where we are allowed to look different, a place where diversity is welcome and thrives, where we all do not have to agree to love each other, but we do just that. We love each other. We stand beside each other and we bear each others burdens. I stand in opposition to any form of white supremacy and nationalism. I call it evil because it evil. I was made in the image of God just like every other human being on this earth. I am so glad my Jesus was not a white man. Everyone person of color, light or dark or medium, is intrinsically valuable. We cannot give that nor take it away. It is God-given.
As I am challenged to go further than an insignificant, regurgitated quote on social media, I struggle to know what it looks like to stand with those who are being targeted with hate. What can I do? How do I respond appropriately? How do I overcome my own ignorance? How do I let my brothers and sisters of color know that I love them? First, I am listening. I hear your voices. I hear your hurt. I know it is real. I do not have to have mobs carrying torches, flags and signs cast in my direction to know this is painful. It is painful to witness. I refuse to be silent. I refuse to tell anyone to get over it, ignore it, that they are blowing it out of proportion. I have heard these statements. If you have stood by and said nothing, you have said so much already. Stand up and say something. Defend your brother and sister, less you impart power to the enemy. Blow up social media in defense of many. Call evil out. Love your neighbor well.