I find myself avoiding the news lately. I get tired of hearing of the violence, division, hatred, and injustice that seem to fill the screen.
In contrast, my eight year old son, Reilly, loves to watch the news and see what is happening in the world – both good and bad. When he does see/hear of some of the awful things happening in our world, he often says things like, “Daddy, don’t they know that’s not right?” Or, “Why don’t people love other people? Don’t they know that God loves them?” Often, “We should do something and tell them about Jesus.”
He’s right. God does love them. People do need Jesus. And, we should do something.
Scott Ridout, the president of Converge and Dr. Harold Lewis, Converge’s VP of Biblical Diversity recently shared from Micah about what our response should be to last week’s synagogue shooting and other violence in the news. Below is a short excerpt from a recent blog post.
Last week’s news was filled with injustice. Saturday’s massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Pittsburgh area left 11 dead and many more wounded. On Friday, it was announced that the suspected pipe-bomber who sent packages to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN, and other political and thought leaders was arrested. On Wednesday, a man tried to break into a predominantly black church in Kentucky. When he was unsuccessful, he drove to the local Kroger and killed two African-Americans based solely on the color of their skin.
These stories, though seemingly completely disconnected, are not. All were driven by hate and fear fueled by the ever-increasing divisions we see in our country around race, ethnicity, culture, politics, pride and fear. Divisive rifts are growing in our country as more and more people self-identify around what they are against and ignore the commonalities that could draw us together.
Social media is fast becoming a bastion of hate, emboldening negative talk under the banner of free speech and self-expression. With polls soon to be open, political campaigns seem to have reached a new low in the all-out strategy of character assassination of opponents. There seems to be little or no conversation about the issues of everyday life. The media has also done its part, adding to the feeding frenzy with perhaps less-than-fully objective angles on stories that our itching ears want to hear (2 Tm. 4:3).
While general agreement about such events being evil is common, meaningful action in response to such things is rare. “General agreement” is often the enemy of true change. General agreement is the idea that we all agree that something should be done or could be done. But we do nothing because just agreeing seems to satisfy our souls.
Divisive leadership will always result in divided culture. Words are worthless to address mortal wounds. Moments of silence will not muffle the screams of those who lost loved ones. Flags at half-mast will not change half-hearted efforts. Political elections are not the answer for personal character flaws. Committees can’t heal our country of this cancer…only Christ can. This present time calls for action from the church.
We must lead the way. While I agree that it would be wise for all of us to look at our church security protocols, I pray for a more robust response from the church that goes beyond taking care of ourselves. We must respond to our communities.
Last month Dr. Harold Lewis joined our team as the Vice President of Biblical Diversity. Our hope is that we can work together to find solutions that empower our local churches to lead the way in tangible, gospel-centered, God-honoring responses that result in changed hearts and impacted communities.
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