Thou Mayest.

This morning I am asking myself the question of where the line is drawn between vocal assent to an idea and a life that portrays true conviction of that idea. I've realized that much of life is held in conversation. Sometimes this "conversation" is had between an individual and Youtube or a book - other times it is had between two individuals. This is how ideas spread, convictions are developed - and theoretically, how change begins. Today however, I am not convinced that this truly impacts the live of the individual and, more broadly, history.

I think back to people like Martin Luther King Jr. and question whether he ever asked these questions. Did he question whether it was okay for him to limit his pursuit of justice to the pulpit and pen? Or was he, from the beginning, yolked to the unquestionable understanding that action was the only logical next step to his ideas? And it's not just MLKJ - it's really anyone whose name we remember.

In a way, I believe that reading and writing is action taken on behalf of a conviction. The desire to learn is motivated by the understanding that ideas require action - and reading and writing are actions. But at what point is reading and writing no longer enough? And how does one make the leap from paper and ink to dislocation and physical interaction?

One of the easiest examples of this idea is homelessness. Homelessness has been an issue from the beginning of time (almost) and has been part of (almost) every society. Being human requires us to see this as an issue and to (hopefully) have a desire to help those displaced. For most people, this is fleshed out in a very mediocre agreement that it's a shame that homelessness exists - and an underlying understanding that if the church decides to give money to help, we will agree that this is acceptable and good. But for an extremely small group does this go further.

If the homeless don't weigh on your heart, maybe orphans or abused women or refugees carry greater weight. Either way - for each of us I believe that there is some (or many) issue(s) that when placed before us, elicit feelings that we should be involved in improving the situation. But so often our experience ends with this feeling. This isn't necessarily because we are heartless - it often has more to do with either lack of focus, or lack of direction. How would we make a difference? What could I give my time or my money to that would actually improve this situation in a way universally acceptable?

The journey from verbal agreement and physical action is rarely taken - and because of this it has become very easy to disengage from the ethical pressure to act. We have a society and, even more importantly, a church, that at the most zoomed in level has become careless. Not careless with ourselves - but careless with others. Our own issues have become so large that those of others can't fit.

So what do we do?

I propose that we identify the greatest needs in our immediate society - family, then neighborhood, city then county, state, then country. Once identified, we take ownership of the specific need that stands out to us personally. Next, we rally others to join us and begin relentlessly searching for how both actions and words can help improve the situation. If any aspect of this is left out, change won't happen, history will remain the same, we will remain isolated and internally focused.

The Kingdom of God is characterized by compassion, love, and sacrifice. We may not be able to totally eradicate depression, loneliness, disease and poverty - but we can flood each realm with faith, hope, and love. I'm convinced that if we spend our lives pursuing this, we will in no way be regretful at the end. I encourage you to join me in this, hold me accountable to this, and help me learn how best to do this.

Grace and Peace.

Comments

  1. Hey Friends,

    Just a quick update for you - I took the first step started a pen-pal relationship with an inmate through the "Write a Prisoner" program. This is a super easy, practical way to serve. Please join me by following the link below. Let me know if you have any questions!

    http://www.writeaprisoner.com/

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  2. Recently I came across a quote that plays on the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46.
    "I was hungry and you formed a humanities club and discussed my hunger.
    I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed over my release.
    I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
    I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
    I was homeless and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
    I was lonely and you left me alone to go a pray for me.
    You seem so holy, so close to God.
    But I'm still very hungry and lonely and cold."

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