My Soapbox Diary Blog

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Updated: Feb 1

I am disheartened today, but also angry and disgusted. I cannot for the life of me understand the theological gymnastics that some folks are going through to defend the actions of a man accused of dating underage girls. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have proudly told you I was an Evangelical. That meant something. For me, it meant that we stood on the inerrant Word of God. We guided our lives by the Bible and we lived by the mantra “What would Jesus do?” Remember that verse 1 John 2:6, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”

I can’t help but think that Jesus probably would not have been saying let He who is without sin cast the first stone in defense of Roy Moore. When I read the story of the woman caught in adultery being brought to Jesus, Christ had compassion. I can imagine Leigh Corfman being dragged to Jesus’ feet being called a liar and much worse. I do not mean to presume that Corfman has committed a wrongdoing like the woman caught in adultery, but simply to remind us that we should be angry at the things that Jesus would be angry at, and have compassion and show grace to those to whom Jesus would. Remember in the story,  we all ask the question, what did He write in the sand. Why did the accusers slip away?

My faith compels me to stand on the side of those who say they have been victimized. We cannot hypocritically say believe the woman when we believe the accused offender is liberal, but decry women as liars and fake news when the accused offender is conservative. Evangelicals have sacrificed their moral standing for political victories.

I remember reading the Left Behind series and I could never quite wrap my head around people who had seen so many extraordinary things and yet they still refused to believe. I could not understand how people could justify evil even when they had seen it with their own eyes.

But now, I understand that a little better. Folks that I have worshipped with, prayed with, served with, sang with, studied with, fellowshipped with, lived life with. Yes, those people and many others like them, continue to find new and creative ways to defend the indefensible. It was inconceivable that many in the nation could shrug off the comments of a man, in his own words, who clearly described groping women without their consent. But even that did not come close to the outrageous defense of Roy Moore where a supporter likened the accusation of a 32-year-old man having sexual contact with a 14-year-old to the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph. So, Evangelicals, help me understand in what world do we currently live where we call wrong right and right wrong.

I still believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, but the label Evangelical does not fit me anymore. I am hidden in Christ, not my political affiliation. I feel the tug on my heart that my Savior is calling me to more. We are to advocate for those whom the world shuns, not pick up a rock and be ready to stone them. So take some time to think on these words, not my words, but the words of John. “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”

Updated: Feb 1

I must confess that this last year or so has been a hard emotional journey. I have struggled to come to terms with the country I love, but many days I do not know where we are headed. But in all of that I have tried to pursue dialogue in a compassionate, heartfelt way that engages those who believe differently than I do.

I recently shared a post on Facebook of what appeared to be a Muslim man who had acid thrown in his face. I continue to be shocked and saddened by man’s lack of humanity and empathy.

A friend posted this comment in part, “I believe the problem with this country is with ALL citizens not respecting each other as human beings. Period. It’s time we stop being so divided with pointing the finger towards those that have trespassed against us and realize it is a very real struggle that we all can get through together with the guidance of our Creator and Father.”

The incident in the post did not even happen in America, but Manchester, England. But since our beloved country was brought into the conversation, let me delve a little deeper.

If ALL citizens in this country were being routinely and randomly stopped, harassed, arrested and sometimes shot by police officers while going into their own homes, walking in their own neighborhoods, driving their own cars, swimming in their own neighborhood pools, in that case, we would have a common point from which to start. But when I look at the news, I rarely see ALL citizens, but interestingly, the citizens I do see have something in common and it is not their bank accounts, their occupation, their pedigree, their address, or their education, but rather it is the color of their skin.

And I would be remiss to point out that even using the term ALL citizens seems to confer upon us a status that is often denied by those in authority and our common man.

If we were treated like citizens, why the disparity in so many areas with the common denominator being race?

And do not try to mollify me by enlisting the name of the Creator. The division that exists in America is not because the oppressed seek acknowledgement of our painful pasts, but rather it is the absence of that acknowledgment that keeps the wound from healing.

I agree with an article by John Hopkins University about Germany’s reconciliation efforts. When Germany was hated by the world for their extermination of millions of Jews and blamed for the deaths of millions of other soldiers and civilians through their beliefs and policies that led to World War II, Germany did not just give some one-time apology and expect those deep wounds to be healed. Germany realized that it could not run from its crimes, it had to confront them by acknowledging the atrocities that were committed by Germans.

The problem with America, in general, is the nation is not willing to recognize the imperative to repay a deep moral debt to descendants not only of those who were enslaved, but those who have been systematically oppressed in every facet of life: employment, housing, healthcare, education, services.

I would dare say that many in this country don’t know enough about what has happened to black people to understand why we are aggrieved. And there can be no national healing without acknowledgement of past wrongs and the enduring consequences of those established systems.

If these injustices and cruelties in America were just a few isolated cases, then there may be a justification in declaring time to move on. But these are dots connected through time unified only in the oppression and mistreatment of people of color. The Tuskegee Experiment. Emmitt Till. The Scottsboro Boys. The Central Park Five. Robert Charles O’Hara Benjamin. Black Wall Street. The Rosewood Massacre. Benjamin O. Davis. Medger Evers. Trayvon Martin. Philando Castille. These are not unrelated historical or contemporary happenings, but rather a pattern that we have endured for generations.

Germany recognized that in order to move forward, not only the country symbolically, but it’s citizens individually needed to confront the atrocities done. Jews would not have stood for Germans telling them to stop pointing the finger towards those who had trespassed against them. In fact, the Jewish mantra is “Never Forget.” And we echo the same refrain, “Never Forget.”

Reconciliation is possible and I agree that for believers it is our faith in Christ that enables us to overcome the most difficult things that we face. But even entering into the salvation of God starts with confession and repentance.

Updated: Feb 1

Every time I watch the new presidential administration, I cannot help but think of the biblical story of Haman and Mordecai. If you know the story, Haman had it out for Mordecai and all the Jews including unwittingly the queen. Haman plotted to bring down Mordecai to the point of building a gallows. The ironic conclusion to Haman’s plans is that the same gallows that he built to be the end of his enemy served as his end as he is ensnared by his own trap.

There are parallels to our current political landscape. Currently, the same person who chanted at campaign rallies, “Lock her up” and decried folks who sought immunity saying, and I quote, “When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime,” that same person is now asking for immunity.

Then to add more to the Haman comparison, the man that sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in the Oval Office also prophesied that his opponent would be embroiled in scandals from the first day in office. He has instead discovered like Haman that the Truth has a way of exposing schemes. The circumstances that he gleefully peddled about his opponent is coming to fruition surrounding his own administration.

Haman was also undone by his own self-righteousness and ambition. He was a man that thought very highly of himself and would not tolerate those who did not fall in line to give him the respect he was truly convinced that he deserved. In fact, scripture records that when Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, Haman was filled with rage. I can imagine that if Twitter had been around in biblical times, Mordecai may have been the object of a Tweetstorm.

But I digress. Haman was so full of himself that in his view Mordecai’s insolence had to be dealt with. And not only that, but Haman actively pursued a position of honor and respect that he believed should have rightly been his. I find it quite ironic that sometimes the very thing that a person seeks to possess, once he has achieved it, the possession of it becomes his undoing.

Haman had a position of honor, but he wanted more. However, Haman also had, what turned out to be, fatal character flaws. He was petty and mean-spirited, vindictive, vengeful, driven by prejudice and hate. He sought to use his influence to put others in “their place.” He sought to use legislation to accomplish his own agenda.

The interactions between Haman and Mordecai should be a cautionary tale. Be wary of your own efforts and rhetoric to bring down someone else, you may find that when the dust settles, you have fallen into your own trap.