Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Counterculture


I am breaking a couple of my self-imposed rules of blogging today.

Rule One: Never ever post about politics or current events. Save that for your personal facebook page. 

Rule Two: Limit the religious talk. Brief mentions of God or Jesus or maybe even a religious book review is fine. Surface level stuff only and keep it infrequent. 

I imposed these rules in order to avoid the inevitable arguments that would/could come. However, I feel compelled to not only write this post but to share it. I have given fair warning what this post will contain so if you want to skip over it, feel free. Ok so now that my disclaimer is out of the way...

Saturday night I sat on my computer continuously refreshing the South Carolina State Election Commission website watching the Republican primary results roll in. I naively thought that maybe just maybe Donald Trump would not win this one. Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. Sadly, I watched the votes roll in and Trump's percentage increase. By the time I went to bed Donald Trump had been declared the winner and I felt defeated.

Sunday morning rolled around and when I had a minute to myself I sat to double-check that the night before had not just been a bad dream. I crossed my fingers and hoped that maybe Donald Trump didn't actually win... he did. The feeling of defeat washed over me again. Why even bother trying to change people? Why bother hoping and praying for peace? Americans are repeatedly showing that they prefer hate, division, and fear-mongering. To say I had a poor and pessimistic attitude would be an understatement.

I went to church Sunday on my own. Landry wasn't feeling 100% and Daniel told me to go ahead and he would stay home with her despite my protests. I tell you this because I truly believe God knew I needed to here the words that would be spoken from the guest pastor that day. He knew I needed a major attitude adjustment and it wasn't going to happen by my own accord.

The gospel for this particular Sunday was Luke 13:31-35.

Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"  

Upon hearing the passage read during service I wasn't really blown away. Obviously people wanted Jesus dead. And the whole part about Jerusalem? Oh ok. Honestly, I hoped she would focus on another one of the readings from the service. They seemed to be a little bit juicier, not so factual and just a recount of an interaction. But as always God's word has more to it that we might realize.

Naturally, our guest pastor's sermon focused on Luke 13:31-35 but I was really intrigued by her different take on the passage. She focused on Jerusalem and it being a city at a crossroad. Jesus condemns Jerusalem as a city that kills prophets but in the next breath shows his hope and compassion for the city. The pastor used that passage to draw parallels with America (and ultimately the world) and it's current state.

"Politics is simply the symptom of a larger problem in our country" she exclaimed. She spoke of peace, love, and understanding. More so, she reminded us that those virtues and qualities are the ones that Jesus demonstrated and have always been counter-cultural. Respecting one another's truths, valuing each person as a child of God, that is not the cultural norm. Our world is at a crossroads, one in which we can continue down this path of hate and civil discord or we can finally embrace the message of Jesus.

In the moment I was moved to tears.  My heart broke for those who are continuously discriminated against. My heart broke for those listening to the hate-filled words coming from Christians. 

And then I felt convicted. No I'm not Donald Trump up on a stage calling for a nationwide ban on Muslims. No I'm not a cop who has targeted minorities. I am not a church stating homosexuals are unwelcome. But I am a person who has not loved their neighbor as themselves. I have remained quiet in the face of injustices. I have driven by a man who is homeless on the side of the street and diverted my eyes. 

Jesus calls us to live differently. Not just a little, not just what is comfortable for us, but radically different... counter cultural. We can no longer sit idlely by and watch individuals and communities not be seen and heard. We must fight for love, peace and justice. So the next time your backwards grandpa makes a racist remake, your co-worker makes a sexist joke, or you just simply see someone in need, do something. The Donald Trumps of the world, the politicians of this world, will not change until the majority of our society changes. And our society will not change unless as as individuals start doing the work. 

Go forth today and "Depart from evil, do good; seek peace, and pursue it." Psalm 34:14

2 comments:

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