I had one of those weekends when apparently divergent messages come together and it all just kind of clicks. On Saturday my daughter Emily was wearing a t-shirt with the graphic above, the one that encourages us to Believe There is Good in the World and at the same time to Be The Good.
Then on Sunday I read an article in USA Today about the State of Hate in America. The article talked about a KKK rally Charlottesville, Virginia, where about 50 Klansmen came from out of state to protest the removal of a Civil War era statue of Robert E. Lee.
Be The Good vs. Be The Hate seems to be a common thread in our society these days.
I read a bit further into the USA Today story and learned that along with the 50 protesters that day were about 1,000 counter protesters. While it’s impossible to know the motivations behind everyone there, it would appear that in the face of hate 20 times as many people chose to be the good.
By my estimation good won.
Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League suggest that hate crimes are up about 6 percent over a year ago. I wish that wasn’t so, but neither or nor the Church can stop these from happening. Just as no one could stop the Klan from coming to Charlottesville.
But we can decide how we are going to witness in such a time. How do we as a church respond in such troubled times?
Especially when so much of that same division is happening under our own tent?
The answer, according to that t-shirt is to be the good. Cause you know what, we should be doing that anyway.
When is the last time your community saw your church Being The Good outside your building? I think this summer is the perfect time for you to feed people, help people, encourage people. Whether you’re counter protesting hate or handing out a cold bottle of water along your town’s parade route, go out there and be good. Go out there and Be The Church.
Call the Urban Mission in Steubenville, the Nehemiah Mission in Cleveland or the United Methodist Community Center in Youngstown and ask them if they have people that your church can show some love to. I bet the answer is in the affirmative.
Read Matthew and figure out who in your community is the Canaanite Woman, the Boy With the Demon, the thousands who needed feeding.
Then go be the good, the good that these individuals need, the good that your community needs to be and, quite frankly that you need yourselves to be to truly call yourselves Disciples of Christ.
I’d love to read in the USA Today an article about the State of Love in America.