Reject Empire; Embrace the Cross
It's not a protest of our military.
Kneeling during the national anthem was never about the military. It was and will continue to be about police brutality and the way it seems nearly impossible for a white police officer to ever be convicted of killing an unarmed black person. It's about how "blue lives matter" unless you're the black St. Louis County police officer shot by a white St. Louis County police officer. Where were all the angry posts about him? It's about how we all have the right to bear arms unless you're a black man in a Walmart in Ohio. That's what it's always been about.
But you see what happened was you fell for the trick the orange man played on you. He told you it was about our military. And a lot of us were secretly waiting for a reason to throw "those people" to the wolves. And he gave it to us. He gave us cover. It didn't need to be a "race thing" anymore. It could be a "patriotic thing".
"If only they would protest correctly" we say with sorrow in our voices. "I could support them if only they protested differently." And then I read the articles that say how many of us sorrowfully disapproved of the Civil Rights protests of the 1960's. How many of us really agreed with MLK Jr but just wished he wouldn't be so intense about it all. That he would maybe proceed with a bit less divisiveness. Not be in such a rush to change everything so quickly. I read those things and I realize we don't learn from the past. We repeat it.
Because you see there is no way for them to protest we'll like. They march in the streets we disapprove. They kneel quietly we disapprove. Maybe our problem is that we think they need our approval. They don't. They need our action. And the only way to get the privileged to take action is shake up their status quo. Make them look at the thing they don't want to look at.
I'm a Christian. A follower of Jesus. He is my first in all things. I try to find where Jesus would be in my every day and go there. He would be in the places that make me uncomfortable. That shake up my status quo. He would kneel to the sanctity of life before he would pledge allegiance to any nation's flag. There is no empire at the feet of the cross. Flags and armies mean nothing to the Son of God.
That doesn't mean I disrespect the nation I live in. That I'm not grateful every day for the freedoms I possess that so many people fought and died to give me. But it does mean that when allegiance to my country and allegiance to my Savior come into conflict only one outcome is possible. Jesus wins every. single. time.
Wake up Church. We are The Church. We are not "The American Church." We are The Church. Our body transcends all nations, creeds, genders, state lines. When one of us hurts we all hurt. When one of us speaks we all listen. Our front line battles should be the refugees dying from war and famine. Our front line battles should be the sin of racism that never healed and still persists in our country. Our front line battles should be feeding the hungry and comforting the lost and broken. When the Son of Man comes in all his glory he will not be asking what we did to defend the nation in which we live. He will be asking us what we did to defend the least of these in our midst.
And I don't want to be found wanting. I won't stay silent. I refuse to let my brothers and sisters of color be the only ones shouting into the void that won't listen. I'm following my true north and I see where he's leading. And it's not to The Empire.
It's to the places most of us don't want to go. The places that make us confront our own sin and blindness; our selfishness and pride. It's a refining fire he's leading us to. And I'm not going to be afraid to walk in it.
Where he leads I follow. Even to the ends of the earth.