Vocal Paralysis

This post is different. I want you to know that up front. It’s different.

For starters I’m writing it at about 30,000 feet in the air somewhere between Charlotte and Baltimore. Secondly this is a conversation that is by necessity – and this is not an excuse for you to stop reading – political. And if we are actually going to talk about echoing heaven on earth, at some point we have to deal with the political implications of such a creed. Let me clear…that does not mean we vote straight ticket for either party. This does not mean we confuse the “moral majority” with the Gospel. Nor do we equate all all things social justice with Jesus. It’s means we stop using our faith as a crutch for our political leanings and instead allow the Gospel to infiltrate and transform our politics….rant over and I’ll step off the soap box.

I’m writing this in route, on my second trip to Washington, DC to discuss comprehensive immigration reform with various denominational leaders and Congress people. This is a trip I never imagined and a discussion I never thought myself engaging…especially from this perspective. I stand in favor of comprehensive reform that entails a clear pathway for those living in our country without documentation, the reunification of families, and the protection of worker’s rights.

I understand the issues are complex. But I also understand the system is broken and people are being broken in the process. Every time I see news coverage some talking head is making broad sweeping, grossly negligent generalizations about people. In this discussion people have been replaced by labels and stereotypes, statistics and generalizations. If memory serves me correctly, wasn’t Jesus in the business of making sure a person was not defined by societies labels, especially as those labels came from the mouths of religious leaders?

What is our role as a church or as individual believers in this conversation? I mean that and I hope you will respond and answer and pass this along. If the church stands in a line of people who were told to remember the times when they were the immigrants, then how should be respond? I once heard a congressional staffer say their representative had a strong faith….but he also loved the law so he wasn’t sure where that might take him. I’ve heard church people say we need to keep politics and religion separate to keep the peace. Conversations like that make me realize why Jesus overturned tables…

N.T Wright said one of the churches great privileges was to help culture articulate injustice when we see it. Because once we can articulate it…then we can pray about it….then we can mobilize around it…and God willing with enough courage one say we might act. Have we lost our vocal chords or have we just chosen to systematically stop using them when it gets uncomfortable or complex?

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