I’ve stayed quiet on social media about this, haven’t said a word on FB and only a few prayers and retweets on Twitter. This isn’t some act of ignorance, this was me taking hours to read and listen and try to grasp.
I have a wide range of friends falling from very very very conservative to very very very liberal. I don’t pick sides, I like to hear both sides. I’m not sure why some of us are still friends except for the grace and comedy of God.
But now…No more silence.
I’ve seen some of my friends really grieving over this Ferguson decision, while other friends think this is blown way out of proportion (like that the president shouldn’t have wasted his time commenting at all).
No more silence.
Here’s what I know:
Our country is deeply divided. In the state of division, who else is better equipped to address division that the president? Don’t agree? Did you want more silence?
Nope. No more silence.
Many of my friends’ lives will go unchanged. This is a blip in their newsfeed and they might just be annoyed that the blip is still going on. They can change the channel or close their browser and move on.
But many of my friends lives will go unchanged in a wholly different way. They will continue fearing for the lives of their children. They know that one injustice that goes unchecked leads to more injustice. They were hopeful for one chance at justice, and it passed them by. They know that more lives will be lost, and they fear that it could be their child. That is real fear.
I have a choice to make. As a white woman, with a white husband and white children, we could let our lives move on. We don’t fear for our children in the same way, so we can change the channel and turn off twitter for a few days.
But if I do that, if I make that choice (and it is a choice), then I am neither loving my (figurative and literal) neighbor, nor fighting the injustice that my Bible speaks so clearly against.
No more silence.
So, my life is changed. I will join the people who are hurting and grieving and fearing – because I would rather walk alongside those friends than join the masses who are just annoyed. Because my Bible doesn’t tell me to walk alongside the inconvenienced. My Bible tells me to grieve with the part of the Body that is grieving. My Bible tells me to walk with the orphan (and maybe also the parent who no longer as a child). And my Bible tells me that we need to walk together through the valley.
So as for me… I’m picking a side and it isn’t the Silence.
I beg of you, before you decide to join the annoyed & ignoring or the hurting & afraid, have some conversation. Don’t bury your head in the sands of ignoring. Choose to talk to some people of color – and not just casually. Ask the honest question of how this Ferguson decision affects their lives, ask how they feel about their children’s future. And then shut your mouth and listen up. Really listen. Listen with the kind of attention that allows your heart to hear with empathy. And when you’ve listened, heard, and felt with them, pray (really pray) over whether you can still ignore and change the channel.