(I’m breaking my “one-post-per-day” routine to comment on this breaking story out of Charleston, SC. It is a terrible situation that I wish I didn’t need to address; but this is the kind of story we ignore at our peril.)
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. – Colossians 3:10-11
This is a story about an act of terror against the witness of love…
EVIL: I can’t let this day go by without taking the time to share a few thoughts regarding Wednesday’s horrible, hateful, brutal massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
First, my deepest sympathy and condolences go out to the victims, to their families and friends, and to the community of Charleston in South Carolina. Then I have to say that this is one of those crimes where – in a sense – all of us who value human freedom and the liberty to practice personal faith are to be counted among the victims. Because this was an act of terror against the witness of love.
LOVE IS OUR WATCHWORD: What I mean is that – irrespective of our thoughts vis-a-vis race, religion, guns, mental illness, social justice, or anything that might possibly skew our perspective – evil is always profoundly threatened and intimidated by love-in-action; love is the only response with the muscle to make the kind of difference that counts, and love must be our watchword.
At the same time, evil delights at pitting good people against one-another – especially in a religious climate where the most recognizable thing the world understands about faith is our judgment, our arguing, our disdain, our condemnation, and our exclusion.
This is why I believe our conversation around this event must stay away from the knee-jerk reaction of black versus white. This is a story about an act of terror against the witness of love, and the best response – the response that will make the power of evil reel – is for us to embrace one another and to demonstrate to the world that, “in this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us; Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).
The more we define our faith-communities in terms of who we exclude – be they black, hispanic, immigrant, gay, poor, physically or mentally challenged, etc. – the more credibility we give the purposes of evil.
We are all overwhelmed with sadness regarding what happened Wednesday evening in Charleston; now let’s see if we will move forward as purposeful children of the living God, following his Son, and serving the cause of love.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives” (Colossians 3:16). – DEREK