Wake up and be ready to take a stand

san bernadino In the wake of the confirmation that the shootings of 14 innocent victims in San Bernardino, CA were by  Islamic terrorists, I am deeply disturbed by additional news that a neighbor of the killers refused to report the pair to authorities after witnessing suspicious activity at their apartment over fears she would be labeled “racist.” I believe this shows how some have lost their courage to stand up to what’s wrong despite the possibility they may “look bad” or be labeled a bigot, how being politically correct may have now taken precedence over fighting evil – which, in this instance had deadly consequences. The Nazis were able to gain momentum and kill millions when people looked the other way. Bullies get away with vicious acts when kids worry about being cool instead of stepping in. Women and children become murder victims when domestic violence and child abuse go unreported. I have to admit I’ve never been tested in this regard…but I pray that if or when I am, I have the courage to speak up or take action even though it requires the risk that I might be ridiculed or looked down upon – instead of playing it safe or worrying what others may think. As the famous quote from Edmund Burke goes, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I also believe it is time we wake up to the world around us and be ready to take a stand. As Paul tells the Thessalonians, “…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly…and they will not escape…But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief…So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober…putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (1 Thes 5:1-8) Each of the Gospel writers warn us to stay awake, to be ready for the time when we are called to choose  to do the right thing, to act on behalf of our faith, to take a stand. Calling all faith warriors!

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One response to “Wake up and be ready to take a stand

  1. I was listening to NPR (or maybe it was BBC) a few years ago, and they featured a guy who wrote a novel about North Korea. In the course of the interview, the writer revealed that he was compelled to write about NK after he found out that NK had the world’s most dangerous airline. And it wasn’t the mechanical malfunctions that made it so dangerous; it was the unwillingness to communicate when problems arose. He found out that if the co-pilot were to see a warning light on the instrument panel, he could not bring himself to tell the pilot.

    No doubt North Korea is an extreme example based largely on the kind of culture there that absorbs individuality into the body politic. But you are noting a manifestation of the same phenom in our culture.

    All cultures are involved in “telling a story” of the world. And in our culture, to cry foul on someone based on race is to go off the script. And it is considered so egregious that even the scent of it is troubling. And so, like a co-pilot on NK Airlines, we watch a warning light blink as the plane stalls and crashes to the ground when it would have been so easy to make proper adjustments if only we had spoke up.

    Personally, I think this has deeper implications than just calling out a potential jihadist. After all, that is how witch hunts get cooking. But as long as the phenom is exposed for the moment, I would point out that we Christians are living out a story our larger culture is not telling. We see warning lights that the culture does not want to hear about all the time. There is a price to pay for speaking up; there is a price to pay for keeping silent. But in the end, there can only be one story of God’s creation. And the question at that level is: Which one are we telling?

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