I have been thinking about some conventional wisdom - that one should stay away from talking about the contentious issues because they are a "no win". That choosing sides will only get you embroiled in debates. It was suggested that staying clear of these debates will free one to talk about Jesus and his Kingdom.
My question is when does the Kingdom land? Are these lofty ideas reserved for some future by and by? When do all our truly transformational ideas about the Kingdom of God fall in concrete ways in real life? Where do our musings of an equitable and just world leave the lofty heights of rhetoric and manifest in real ways, with real issues involving real people?
Jesus’ gospel is confrontational
It is confrontational to the powers of the age - to the power brokers; big money, oppressive politics and institutional religion. It challenges those who propagate a system of winners and losers. Jesus' gospel challenges the religious elite who are charged with sharing the good news. Who instead, in their religiosity and institutionality, have become barriers to folks entry into Kingdom. Religious leaders who have become the lapdogs and spiritual propagators of the very system Jesus came preaching against. I find it bitterly amusing that some Christians, contrary to Jesus, find it easier to focus their condemnation on the poor, the hurting and the marginalized while not only ignoring but celebrating and defending the systemic, institutional sin of our society. This must never be!
Some things are worth upsetting the apple cart, clearing the temple and disrupting the status quo. Some things are worth losing for, sacrificing for, laying down our lives for. I tell you these things do not include our power structures RATHER for the poor, the marginalized, the weak and oppressed. For such as these belong the Kingdom of God. We must not stifle our Gospel mandate to non-violently confront injustice because it might make some uncomfortable. The truth is some might just need to feel uncomfortable to arouse them from their slumber, to shake them to their senses.
I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking in response to the clergy of Birmingham, Alabama. The clergy were concerned that good people would be intimidated and be turned off by Kings tactics. Tactics that made folks uncomfortable. Tactics the clergy said were “unchristian”. King responded:
“In your statement you asserted that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. Isn’t this like condemning the robbed man because of his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery?… Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God-Consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of the Crucifixion?”
The earth groans for the loving advocacy of the sons and daughters of God. Creation aches for tangible expressions of Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven! People are searching for Good News that is truly good news! My friends, some things are worth contending for. Injustice must not go unchallenged because it might make someone uncomfortable, we fear we can’t win, or it might cost us something.