Pastor’s Corner (6/11/2020)
“The Church condemns violence, but it condemns indifference more harshly. Violence can be the expression of love, indifference never.”
“Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we move from Pandemic to Protest, one element that disturbs many of us is the violence. Much to the surprise of those of us living in Lincoln, we have seen the outbreaks of anger and violence. The shocking destruction of property has been unnerving. As Greene’s quote suggests, violence needs to be listened to and heard. It is shocking to consider, however, that violence can be an expression of great passion. There have been strong feelings expressed all around. Sadly, violence tends to push many of us away and we become unable to hear the message behind it. However, it is in our willingness to listen that we push aside indifference.
As one who lives near the church on the south side of the capitol, I experienced the violence too close and too personal. My immediate and gut response was fear. Once the violence subsided, the fear did as well. Following the destruction wrought in downtown Lincoln in the early hours of Sunday 31 May, I and many others chose to respond with a peaceful protest around the Capitol later that day. Inspired by “Black Lives Matter,” many pastors from around the city joined others in emphasizing the importance of peaceful protest. However, it is still important that we hear all the voices inspired to speak out. Although it is uncomfortable for many of us, particularly those of white privilege, we must be willing to really hear those crying out for justice. To turn a deaf ear would be to respond with the indifference that Greene decries.
It is critical that we begin by listening, but we must move towards just action. When we celebrate the phrase “Love All” in our vision/mission statement, we take a stand for listening to and embracing justice. Our vision/mission statement also includes “show hospitality.” As we listen to the passionate cries for justice, we are invited to show genuine hospitality and push indifference aside. It is tempting to turn away from the violence and cries for justice, but as people of faith we must lean in and listen. King reminds us that violence ultimately destroys everyone involved. How can we listen and foster genuine dialog? I’m not sure, but I trust that here at FCC we will explore ways to be in dialog among ourselves and with others in our community.
May we truly be “A Movement for Wholeness in the Capitol Neighborhood” and beyond. If you have ideas about how we might proceed let me know and let’s begin a conversation that brings true peace as we foster real justice for all. Empowered by God’s love, may we continue to “Love All.”
In peace and love,