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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Can Anything Good Come?



On Thursday afternoon, I had literally just finished a podcast recording about social justice (which will air tomorrow), relying heavily on the upcoming lectionary Scripture that includes the phrase, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” when I received a message directing me to the latest derogatory comment about immigrants, made by Donald Trump.
As a preview (and a jumping off point for further discussion), these are my opening words for the show:

***

“‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ (John 1:45) 

These are words that were spoken about Jesus, himself, probably based in expectation and prejudice against a geographic location that just didn’t measure up or produce anyone noteworthy.   

In this narrative account, Philip invites Nathanael to ‘Come and see’ (v. 46), and Nathanael does, but it seems that we are often so grounded in and distracted by our own biases that we rarely reach this kind of charitable exploration and beautiful conclusion anymore.  Whole people groups are marginalized, and we miss out on the good that comes from the least likely places.”

***

Of course, I am upset.  In fact, I am upset enough that I have posted and deleted and reworded and reposted to social media (and apparently I am not alone in this effort).  I am upset enough that I recognize I still do not have sufficient words two days later.  I am upset enough that I need to both say and do something, even if it’s small.

So I’m about to say something that will probably make some people angry.  What’s new?  Story of my life…

The potential good that I see coming from this deplorable, offensive, intolerable phrase about “s***hole” countries and their people is that maybe #45 has finally said something strong enough to unite the least likely allies. 

WHAT???

Stay with me… or don’t.  You may also take this moment to unfriend me, if that seems more efficient.

Y’all…  There have been numerous occasions on which I have thought… hoped… wished… maybe even prayed… that a phrase was enough to leave the vast majority of people without a motive to continue to defend this administration (remember, “Grab them by the p***y”?), but where other horrific words have failed; these seem to offend almost everyone in some way.  

It has often been the most conservative, right winged, fundamental evangelicals who have sustained the justification for this kind of leadership.  This is mind blowing to me, but I do recognize the ways in which one issue voting has effected this phenomenon (I don’t agree, but I cognitively understand).  However, many of these same people, groups, denominations, etc. are now forced to reevaluate, because the truth is that they are also people who have reached out in mission, love, and relationship, time and time again, to the wonderful people of Haiti and African nations.  Because of this, I would imagine that there is some internal tension and struggle.  It’s not cut-and-dried.  Let’s be real, it never was, but today this has become more obvious.

So I’m angry.  I am so incredibly angry that anyone in a position that has historically obligated us to show extraordinary respect and honor has severely diminished the Imago Dei in whole marginalized people groups and, consequently, devalued their lives.  And I totally ‘get it’ that this is nothing new.  But for some factions, this is only becoming very real and relatable right now.

I’m angry, but I want to use that to fuel unity and reconciliation.  I want to reach out to those who are just now realizing the vast extent of this dehumanization, not by saying, “I told you so,” but by saying, “What can we do together, now?”

Perhaps this is the remark that will finally allow us to band together and agree that enough is enough.

Also…  I don’t always know what to do to offer immediate, practical solutions, but today I’ve got something… which is better than nothing… 

A friend of mine runs a 501(c)(3) called “Compassion for Africa.”  Because I know him personally, I also know it is true that every penny received (100%, no overhead) goes directly to the projects for which funds are designated.  They are doing some great work in Ghana, particularly in the areas of medicine, clean water, and education and business programs for young girls.  I’m going to link that information here, in case you’d like to be a part of the solution for these people who matter deeply:


May something good come.  May it begin with us.

L.

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