If you’ve read much on my blog at all, you’ve probably noticed I’m a promoter of peace. I encourage people to look at all sides of an issue and strive for healthy dialogue. You’ll see on my “About This Blog” page, that one of my goals from the start was to bring people “to the table” and let their voices be heard. Among the six goals I list for the blog is the following:
Conversation – I believe the best solutions come when we do life in community. Whether we’re looking for answers to global problems, theological debates, or just day-to-day conundrums, we’ll take a look at varying opinions and develop an ear to really listen and hear what others think and feel about the issues at hand. Open-mindedness and civility will be part of our core values, but that doesn’t mean we’ll tip-toe around the issues.
Tonight I’m wondering why I’VE been tip-toeing around the issues that are very important to me. Why am I not really letting MY voice be heard?
I can come up with several answers that sound good on the surface. For instance, I’ve kind of prided myself on the fact that as much as I’ve written on the topic of Ferguson/Mike Brown (nine posts), I’ve not tipped my hand to let people know where I stand on the particulars of the situation. In this case, I’ve viewed myself more as the moderator than the debater. But I do have some definite opinions on the matter (get ready, they’re coming below).
Then there’s the issue of gender equality. As a woman pastor, I have experienced much opposition, discrimination and even hateful behavior in my life. And yet, I have only one post in the category of gender issues here. For that, I really have no excuses.
After writing those last two paragraphs, it seems obvious to me why my blog has not accomplished the goal of creating the dialogue I had hoped. How can I expect others to be comfortable expressing their opinions if I’m not comfortable expressing my own? So, with no more ado, here’s my list of controversial things I’ve wanted to say on my blog but haven’t. It’s a partial list, but it’s a start.
1. “Stop snitching” is no different than cops covering for cops. If you hate one you have to hate the other. If you oppose one, you have to oppose the other. If you protest against one, you have to protest against the other. They are the same thing. Both hide the truth. Both give preference to the perpetrator over the victim. Both hinder justice.
2. I am sick of the hate mongering of racists and sexists, especially from those who profess to be Christians. You might be a racist or a sexist if …
- The only social media posts you make are about how despicable the “other side” is. Can you seriously not see one valid point your “opposition” is making?
- You post ugly stories about the other gender or another race to justify the ugly stories you see about your own. You don’t post these stories to show how sad the situation is, or to foster discussion with the opposition. You do it to stir up your side in anger. You do it solely to prove this is why your side is “provoked” into doing the ugly things it’s doing.
- Your side has done absolutely nothing wrong, ever.
3. Wal-Mart is not the same as Woolworth. The sit-ins at the Woolworth stores in the 60s made sense. Woolworth had a policy of denying blacks the right to sit and eat at their lunch counters. The sit-ins there showed courage and took action against the actual perpetrator of the injustice. It is not the same with Wal-Mart and the shooting of John Crawford. Wal-Mart just happened to be the location where a terrible tragedy occurred. If you want to stage a protest that actually convinces the other side to hear you out, do it in a location and a manner that makes sense. Shutting down a business that was an “innocent bystander,” and creating loss of income for the employees, only furthers the annimosity of those who are prone to turn a deaf ear to you in the first place.
4. To completely throw your support behind Officer Darren Wilson before all the facts are known is just as incredulous as throwing all your support behind Mike Brown before all the facts are known. Yet, again, both sides see the injustice on the one side, but not on their own. I am flabbergasted.
5. I will not have my “role” in the church, society or home defined by the curse found in Genesis 3. I do not understand how the ONLY result of the curse which is defined as “God’s creative order” or “original plan” is the one line that says man shall rule over woman. In every other aspect of the curse – the serpent will now crawl on its belly, woman will have pain in childbirth, man will have to struggle with the earth to get his food – no one will say those things are God’s original plan or desire. They are all seen as the results of sin and the fallen state. Yet, man’s rule over woman is not? I understand that a full theology of the roles of men and women must encompass the whole of Scripture, but how can we even move on to further discussion if the foundational premise is this flawed?
I was wondering how I was going to conclude this seemingly hodgepodge list post, but as I wrote that last sentence the connection of all the points became clear to me. The basic issue behind all of these controversies is the inability, or unwillingness, of one side to concede ANY point to the other. Likewise, there is a failure to recognize ANY common ground.
One place of commonality for those active in the causes of both gender issues and racial equality is supposedly a call for justice. So, let’s start by talking about justice itself – with open minds and open hearts – with a true desire to have justice for ALL. It might start by asking questions like the following and really listening to the perspective of the other. Where do you feel like I have been unjust? Do I come across as saying justice for me is more important than justice for you? How can we work together more effectively for the cause of justice? What will a just society really look like?
And more specifically in the realm of Christian dialogue on these matters, our common framework is supposed to be the love of Christ. So, the questions to start with might be … How do you feel I have been unloving towards you in this debate? Is our approach to this issue showing Christ’s love towards each other and to the world?
Now that I’ve overcome my hesitations and thrown all this out there in the blogosphere, I’m sure I’ll have some follow-up posts. I hope you will join me at the table today and in the days to come.