I was speechless because I couldn’t think of an appropriate follow-up question. “How did that make you feel?” didn’t quite seem adequate. Duh–how did I think it made her feel?
There are some days when it seems like we have come so far as a society. And then there are days when you realize that we still have a long way to go. As long as our children are facing threats of violence because of the color of their skin, we still have work to do to fight discrimination and hate.
Day two of our weekend retreat was spent considering issues of hate in its many forms and our responses and the response of the church. John 4 brings us the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and a Savior who was willing to break down racial lines and invite her to not only give him a drink of water, but to become a bearer of the Good News. Jesus was a game changer, and Jesus calls us to do the same.
“If we don’t stop discrimination, who will?” one girl asked. “If we don’t help people who are hurt, who will help us when we are hurt?”
Good logic, there.
First They came… – Pastor Martin Niemoller
First they came for the communists
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
“Why don’t we speak up when we see someone being hurt or picked on?” my minister friend David asked the students.
“Because we don’t want to be picked on and as long as ‘they’ are picking on someone else, we’re safe.”
“Because it’s easier to join in with the person who has the power than with the person who has power being taken away.”
Centuries and millennia of racism, injustice, discrimination and bigotry summed up by smart students. We don’t speak up because we are afraid of being the powerless victim.
We’ve come so far, we still have so far to go. Maybe the church becoming will take us farther up the road.
**Isn’t that art display cool? It’s part of the “Everyday People” exhibit now showing in the gallery at Audubon Park in Henderson, KY.