Today I sit in my dorm at Trinity College, while attending Pentecost 2008, sponsored by Sojourners. The building is old, the air barely works, and its been a hot, exhausting day. Its a little weird being across the country, not knowing a soul.
But its been a wonderful, challenging, overwhelming, stressful, infuriating, depressing, exciting, frustrating yet joyful day. A life changing day. Well, maybe not life changing so much as just pivotal...the culmination of years of transition and change. I'm physically exhausted but my mind is spinning, racing at the speed of light. It's time for a change. Today is the day, this year is the year. I feel like I'm in an era not unlike that of Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr's day. An awakening, an awareness, an urgency to take action. As I stood today amidst Pentecostals, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans and many others..all committed to bringing God's kingdom here on Earth ( as it is in heaven)...I felt like I was home.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all people who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
- Proverbs 31:8-9
On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will only be an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
- MLK, Jr
don't dominate, serve
don't get revenge, reconcile
don't scapegoat, embrace
don't isolate, draw near, heal
- brian mclaren
My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man.
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood.
It's to a king and a kingdom.
- Derek Webb
It is unacceptable that 30 thousand children die of preventable causes every. single. day. day. after.day. It is unacceptable that we have a society and a church that distances itself so far from poverty that its not even on the radar screen of most. It's unacceptable to throw money at a cause, get some warm fuzzies and pat oneself on the back. This will never cause transformation. It only serves to placate the conscience of the person who doesn't want to actually interact, work with and most importantly, work alongisde, the people in need.
To our most bitter opponents we say: " Throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our houses and threaten our children and we will still love you. Beat us and leave us half dead, and we will still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in that process, and our victory will be a double victory."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Peace, patience, compassion. Jesus said He desires mercy, not sacrifice. Love is a verb;one cannot have faith without action, and vice versa. One without the other is always false. Asking God to bless me and my family while ignoring the gross injustices that my brothers and sisters face is a faith that is hypocritical, shallow and irrelevant.
I'm so thankful to be here this weekend, and am well aware the very fact of me making this journey indicates that I have the privilege of choice. So many do not have the privilege to choose what to eat, where to live, what to do. I don't know ultimately what this will look like for me but I know I cannot go back and keep on as I have. I just can't believe what a comfortable, complacent existence I've had thus far in life. Maybe I've always known it but didn't want to admit it to myself for fear of actually having to do something about it. I like my car. I like my stuff. But do I love it more than human life? More than Christ's two commandments- love God, and love others? I want to be in a place where I'm willing to let God take me where He wants me.
Ive so much to learn, so much to figure out...but one thing I know. The time is now. Because, if not now.....when?