*Authors Note: This is something I wrote in June of 2020, again a social commentary on the Churches position in the world, or more precisely in America. 

In times past, I would attribute my inaction to feeling depressed or tired. And though I am tired some days, tiredness is not the reason I feel the urgency to be still. It feels somewhat defiant and perhaps unpopular to write about anything but race right now. It feels wrong to not give energy to it, and while I am trying to make the best use of my empathy, I think I feel mostly uncertain about my feelings. I am angry and sad about my own racial basis, racism in America, and unnecessary violence. I am sad about the broad brushstrokes being painted about entire colors (white and black and everything in between) and their posture and how they are perceveived.

Racial bias and racism is everywhere filling the earth with indifference toward the other. It is not a strictly American, nor strictly white issue, but it is still evident that the sowing of white male imperialist seed is still trying to reap an ugly demonic harvest.

We are still living under the American lie of an identity as a heavily armed world and national “freedom” police who invoke the clause of violence not when it feels threatened, but when it feels inconvenienced or challenged. It is the sin of pride and power. In the name of this lie, we have tolerated even celebrated all kinds of violence throughout our whitewashed history. America has appeared beautiful “but within is full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. She outwardly appeared righteous to others, but within was full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

“She built tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,  saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ She witnessed against herself; she was the daughter of those who murdered the prophets. Therefore I sent her prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom she will kill and crucify, and some she will flog in your streets and persecute from town to town, so that on her may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom she murdered between the sanctuary and the altar, between the curbs and the incarcerated.”

Yet the Kingdom is coming and is here, still proclaiming liberty to captives, the promise of peace, reconciliation, resurrection of the dead. These are to be hoped in precisely because we do not see them yet. This is the message of the Church. Crucified and Risen Christ can empathize because He has been through the worst of it.

My empathy is insufficient if it merely wells up only when incited by events and the emotions of others. Perhaps momentarily helpful and righteous in appearance but ultimately worthless without transformation, which is why prayer and intercession is essential.

Thoughts and prayers have taken a hit in the last few years. In reality, it is not the prayer that is ineffective or inefficient, it is the rhetoric of prayers without actually doing so or without actually being transformed in the process.

Jesus rebuked people not for praying and fasting but doing so to be seen and heard rather than having their heart reformed and bent toward the suffering of the other. The only possible way I can be effective in prayer or effective in a march or protest is if I have cultivated posture of stillness in prayer, if it has been so internalized, that the cup is clean on the inside.

This is why Jesus had to teach his disciples how to pray. Go to a mountain or to a closet, commune with the Father whose heart is perfect and pure. Do it to be seen only by God, do it often and frequent, especially when you are tired or exasperated. Then pray together, corporately. If we can come together to march or protest, we probably can come together to pray and worship. Fine do both, but to do the former whilst neglecting or downplaying the latter lacks power.

It is unfathomable to me how in the last 10 years the Church in America can become more digital, invest tons of money in hiring media personnel, on their social media presence and seemingly have less power and influence.

Actually it’s pretty easy, churches hardly pray, focus extensively on building their brand or their building and often neglect ecumenical unity and intercession, focus more on discipleship resources than making disciples, by creating cool content than holding people accountable to Christlike character. It’s imperialistic expansion, sure it’s nonviolent but it’s still self-serving. It’s the Commodifying and the Capitalist Church that has replaced those Called and Chosen to be Ambassadors of love and servants of all.

Which is why I must be still. I must find the time to quiet my mind whilst motivating every fiber of my being to approach God to be transformed, to pray, to embody love and perhaps forsake all else in order to work out salvation in fear and trembling.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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