Embrace Your Conviction.

My Brother's Keeper, print by artist Watson Mere

My Brother's Keeper, print by artist Watson Mere

Not long after being called to my current church, I remember talking with the senior pastor about the state of the world.

“Crazy times,” I said.

“All times are crazy,” he said back.

Amen to that.

Last week the President of the United States allegedly made derogatory remarks towards African countries as well the nation of Haiti. Both political parties are running to defend their respected positions. Some saying this was taken out of context, some saying this was a blatant act of racism and bigotry. The President himself even chimed in denying the entire incident.

I don’t know who to believe but, like one of my seminary professors said recently, someone is lying.

It was that same seminary professor who posted on social media earlier this week that he would be reaching out to local North Carolina elected officials urging them to make a public statement denouncing the President’s remarks...whether they happened or not.   

As an ordained clergy and a person of faith, I’ve often felt I’ve existed outside of the political spectrum. I loathe politics for the same reason I believe most do; I see corruption and lack of transparency. I often feel detached with the governing body of these United States because it seems so convoluted. I simply don’t know who or what to believe. All of this has produced in me a sense of disenfranchisement and an attitude of extreme apathy. If the church and state are to be separated, then I know what camp I’m sitting up with. Hard not to see now why my fascination with Anabaptist has been on the rise.

Like many, I saw the irony in the delivery of these horrendous comments coming just days before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday (not to mention the lectionary reading from this past Sunday). I’ve taken in all this divine providence during the past few days, watching voices rise up from all over. Opinions of the masses! Some directly calling for a public apology from the President and others admitting to all who would listen that it didn’t matter if the President said it or not…these countries were “shitholes” and were a burden on themselves and for those nations that administered aid to them.

My plan was to tune all this out. Call it apathy, privilege, or frustration. I would rather operate from my own position and concentrate on the relationships within my community where I feel change and understanding have a better chance of taking root. I don’t know if it was my professor’s post or the reminder of MLK’s work and sacrifice, but I found myself not wanting to let this one go. For the first time, I’ve decided to engage my local politicians. King in his essence was a Baptist preacher, a position requires a dissenting responsibility, who called on those proclaiming faith to disobey unjust laws. I was reminded that I don’t get to hide behind the pulpit and under my stole. I am to speak prophetically not only in the church and to the church, but when necessary on the public stage in a manner which speaks up against injustice and exploitation to systems of power that look to take advantage of those suffering; be they in the inner cities, the mountains of the Appalachia, or on the devastated country of Haiti. In the United States we claim all are created equal (well men anyway, smh) but in the Kingdom of God, all are made in the imago dei.

So, I’m reaching out with whatever influence I have to those who claim representation here in NC. I figure I’ll start there and see what happens. My professor has dedicated himself to calling these representatives every day. I, a product of the times, am taking to Twitter to encourage these same individuals to denounce the alleged statements by the Trump administration, and to emphatically make clear that we as a nation do not view other people (for that is what nations are made of, people) as excremental waste.

Let King’s words push us all to act,

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Allow your conviction to be your platform. Stand on one, use the other, and get to it.