All Up in God’s Business
This week, the pastor of the church I’ve been attending preached about how we, as the church in 2014, need to be conscious about not limiting God’s work to the stories in scripture. We need to be about God’s business now. We need to be concerned with the world we are in, paying attention to how God can use us to care for people outside our walls. It wasn’t exactly something that felt earth shattering. It shouldn’t be earth shattering.
It’s a challenge to be about God’s work this week. Not that it isn’t a challenge every week, but… this week, I’m grasping at very thin ropes to be civil about the outrage I feel.
I cannot think about the Ferguson decision, the Garner decision, and others like it without being utterly beside myself with outrage. If you think race isn’t a factor in law enforcement, you’re wrong. If you think that racism isn’t heavily institutionalized in the US, you’re entirely and completely wrong.
Some of my childhood and college years were spent in Michigan, and I have a lot of friends still there. Friends who identify across the spectrum of sexual orientation, and so when I hear that the state house passed a law exempting emergency responders from having to help LGBTQ people, it’s not just that it’s a totally BS, asinine bill to begin with, but now, there is the potential (if it makes it into law) that my friends could die because an emergency responder doesn’t approve of their sexual orientations. How am I not supposed to be outraged at that?!?
This week, I’m nearly cross-eyed with my inability to talk about these things as a civil member of society, because I just cannot believe that this week, we have to question whether or not it’s wrong for a cop to kill someone who isn’t trying to kill them. Or that we should have to debate whether professional helpers have to help people (if you’re fuzzy on this one, revisit the parable about the Good Samaritan).
My education has gotten in the way this week. Having a degree in sociological meta-analysis means I have done a boatload of research on a lot of things, but I particularly looked at racial/ethnic issues and gender studies (which includes issues of sexuality). It means that at least in an academic sense, I know what I’m talking about. I see the issues differently than most people. Then, add in my religious education and I am dumbfounded that people – Christians! – cannot recognize God’s image in someone who doesn’t look like them, that they do not share my outrage.
It is so tempting to just not talk about it, to not get into it with people. To be plenty overwhelmed with my own problems and say that I’ll deal with these issues another day. But I have to deal with them today, because that is the business of God today. I am supposed to be outraged about the injustice that is being done, because injustice is incompatible with God’s business.
It was pointed out to me in a blog earlier today that Christ came not at a time when everything was perfect, but when the world was desolate, desperate, and a total train wreck. Kind of like now. Christ showed up and was all about the business of God in a world that was one ugly mess. As Pastor Ivan reminds us every week, God is still showing up in the midst of these circumstances, and I have a choice: to be about the business of God or to skip it.
I think it’s better to take the challenge and pray for wisdom and tact.
Posted on December 9, 2014, in Church, Grief, Ministry and tagged Advent, church, Compassion, Eric Garner, Fatigue, Ferguson, God, Justice, LGBTQ, Mission, Race, Racism, UCC. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.