Happy Monday, my friends! We continue to turn to Bishop Gene Robinson’s lessons he’s learned in 50 years of ministry. He says, “Number four, paraphrasing 19th-century abolitionist Theodore Parker, Dr. King famously said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ But that progression toward justice is neither linear nor inevitable. So, I would caution, in the quest for justice, there are no innocent observers. You're either working for justice or, by intent or apathy, you are working against it. It is one or the other. You must choose. Please be benders of the arc.”
The author, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” While humans have great capacity for action, they often choose inaction. The story of the good Samaritan demonstrates this clearly. While two other men simply walk by the injured man, the Samaritan picks him up and arranges for his stay and care in a local inn. In the 21st century, expressions of “thoughts and prayers” by people with the power to change the narrative have become a new and insidious way to do nothing.
One of the worst lies we can tell ourselves is that our neutrality, our lack of action is for the best when we can make a difference in the situation. We can intervene in moments of oppression, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and general hate. We can get involved when we see an unsafe situation happening. We can vote our conscience has many Ohioans did last Tuesday. We can write op-eds, protest, call our elected leaders, and work to educate people about what is happening in and to marginalized communities. I imagine many of us are following the conflict happening in Israel and Palestine. I’m sure we each have our opinions of solutions and dreamed outcomes. I hope we all agree that one can mourn the death of civilians, particularly children, without endorsing a particular side or faction. I hope we can agree that being horrified by the actions of Hamas is not blind support of the Israeli government or that responding to the actions of Israel’s government is uncritical support of Hamas. Few, if any of us can solve the problems of Israel and Palestine, but where we do have the power to act is ensuring that people in the United States can continue to utilize their First Amendment rights to demonstrate their opinions and convictions even if we find those opinions shameful.
Where can you act? What patterns of oppression can you disrupt?
Let us pray: God, grant us the grace and good judgement to take sides and to speak up when we have the ability to act. Stir up in us a fire of radical action which acts with radical love and radical hospitality for all people, even those people with whom we disagree. Extend your hand of protection to our siblings in Israel, Palestine, Russia, Ukraine, and wherever the specter of war descends. We ask this all in the name of your son, our redeemer. Amen.
Blessings on your weeks, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
PS. LOVEboldly is conducting our annual End of the Year Giving Campaign during the months of November and December. This is our biggest push each year to bring in the money we need to sustain and grow our mission and ministry. I invite you to check out our giving page (click here), read thoughts from some of our partners, and explore our materials. Then, if you feel so moved, give a bit of your treasure towards our work either in the form of a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation. During November and December, a generous donor has committed to matching each gift, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000, which means your gift’s impact is doubled! Thank you so much for your generosity.