“Nobody believed in us” and “religious persecution” both have honest and true examples in our world. Unfortunately, both have been so heavily watered-down by ridiculously false claims that they’ve lost all meaning and have become cliché. This is an incredibly fragile time for our country and world. Let’s not lose focus of what’s important by clinging to false narratives that only harm our mission of sharing God’s love with the world around us.
But at some point (hopefully sooner than later) it will end. At that point, we’ll be left to pick up the pieces. And there will be a lot of pieces as we discover just how devastating this experience will be for all of us in so many ways – medically, socially, culturally, economically. I pray that as we go through this together (apart, please respect the restrictions for going out as much as you can), we will seriously reconsider some of the deeply rooted aspects of our American personality.
The supposed “Reluctant Trump” voters are the most powerful voters in our country. If they’re not going to express their “reluctance,” they can call themselves whatever they want. The end result is no different from the blind allegiance voters.
Religious freedom means I had every right to pray while attending public school and wear my (painfully) corny shirts while proudly strutting around with my Bible to showcase my extreme holiness (which entirely missed the point of the Gospel, but I digress). It also means Muslim students have an equal right to pray in school, wear hijabs, host Quran study groups and read their holy texts in their quiet times. It means Jewish students can do the same. As can Wiccans, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and all others.
The truth exposes. It places things out in the open. From there, we can respond and move on. The opposite almost always grows into something uncontrollable, as our quest to hide the truth leads to piles of increasingly larger lies piled on top of lies that all threaten to destroy our house of cards and expose our hypocrisy.
In all situations, consider how you would want it to happen if the roles were reversed. That’s what Jesus told us to do. I promise even the slightest consideration of this premise in our daily lives will radically transform our attitudes and actions toward the world around us. It will force us to acknowledge their humanity, their feelings, their pain. And it will force us to acknowledge our role in causing it. Maybe then we’ll actually be able to engage the world the way Jesus did.
Jesus sought these people out. In some cases they came to him, in others they merely cried out to him, and in several he literally pursued them. The savior of the world, God incarnate, went out of his way to affirm the humanity of these people. His empathy for them reflected his knowledge that they bear the image of God. His actions were those of someone pursuing a lost loved one.