Lots of politics lately. War. Guns. Refugees. Women’s rights. Climate Change. Racism.
All of it explodes on Facebook and traditional news. I find most of the time the issues are incredibly complex with stakeholders on all sides. I have Facebook friends on most of these sides too.
Then there’s me. I’m a teacher. I work hard and pay my taxes. I’m doing my best to help raise great kids who will contribute to improving the world (secular language) or working towards the restoration of all things (christian language). I like movies and books and beer. I also enjoy animated discussions on politics and religion.
Which brings me to this realization, which immediately caused me to recall a dynamic in the beautiful film, Selma, which I’ll draw upon in a moment.
Consider problem X.
The majority usually wants a pragmatic solution to the problem where most people are left unaffected by any changes. Very modest changes are permitted of course so that the majority can feel good about themselves. Sweeping changes could upset the social order, the economic system, and even challenge common sense.
The voice in the wilderness tends to call for those sweeping changes. This voice tends to stand on a soapbox. Its reason to speak is that it is right (as in righteous, just). There is an injustice and the evidence is that there is a population segment that is being marginalized.
The majority might say this voice is whining, that they should just get in line with everyone else. After all look at all the people who are happy without having to make these changes.
Sweeping changes do upset the status quo. And what if that status quo is holding people in a system where they are powerless? I must refer readers to the extraordinary book by Bryant L Myers, Walking with the Poor at this point if they care at all about understanding poverty. Perhaps the status quo should change?
The majority will say that change is best introduced slowly. But this is only because they want to implement the change themselves to ensure there is not a shift in power.
Selma. The powerful dynamic that I was struck with was Dr. Martin Luther King’s insistence to then President Lyndon Banes Johnson. King was insisting that Johnson force the states to change their blatantly racist laws and practices immediately. Johnson said he needed to allow time to allow the states to get on board. King proceeded with non-violent protests and was eventually martyred. He is the one we remember as the great civil rights advocate, not Johnson.
As a Christian I must always cede power that is given to me (or awarded to me at birth based on my race, gender, citizenship) to the greater cause which is righteousness. Which is lifting up those who are powerless. Which means I may even see myself in that unhappy minority.