The Welfare Rights building was crowded. I stood on the threshold, fresh from the Catholic school around the corner and looked for my mom. There she was, deep in conversation with a woman, her arm around the her shoulders. The woman wept. There seemed to be a lot of tears shed here. Women, afraid, hopeless came for encouragement, support, and direction. Some of them had been abandoned by men and had multiple children to care for. Another raised her sister’s children while she served a jail term. It was the mid-seventies and Mom was a stark white face to the sea of African American faces full of fear and hopelessness. Mom served these woman because she understood where they came from. Her brand of feminism meant woman should be able to feed and clothe their children when a man left or a woman couldn’t take care of her own. I got to know some of these woman in my after school visits. Those who had gotten help stuck like glue to the center, encouraging, wiping tears, giving bear hugs and helping others navigate the world of jobs and paperwork. This was my mom’s brand of feminism. Reaching out to the broken hearted. Meeting physical and emotional needs.
We watched and excerpt of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech in church on Sunday. It was refreshing. With tension running high in our country, women marching all over the world, we needed a refresher, not even a week after his day. It can’t just be a day, it needs to be a way of thinking and a way of life. It’s not a day to tweet one of King’s quotes and then forget about it. We can’t heal as a nation until we are willing to step out of our comfort zone, to pray and create bridges instead of walls.
“And that is something that I must say to my people who stand on the worn threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not he guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not “seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom” by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” -Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream speech
This nation is full of bitterness and hatred. With President Trump sworn in, riots and women marching. The tension and anger are palatable. What should the Christian’s response be to this be? Not one of self-righteousness or Bible flinging orgies on social media. What would the response of the great Martin Luther King be? He would oppose physical violence and I’m not talking about the protesters. I’m talking about the body of Christ. It is not our job to tell others who are hurting, who are in need, who feel afraid and threatened by the future that they are wrong. Instead we should be asking, as I have always taught my kids, What can I do to help? Or you journalists or writers, pull out your key questions, Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Ask these. Who are these people? What do they fear? When do they think these freedoms will be removed and how? Why do they feel threatened?
Everybody has a story. Every person that marched or protested has a story. Their lives are just as valuable as anybody else’s. They have a voice that needs heard. Let us not be the ones who say they have no rights, that they don’t matter.
Abortion is wrong, I believe that wholeheartedly. I state that to be clear on my stance. Not everyone marched for Planned Parenthood. Some marched because they have been sexually abused. Some women are rape survivors. Some were just afraid that their rights would be stripped away. Some have been abused and mistreated by men. Some have had abortions and feel a deep shame. Each women who marched has value. Their soul cry needs to be heard from the White House to the church pulpit.
Loving each other as Christ loved us does not mean we condone the sin, it means we love the person. We celebrated the sanctity of human life on Sunday, all the while choosing which lives matter. That cannot be so.
“God loves everybody-including those who radically disagree with Him. And He expects His followers to do the same.” -Pastor Wayde Wilson
God is a God of justice. He is not deaf to our cries. We must cry out to him for justice. We must be ‘HIs hands and feet. For the widow. For the orphan. For the abused. The neglected. The brokenhearted. The captives to this present darkness.
“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
We Christians don’t need to throw our beliefs at others in order to win them to Christ. We need to hear their heart’s cry. We need to meet them there. If we Christians are persecuted, let it be for righteousness sake, not for yelling matches on social media. Let us stand firm in our convictions and at the same time be ambassadors for Christ.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] [a]and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, … Isaiah 61:1,2
Like my mother in the Welfare rights building, let us preach the Gospel of good tiding to the meek, the poor, the afflicted. Let us, like Christ bind up and heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the physical and spiritual captives.
*More on Christian women and feminism on Friday, join me for Feigned Feminism Friday (it’s back)!
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor and Three Word Wednesday! Join us!