This week we welcome guest writer, Matt Davis.
Social media is a mixed blessing at best as is Facebookâ€™s so-called â€œsnooze button.â€ For those that donâ€™t know, this feature allows you to remain friends with someone, but not see anything they post for the next 30 days. I admit it. Iâ€™ve used it and those of you that havenâ€™t are probably doing a Google search for it right now.
Between the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently, the outbreak of protests and demonstrations against racism and police brutality, things are pretty intense right now. I was recently surprised to see my house and a number of others in my quiet, rural neighborhood targeted with hate literature from the KKK. Like any decent human being, I was outraged, ripped it up and lined my cat litter box with it.
As I continued to think about it in the context of our current events, how certain people in our society are treated fundamentally different than others, I came to a realization. Even here, I have the option to just rip it up and ignore it and go on with my life. After all, they want to â€œrecruitâ€ me and I will gladly tell them to get lost. If I were a member of one of the many groups that are the target of their ire, however, I would have feared what would be coming next. If I were a person of color, however, I could not have so easily ignored it and moved on.
I had a similar realization after Frederickâ€™s March for Justice. It was a wonderful, inspiring, and peaceful march and we were moved by the grief of our fellow citizens for the lives that were lost. We were on our way home after the speakers concluded when we received a text message from the city indicating that some protesters had shut down I-70 in both directions. I said to myself, â€œWhy did they have to ruin a perfectly good march by going out to stop traffic on the highway?â€ I thought about that in the hours to come and it finally came to me. When they shut down the flow of traffic, the unlucky souls in the traffic jam no longer had the luxury of ignoring the pain those protesters were feeling. They were forced to stop their vehicles to not hit them and saw their pain and anger over injustice firsthand and I think it frightened and angered them. They were forced out of their routines and no longer had the option to look away and ignore these things that have been going on for a long time. Although I still do not think anyone should walk out in traffic on a highway at twilight on a rainy night, for the first time I got why they did it. To do that speaks to a level of desperation that white America does not yet feel. And I wondered why I didnâ€™t see that before.
So my thought for this Thursday is this: our faith calls on us to be faithful witnesses. That requires us to be willing to look. Avoid hitting that snooze button in an effort to avoid discomfort. If youâ€™re confused about why people are upset but want to be part of the solution, a good first step is to not allow yourself the luxury of looking away.
Isaiah 1:15-17 â€“ When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.