Written: January 28,2017
Today I cried… Actually, I wept.
There were tears of desperation, confusion, frustration, and tears from feeling broken-down and set back.
And as I prayed, those tears streamed down my face, and I felt as though I had been hit in the gut with the reality of the situation.
I can no longer remain silent. My convictions are too deep to sit back and let the people my God loves so fiercely, radically, and passionately think that He, or His Church, does not care about them.
I’ll be honest: the things I have to say may not settle well with you. You may disagree with the way I feel and how I see things, but that’s okay.
Our doctrines may differ, you may have better solutions, or we may disagree entirely; but that is okay, because I believe there is more than enough room at God’s table for both of us. So stay with me.
I’ve cried more in the last eight days than I have in the past 8 months combined.
I have cried because the man elected into the Oval Office last week is considered, by many, a Christian; and I believe his words, actions, beliefs, and policies could not be a further representation of the true gospel.
I have cried because some, if not most, people all over the world will associate his words, actions, beliefs, and policies with Christianity. And I have cried because some Christians do believe that his words, actions, beliefs, and policies represent the true gospel.
January 20th, the day of our 45th President’s Inauguration, revealed the rising tension and obvious the division in our country.
The next day millions of women and hundreds of men marched in protest of the new presidential administration. And what intended to be an expression of our American constitutional right, which makes this country so beautiful, caused a backlash of more division.
And I cried tears of confusion and frustration.
I cried because the media failed to show, or give attention to, the people who were marching for reasons other than reproductive rights.
Behind all of the pro-choice and anti-Trump signs stood men and women marching for their rights, their family’s rights, and their community’s rights, as American citizens.
They were marching for people of color, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community.
They marched because they feel scared and marginalized and oppressed.
And my heart breaks over this.
In the days following, multiple news articles were published and opinions were shared proving that we are no longer a united nation. It is no longer “we the people,” but “us verses them.”
I have read biased news stories and social media posts slamming Christians, stereotyping white evangelicals, and condemning the Church.
I have also read biased news stories and social media posts firing back disrespectful, uneducated rhetoric, mocking the lamenting, and overlooking the real need in their own communities.
I have cried tears of frustration because I have seen people attacking Christians online and in the media, and I have seen Christians attacking people online and in the media.
I have cried because some of the people marching, who feel scared and marginalized and oppressed, do not feel comfortable walking into our churches. Yet, they are the ones the Church is called to love, serve, and protect.
This week has been full of dark moments.
One moment being the President’s order to move ahead with building a wall on the US – Mexico border.
And today, news broke that the president has closed our nation’s borders to all refugees around the world (this includes Syrian refugees fleeing from a war they want nothing to do with), suspended immigration from seven primarily-Muslim countries, and ordered that Christians be granted priority over Muslims in the vetting process.
My heart is completely shattered. My soul is extremely heavy. And I have wept tears of desperation and tears from feeling broken-down and set back.
I have gotten upset, angry, and frustrated reading some of the responses, and comments, written by Christians on the Inauguration, the Women’s March, the March for Life, and all of the President’s executive orders.
I feel like they are doing damage to our witness in the world… I feel like they don’t know Jesus, not really. I feel like the Church is missing it – missing out on all the ways the very people whom they fear or exclude or ridicule or judge are often the very people with whom Jesus would be spending all of his time. ***
Church- We must be better than this, and I believe this is our call to action.
It has been made clear that the disciples of Christ are not called to turn our backs on refugees, sojourners, or people in need. We are to open our homes and invite them in (Matthew 25:31-24).
If you say you do not feel safe or you feel uncomfortable doing so, it is okay. As a Christian, you were not called to live a safe and comfortable life. You are not fully dependent on God when you are safe and comfortable.
We were called to live an uncomfortable, unsafe life here on this earth, because this world, this country, is not our home. Our comfort and security in this world comes from the knowledge that this is only temporary, and our home is in heaven with God (Philippians 3:20).
Disciples of Christ are commissioned to make disciples of ALL nations. This isn’t about religions; this is about people’s souls.
Innocent men, women, and children are in the crossfire and on the front lines of a brutal civil war. By the end of this, they will have suffered knowing that America, a “Christian nation,” closed their doors, and turned their backs, on them when they needed it the most; or they will have suffered knowing the love of Christ as savior through His Church.
Christians- I am calling us out. We can no longer ignore what is going on in our world, in our nation, and in our own communities. We must be the hands and feet of Jesus- in the most absolute, literal sense.
We have been called to use our lives as living sacrifices; “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 21:28).
The Church can no longer be silent. As Christians, we can no longer live complacent, comfortable, or safe lives.
We must be better. We must do better.
Because, our God is near. Our lives are short. Heaven is coming fast. And people’s souls are at stake. Our call to do something about this is urgent.
I believe in us, Church.
“Now, now, is the time for the Church to be the Church. In the past, the Church may have been defined by what the Church is against — but, in this defining moment in history, may the Church be clearly defined by what it is for — and the Church has always been for the stranger, the sojourner, and the welcoming arms of the Savior. How can we not move heaven and earth to let the broken in – when heaven moved and came to earth to let us in?” – Ann Voskamp
***Excerpt from Sarah Bessey’s post http://sarahbessey.com/
There is more than one-way to get involved, here are a few:
Pray for the people who are oppressed, marginalized, and scared; for the refugee crisis and all countries involved; for your community, your church, our nation, and our world.
Get involved with the refugee crisis:
World Relief: https://www.worldrelief.org/welcome#welcome-refugees
International Committee of the Red Cross: https://www.icrc.org/en/support-us
The UN Refugee Agency: http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/emergencies.html
International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org/
We Welcome Refugees: https://wewelcomerefugees.com/
Find the need within your community.
Be the Bridge is a race reconciliation group that I follow. Their website provides great resources and helpful information on how to get involved with the conversation. https://beabridgebuilder.com/
Partnering with local churches of different denominations to identifying local needs is a great way to start dialogue and build community.
Here is a helpful resource to identifying local needs: https://www.serve.gov/site-page/toolkits/general/one
I wholeheartedly believe it is important for us to be in community with people believe the same things we do, and with people who do not look, sound, or live like us.
[Philippians 2:3-4; 1 John 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21]
If you have any helpful organizations on how to get involved with the refugee crisis, or reconciliation groups you find helpful, please leave them in the comments below.
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