It Matters

     Threats of violence, name calling, racial slurs, people of good faith being spat upon, bricks tossed through windows, vandalism, all these things cause my heart to ache within me. I ask myself whether it is possible for our incivility to sink any lower and of course the answer to that question is yes, I suppose it could. With all my strength and faith I tell myself to “fear not” and yet it lurks in the recesses of my mind.
     According to my family from a very young age I have always been the “peacemaker.” I have long struggled with the idea that grown persons cannot sit down and talk out their differences without resorting to name calling and shouting.
     In my opinion it does not matter what side of the fence, aisle, road, and issue we find ourselves on, a lack of civility has only one purpose and that is to polarize rather than finding real solutions to real problems.
     Part of my own failing is my willingness to remain silent. Silence promotes and portrays assent. I am trying to repent of that. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I write this today to perhaps begin to come back to life.
     I write not about the Health Care issue of late or other political decisions in our Nation, not that they do not “matter,” because they do regardless of what side of the issue one is on. I write today about the issue of civility and respect, because I believe that should matter more to all of us.
     As a leader in the church I believe it should matter how we witness to our faith through word and deed. In this time and at all times we are reminded in our sacred scriptures that it is “what comes out of one’s mouth that defiles,” as well as cautions as to our need as humankind to “bridle the tongue.” We as the church and other faith communities should be on the forefront of exampling civil and mediating behavior.
     I pray we would well consider our words and actions as we navigate this tenuous time, that we would be exemplars of peace, respect, mutuality, civility, and conversation. I pray we would not be silent about grace and love, because they matter.

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One Response to “It Matters”

  1. Alastair (aka JRT) Says:

    Wes — those were wonderful thoughts! I concur completely. Demonizing the percieved enemy is just the step prior to abusing them. When you are able to set aside that they are persons just like you and I then almost any sort of behaviour is possible. I am reminded of an incident in one of the Crusades. A city was about to be assaulted and the soldiers came to a bishop-warrior and asked how to tell between a Christian arab and a Muslim arab. His answer has echoed down through the centuries, “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”

    Thaks for the loan of your soap box.

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