Tuesday, June 12, 2007

the inconvenience of truth

“Perhaps there is something called ‘God’s partner fatigue,’ where we try to ignore God’s calling us to help, because to see is to witness the suffering of others and to experience pain.” _Desmond Tutu

The easiest thing to do about the problems of the world is to ignore them. The more one learns about our suffering world the more overwhelmed one becomes and the less likely one becomes to actually do something about it. There is an eerie silence in our country where there used to be much noise. In the era of the Vietnam war people were very socially aware and they acted on it. When their government lied to them, they protested. When there was a cause for which to march they marched but now what do we hear? Art and music once spoke loud in protest of when their government killed without necessity and now there is very little in our music protesting such things. Where there once was social activism there is now political apathy. Is it because the circumstances changed? Certainly not! Our government lies to us, ignores us (and frankly, they have less to ignore now than they used to), and most defiantly kills. Our government kills in Iraq and they kill through the oppression of the have-not. What’s changed then? Us. We have changed. Perhaps its because we simply don’t care, and this is as likely an answer as any. But perhaps it’s because we’re more aware than ever but we believe that we can do nothing to change the world. Instead of protesting we’re waiting… waiting. Waiting for what? And perhaps protesting isn’t the answer… perhaps you disagree with me. Well, if so, what is the answer and are you a part of it?

A Christian is a partner of God in the mass rescue project we call the Kingdom of God. If we call ourselves Christians we are required to believe that we can change the world. If we believed anything less we wouldn’t be Christians at all. We know this and so what do we do? We hide our heads in the sand. We cover our eyes because if we were to see, if we were to educate ourselves we would have to change our ways and none of us wants to change our ways. So we ignore the opinions of those who may not seem “Christian” enough to us. We ignore the Michael Moore’s, and the Al Gore’s. We ignore the bands like Rage Against the Machine and U2. We ignore any voice that suggests that what we’re doing in Iraq is wrong. We ignore any voice with a prophetic message, a call to social reform, because if they’re right we’d have to change and nobody wants to change. We ignore them because, in the end, we don’t want to do anything about it.

We convince ourselves that “they” are our adversaries. And we base this conviction on distinguishing factors that have nothing to do with their message. Until we stop seeing ourselves as enemies until our us-and-them mentality is extinguished we will remain silent and we will remain in our easy-chairs.

The Kingdom of which we are a part is not one of military might or political coercion. The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of peace and covenantal love. This Kingdom doesn’t need to be defended because the love that holds it together is unchanging. This kingdom is offensive but never oppressive. This kingdom is explosive but never destructive. This kingdom is untamable but never chaotic. We have a reason to hope and, most of all, we have a reason to stand against suffering and injustice.

4 comments:

KJKEB said...

Interesting post. I see all of the social implications of the Gospel. And I agree with them. I don't always live them out, but I agree with them and aspire to them.

Question: Are we really "partners" with God? Does partnership imply any level of equality with God?

simplygrand said...

"waiting on the world to change"

WES ELLIS said...

kjkeb,
Yes, partnership might, in fact, imply equality. What do you think? I don't find it hard to believe that the God who suffered on the cross would choose to put his people by his side in the restorative proces. In the end, it's God's work and we get to be part of it. God could do it all himself, he's God, but he chose to use us... he chose to need us.

I'm not saying we're God. God's the only one who is God. But I am saying that God ha chosen us as his partners.

(Desmond Tutu writes it best in his book "God has a dream" in the chapter "God only has us," you should check it out.)

WES ELLIS said...

I love John Mayer!