The Path Ahead

My head throbs from the noise. I’m sitting in a quiet house in comfortable jeans and an old t-shirt. The fan on my laptop drones a meditative hum. There’s nothing else to do but write now. Nothing I’d rather do. I close my eyes for a moment, relishing it, feeling myself breathe. The bubble of arguments, fears, and hates, stretches out from the back of my head and snaps loose like the last raindrop. It’s good to take a break. Take a closer look without the noise.

Every political post on social media, every article from every news service, every speech and interview has served to make me tired and angry. The camera panning across war torn cities, crumbled to unlivable heaps, gut me. The left, the right, tear me in two. I want to stand and speak, reach out and pull the blood-soaked masses to safety, paint a sign and march. I want to make a difference. I want to be love in action. Half our nation believes the world is coming to an end, and the other half is sighing in relief that they narrowly avoided the world ending. I don’t know if there’s ever truly been nuance in public disagreements, but it’s rarer now. You have to dig for it. Everything’s either-or, black and white, life or death. As a follower of Jesus, I find myself wondering how to live in such a world.

Some might read that and tell me to just speak the Message. I’m convinced that Christ is the answer. That’s not the issue. I know to tell anyone who will listen that Christ died for sinners of whom I’m in the top three. The problem is, that message is what causes my hands to tremble. It’s what drives me to act. It’s what gives me pause when I want to clench my non-proverbial fists and fight.

A part of me wants to scream at every wrong, fight for every cause, but I’m unsure how to stand against wrong and act in love in every situation. We don’t have a full account of the disciples lives, but it’s not something we see them concerning themselves with–yelling at the government for change. When they saw those in need, they did what was necessary to salve their wounds, fill their stomachs, and protect them from the elements. They were a light in the dark.

But they didn’t live in a society where each citizen is a small cog in the great machine of change. Would they have acted differently had they been able to make some small push toward change? Would Paul and Barnabas hold picket signs as they told those in the crowd who were interested about a Savior? I don’t know. I can’t see it. But maybe that’s due to a lack of imagination.

Many pens have been run dry writing on this subject. Some say to pull away from government as citizens of another spiritual Nation, and others claim that one of our most spiritual acts is our vote. Calling our congressman as an act of worship. I don’t know how involved I should be as a citizen who’s a Christian. I don’t know what issues I should stand up for, and where I should be silent. Even the more obvious choices are tangled in philosophical complications, no matter how much we want to make them either-or, black or white, life or death.

When I see the weak, the poor, the powerless being crushed, I’m compelled to act. But I feel like my one voice is lost in the din of so many others. Like my vote is crushed under the weight of the system. Like any sign I fashion is summarily dismissed by those meant to be moved by it. Maybe I’m wrong. The tiniest strikes, over time, can crumble a great mountain. It’s a frustrating struggle, but I believe it’s an important one. One I can’t let go of. That won’t let go of me.

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