Peace Does not Mean Silence

I believe that we all have seen a peer or ten speaking against protests and marches because “Christians should walk in love. God made everyone of us. We are all one race…the Christian race. We need to pray! This is not the answer! #prayerlivesmatter” Okay, no one has ever said prayer lives matter that I know of but you get my gist.  I’m going to delve into why I think this is some bull (in my Bernie Mac voice).  So strap in and prepare yourself for a good ole fashion…interweb post…..

We had revival at church these past couple of days and at one point our pastor mentioned Malcolm X. As we all know Malcolm X was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement and was far from silent in the face of adversity.  The pastor really wanted to point out that Malcolm X had such an impact on the black community that many members of the Christian faith began to convert and become Muslims, just as Malcolm X was.  It was then that I had an epiphany. I needed that epiphany because, for one, I was exhausted from work and struggling to stay awake but mostly because it gave me an idea on what to write about tonight.  The reason that a great deal of black people have an issue with Christianity is because present day Christians want to remain silent at a time that demands that we speak out.

When your old childhood friend whom you haven’t seen since fanny packs were in style gets on your social media post crying out for peace and prayer you just want to blow the keys off the keyboard, don’t you? No? That’s just me? Oh….Just use your imagination and hang in here with me then.  I wonder how many of them are truly praying about police brutality, the coming elections, or black on black crime (as that always comes up when a black person dies at the hand of a police officer).  Is simply asking for prayer seen as the easy way out of addressing a social issue?  Is this an attempt to muzzle black Christians instead of hearing what we are saying? Old school Christians get so up in arms about the lack of prayer in schools.  This is because they feel that the inclusion of God is vital to the spiritual health of small children and also the general health of the school system/society.  If they can pinpoint the need of God in society through school, why is it difficult for them to admit that the Christian voice is needed in society through addressing social issues?  No, I’m not talking about going from door to door with the questions, “Do you know the Lord as your savior?” Not to downplay the act of going out into the neighborhood, but our communities need more than that.  It is going to be nearly impossible to get a person to go to church when they are still hungry, poor, desolate, afraid, etc and the only thing the church is doing is…handing them a pamphlet that won’t pay a bill or put food on the table.  Of course, we acknowledge that we are unable to help everyone and our main focus is helping to save someone so I understand this as well. But as the church’s presence in the community grows through assistance, their impact will as well.  When the disciples came to Jesus because he had been preaching and the people had not eaten he didn’t say, “Oh well, I gave them the bread of life. So ya know….sorry….” No. He asked what they had to give and fed the people.  I know when people show up to my home and stay for God knows how long, I sometimes don’t want to give them a cracker out of the cupboard. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I just want some solitude and space. Well luckily Jesus isn’t me or there would be a whole other miracle in the bible. “Jesus walks on air. Disappears from the midst of crowd of 5000.” When the need was presented to Jesus he ADDRESSED it. It really wasn’t even his problem to have to deal with, but he did not see it that way.

Another instance of Jesus being active was when he flipped the tables in the temple and started whipping folks. Well, it doesn’t say he whipped anyone…We all know that story. It’s the one we use when we start retaliating against someone. “Well Jesus flipped tables!!!” Yes yes, I too have used it.  And I’m using it now.  Turn in your bibles to John 2:15 as well as Matthew 21:12.  The bible clearly states that Jesus took action when the temple was being turned into “a den of robbers.”  He could have said, “well Peter, Paul, Pablo and the Pips, let’s go out here and pray about this.”   Jesus understood that what was happening in the holy House of the Lord was not right and he immediately stepped in.  Now, I’m not advocating that we around making whips and flipping tables. But I am saying that Christianity is not a religion of silence.  We are to pray for those around us, especially our enemies. We are to walk in the God kind of love (see post from yesterday). And we are to seek guidance and direction from God as to how to act. But we do not use prayer as a means of inaction.  And we do not use God as a manner of lulling anyone into inaction.  The bible says that we can be angry but sin not. When I get irritated at the things I see and read, I’ve learned to not react immediately.  I do my absolute best to calmly reply.  But I do indeed reply.  Yesterday an old classmate, who happens to be white, got on Facebook bashing the BLM movement and raging about race wars, we all bleed red, and so on and so forth.  I hate to admit it but I really wanted to get on there and drag her clear to the moon and back.  I wanted to school her so good that she was going to be Valedictorian of Amber P Johnson Highschool.  But I took fifteen minutes of deep breathing and Rae Sremmurd THEN I proceeded to tell her that she was WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG, delicately of course. I have no shame in speaking out because I know what’s right; I also know that my voice isn’t the most influential but it still contributes to the efforts of making things better for my community.

Now, I was raised in a Christian home, but my mother and I do not always see eye to eye in our approach. My mom is a “no psychology can save the world. No sociology. We aren’t statistics. We are more than conquerors! We aren’t less likely to get a job because we are black! We don’t acknowledge that” type of woman. That’s not me.  I believe that Psychology, Sociology, politics, and the like have a place in this world. I believe that more Christians are needed in these areas to make a difference. I don’t think that Psychology is anti-God.  God made psychologists. We have to realize that the whole world is not Christian. The whole of the black community is not Christian.  So while we profess positive confession, it is still true that a black man is less likely to get a job than a white man.  This is still a fact.  We must step up and step in so that we make the world better for those who are not Christians.  They could be Christians and just not be spiritually mature.  It is still our goal to improve life for them because that’s what we are supposed to do.  Separation from social problems is not beneficial to society or the Church.  It’s just not gonna work.  The more the church remains silent, the more people will dislike the Church.  “Well I speak about God and the bible only!” And where will that get you?  We still are in this world, we are just asked to not be OF it. Working to improve the Earth is not being of the Earth. It’s letting your light shine in this world. We are called the salt of the Earth. The bible even asks what good is salt that has lost it’s flavor? We’re some flavorless salt these days….We’re…..low sodium….and you know as well as I do that low sodium salt is the devil’s work….There’s too much emphasis on sounding and feeling “religious.”  God is restricted to the four walls of the sanctuary when he is needed out here on the streets. If you keep the spirit of God, in the form of you, away from the protests, away from city hall, away from the marches, away from a quick internet post on the ills of society, how will the world know him?  True, not every event is for EVERYONE.  You have to know when and where to step in. But you have to also know that you’ve got a responsibility to step in and call wrong wrong and right right.  Don’t use the pulpit to silence those who speak out. Use the pulpit to make sure that what they are saying isn’t off the deep end. If you want to pray then pray. We need prayer. But we also need action that follows prayer.

Another point is that historically Christianity has been used solely to control and manipulate people of color.  Back in the day, preachers were using bible verses out of context to sway slaves into believing that slavery was okay.  Since many slaves could not read they didn’t know the whole of what the bible was saying. They could only go by what white pastors were telling them. I’m not going to link the verses because then I’d have to find them. I just know they are in the letters written by Paul.  In the same way today many ill mannered and false “Christians” are using the bible to justify police brutality, racial injustice, and sexism. They are also using the Christian platform to beat you over the head whenever you speak out. “Down boy! Down! Sit…Sit!” *swats you with KJV leather edition bible*

Malcolm X didn’t steal church members. He awoke in them the need to change this world.  He gave them a mic when others ask that they be silent.  Silence is not always equated to peace. Down here in Tornado Alley we go through seasons of dangerous weather.  When a storm is going on there may come a time where it suddenly gets quiet.  This has been proved to sometimes be deadly because there is often a break in weather right before a tornado hits.  This silence that is happening is not guaranteed to be peaceful.  This could be the silence before the funnel forms and touches the ground.

Anywho, I hope to not step on any toes. But deep down I want to step on toes. I want to make people uncomfortable and question their actions. I want to spark discussion.  I don’t want to go into all out bible wars, but I do invite conversation.  This is my opinion and opinions are subject to change. It doesn’t mean that I’m right even if I feel that I am…well, right. So, that’s about it for tonight.

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