Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Who Speaks For You?

We must speak for ourselves

It's been a little more than two weeks since Pat Robertson made known his desire for the United States government to kill the Venezuelan president. Thankfully most sane Christians are in complete disagreement with this Christian conservative who has clearly broken with reality. I have noticed a common phrase going around the sane Christian community since Robertson's comments. It goes something like this, "Pat Robertson doesn't speak for me." This phrase leads me to ask many questions. If Pat Robertson doesn't speak for you, then who does speak for you? If the extreme militant Christian right doesn't represent you, then who does represent you?

After giving some thought I have come with my personal list of people I would let speak for me any day of the week (not an exhaustive list and not in specific order except for Jesus)

1. Jesus. As a disciple of Christ he is the obvious first choice for one to speak on my behalf. The problem, however, with the words of Jesus is that they lead to places you don't want to go.

" 9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another.

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay,says the Lord. 20On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

2. Mother Teresa. Here is a woman that gave her body and soul to the work of Christ. Like Christ, she owned nothing and gave all of herself to the poorest and forgotten of the world.

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."

Sidenote: I remember when her and lady Diana died on the same day. I remember the world being consumed with Diana's death with her funeral televised all over the world. Mother Teresa's death was a blip on the radar with no televised funeral. Mother Teresa was truly a citizen of the upside down kingdom.

3. MLK. I still get goose bumps listening to his speeches (which are on itunes). Though not a perfect man, MLK spoke the perfect truth of God unlike any since.

"The dawn will come. Disappointment, sorrow, and despair are born at midnight, but morning follows. "Weeping may endure for a night," says the Psalmist, "but joy cometh in the morning." This faith adjourns the assemblies of hopelessness and brings new light into the dark chambers of pessimism."

4. Thomas Merton. A Trappist Monk who lived in of all places, Bardstown, KY. His writings are so deep and profound that people are still digging to find their meaning.

"We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God"

5. Oscar Romero. The Archbishop of El Salvador who was killed for protesting the violence that consumed his country. If his words don't convict, please check your pulse.

"i am glad, brothers and sisters, that our church is persecuted precisely for its preferential option for the poor and for trying to become incarnate in the interest of the poor and for saying to all the people, to rulers, to the rich and powerful: unless you become poor, unless you have a concern for the poverty of our people as though they were your own family, you will not be able to save society."

These are but of the few that i would allow to speak and represent me. The problem with all these amazing words is that all who spoke them are dead now. This leaves with us with only one option. We must speak for ourselves. You must speak for you and act out what you believe is true. I must speak and perform outloud my deepest convictions. We, as Christians, must stop waiting for the Max Lucados and Brian McClareans of the world to speak out against injustice and idolatry. There is something in all of us that gives us the strength to speak out with our neighbor who has suffered unjustly. There is something in all of us that allows us to act on our words by taking on the suffering and injustice of others. It is something that comes with being created in the image of God. It is time to stop living in denial and embrace this something.

May God bless you and your loved ones this coming week as you begin to speak and act for yourself. It wont all be sunshine, but at least it will come from you. Who speaks for you? It is a important question. What will your answer be? I leave with you with the encouragement to prepare yourself for those moments when people around will ask, who speaks for you?


Coming Next WeeK: Sharing In The Suffering


Anonymous,  4:47 PM  

Hey Chris, good post. I know a couple on the west side that would love your comments on Mother Theresa.

You would have loved our service at church this AM. We watched a tribute to the soldiers in Iraq with the Harding chorus singing God of Our Fathers (acapella) in the background. We then stood and pledged allegience to the flag in the middle of the service. Jo and I didn't know we were going to worship the US armed services this AM.

Why does our leadership want to speak for us instead of speak with us about God's kingdom?

Allen and Jo

J-Wild 6:38 PM  

Allen and Jo:

That's pretty unbelievable, I don't know what I would have done.


Great post, one of your best. You talked about the blip on the screen Mother Teresa's death was compared to Diana's. The irony in how the media covered the two events it that it more than likely played out exactly the way MT would have wanted it to. She would have seen Diana's life as tragic and worthy of a story, while her own life was full and rich and worthy of barely a mention.

I will have to dwell on that this week.

Chris Ewing 9:01 PM  

Allen and Jo,

Thanks. I wish I could say the same about my church service, but it was completely the opposite. There was not a flag to be found nor a patriotic hymn to be heard. The sermon was amazing, but a tough on forgiveness. Forgiving those who can't fix what they broke, Forgiving those who can't repay the debt. Changed my entire thinking about forgiveness. But I hope to make it to Chattnga for a visit.


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