How to Move Forward

Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness. – Proverbs 13:16

Recent events in Charlottesville and Barcelona are painful chapters in a seemingly endless story of hatred and violence in our world. As I’ve listened to people pour out their hearts around these events what I’ve heard most often goes something like this: How do we move forward?

Navigating current events can feel like canoeing down a turbulent river. Strong currents of opinion push and pull. Jagged rocks of fear and hurt lie just below the surface. How do you navigate that kind of river? If you do nothing you’ll likely wind up grounded or capsized. If you paddle on only one side of the canoe you’ll go in circles. Only careful paddling on both sides of the canoe will move you forward.

In the same way followers of Jesus cannot afford to do nothing as we navigate the river of current events. We cannot remain silent and still. We must speak and engage as the Spirit leads us, vigorously pursuing righteousness, justice and love, condemning and combatting intolerance, injustice and hatred. And I find that that is best done in a rhythm of action and reflection.

Action

  • March in a peaceful protest that challenges racism and white supremacy
  • Talk to your children and grandchildren about racism and intolerance
  • Advocate for those who are powerless, voiceless or unfairly treated
  • Develop a friendship with someone of another race or religion
  • Pray for change that leads to peace, love and justice for all

Reflection

  • Listen carefully to the experience of those who are marginalized. I highly recommend the book “The Trouble I’ve Seen” by Drew Hart
  • Question your own assumptions about those who are not like you
  • Search your heart and engage in the soul work of confession and repentance where needed.

I believe that the song I learned in Sunday School got it right: Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. And because all are precious in Jesus’ sight, we are compelled to strongly stand against anything or anyone that diminishes the beauty of the great diversity of God’s creation.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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Comments
  • Doug Scott

    Thank you for your blog “How to Move Forward”.