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Can I get two minutes?

I am shocked and horrified at what I’m seeing in the news and social media. I don’t have a Facebook right now (deactivated about a year ago) and I don’t have twitter or that other big social media site I can’t remember the name. I recently signed up for instagram but I still don’t really know how to use it. However, sometimes I cheat and sign into my hubbies Facebook or look at the account I managed for work. I see people boldly saying things they have never said before and probably never would to a crowd of actual people. I see name calling, rude and crude meme posting, I see bandwagon jumping on the latest media sensationalizing garbage of a report. I see people yelling, people arguing, people angry, people saying things that are so hurtful and unkind my head is spinning. Aren’t we Christians? Doesn’t relationship, love, and belonging to the body of Christ come first? I understand some scary things are happening and happening very quickly…but like Eric said a few weeks ago we aren’t from here. Our first allegiance isn’t to this country or to this world, it’s to the kingdom of heaven. It’s to Christ and his first commandment to love each other….not just the refugee but the actual people in this country too no matter their party choice. This is hard for some of you. Some if you are so outraged, so worked up by the media and your own prejudices, so inspired by all the other angry and outraged people that you have lost sight of what God’s plan is in all of this. Because he does have a plan. I don’t know exactly what it is and sometimes I’m afraid of things I have no power over but I can’t use that as an excuse to rage against the people who don’t think the same way I do. Sometimes sick things need to get worse before they get better. Our immigration policies have failed to keep dangerous people out of our country. How many attacks have we had in the last few years? So the executive order that I read word for word is trying to put a stop to that. It’s stopping a sick policy and trying to make a new one. Obviously, amputations aren’t a first choice but sometimes we need to cut the deadness out to make something new. This is true in our relationship with Christ, right? Am I sad for all the people it’s hurting and making life harder for? Yes, I am. But isn’t Christ bigger than those peoples wounds? This is a question I feel like God keeps asking me about my kids. My kids, like the refugee, who are vulnerable, who need protection, who need shelter, who need to be fed and clothed, who need me to do it. So when I fail to protect them, when I fail to make sure they have what they need, when I fail to keep them safe. When another child molests my child more or less right under my nose, I am devastated. I am outraged. I can’t reconcile. So I rage at my Father and He says don’t you trust me with your child’s wounds? Aren’t I the one who redeems all things for my glory? Isn’t this my story, not the Danielle version you have expectations for in your head? So when the refugee is heartbreakingly turn away for 90 days and perhaps made to provide other credentials, yes I am sad for what pain this is causing in their life but I hear God asking those same questions. Do we trust him with other peoples woundings? Do we trust that he is in control of each individual person’s life and can make whoever needs to be in America, actually get in? Do we trust that this is all His plan ultimately, and ultimately, nothing happens that he isn’t able to redeem for his glory and each person’s benefit?

Seriously, we can’t even have these kinds of conversations on social media….even now I’m imagining all the horrible, twisted, nasty replies I would get for posting something like this. Every vulnerability criticized, every flaw or potential flaw in my perspective or opinion exploited, every single implication picked apart and trounced on. Social media has become our own version of the two minutes of hate ritual. If you aren’t familiar, it’s George Orwell’s 1984 daily ritual where people collectively scream at their screens in rage towards whatever the media is telling them to hate that day. Oh my gosh, that is exactly what we are doing. I’m furious at the media. The constant twisting of facts to support an agenda, the taking of anything and everything possible that could be taken out of context to exploit and hurt people they don’t like, the actuality of false information being purported, or inconclusive information being made into something nasty against their enemies. This isn’t news, this is biased BS. Who is taking the time to seek out primary sources to get the ACTUAL information before making a judgement? Right, we are relying on the news reporters to do that, but with all the hate and fear they are attempting to generated we can’t trust them anymore. We need to be shrewd. We need to stop reading the news until their reporting is balanced again. Until they care about getting to the heart of the truth again. Or we need to seek out new sources who care about those ends.

We need to unplug from social media. If not forever, at least for a time so we can relearn to speak kindly and respectfully to each other about our differences and rage against our Father in prayer about the things we don’t understand or want to change or can’t believe are happening. Social media is a hate ritual for some of us and Satan is loving it. Also, social media is an addiction. It’s a distraction from pursing God and other people in love and fellowship. It used to be a cute place to share pictures and thoughts and connect with those we love but it’s become polluted and we need to put it aside before it becomes the thing that so easily entangles us. The fire that consumes us.
I implore you think of Christ first. If you must participate in social media don’t fuel the hate fire or let others fuel the outrage inside of you. It isn’t worth it. If you think your Christian values justify your hate talk, your hate of someone else, or your evil/anrgy thoughts you are wrong and need go to God with that.

7 Comments

  1. Danielle you went fishing in the world of words, and you hooked a whale of a tome. What is being played out in the vehicles of modern social media, is not new, rather is recurrent in the lives of human beings of every person throughout the history of humanity. It may come to a surprise to you and everyone who knows me, even I can be guilty of inflaming the fires of injustice, or just torching a few small isolated trees in the forest of humanity.
    We need to figure out how we can reach these people and speak God’s words, and our compassion for the injustice of all that this world offers to us. We can pray with them, and point them to healing of Jesus on the Cross, His Birth, Life, Resurrection, and Promise. There is no justice without God.

  2. Hey Danielle-

    I’m guessing since you posted this on the village website you’re looking for a conversation… so I am going to reply- though I am hesitant.

    I think there’s a couple things going on here. It sounds like you’re saying that there are Christians on both sides of the divide and that we aren’t hearing one another- but it also sounds like you’re saying that the left liberal side is the wrong side- the news sources are wrong- the belief about how we should help refugees is wrong- I think you called the system “sick”. But what if I disagree? What if I think the system isn’t sick- or worse perhaps- what if my personal beliefs are that I am not to be protected by or for this country and I don’t want a wall at all? If my allegiance is to Christ- then is my health and safety to be regarded as more important than the health and safety of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? And what does that mean as a citizen of this country with my allegiance to Christ? Those are hypothetical questions.
    I’ll be honest- and you already know this- I don’t have the same political views as you- not at all. But I am willing to do community. But when you say that the information that I may or may not be posting is BS my heart starts beating really fast. David did his honors thesis on Islam and Middle Eastern Studies- he has been to Libya, Syria, Turkey, and Egypt. I studied International Studies- we have been reading about the wars and problems of the middle east for years- this is our passion- this is our speciality. Saying that doesn’t mean that I am unwilling to talk to people who view things differently than me… I am. I think the daily outrage continues because the POTUS has only been in office for 2 weeks and most days he is signing new executive orders that make people upset- and this will continue.
    I guess the most important thing I want to write is this: if you are imploring people to write kind responses to differing views- I am ok with that- I support not offending people personally for their beliefs. If you are imploring people to be “shrewd” and “to unplug” based on your political beliefs and wanting everyone to agree then I am not OK.
    This election is tearing people apart- I agree- and I don’t know how to fix that. I think part of it is that it is hitting us at the core- I fear that if I explain my position here it will stain what I am trying to say… which is this… It would be really easy for me to write you and any Trump supporting person off- it would be easier for me to not be your friend- it would be less painful and it would be less controversial… but the reality is that regardless of how we interpret the Bible and interpret the laws of the country where we live- we are in the same church community. We have chosen that this is a place we both want to worship- to raise our children- to share our joys and struggles. If I am going to openly share my life- it’s going to have political bursts at times- because politics effect my family- if I am going to receive you sharing your life- it’s going to have political bursts at times- because politics effect your family. So I guess what I am offering is this- despite our wildly different political views I am willing to be your sister and your friend – and I would like the same of you.

  3. Danielle, thanks for sharing your thoughts and speaking from your heart. These are tough issues and it can be hard to know how to love each other in the midst of major disagreements, especially when they’re about politics.

    I have a soft spot in my heart for refugees. I spent a year working with Somali refugees in the Tucson community while I was going to the U of A. The family I worked with had seven children, and all but the oldest child lived with the parents in a two-bedroom apartment. Some of the kids had been diagnosed with PTSD and the father walked with a limp because he had been severely beaten while living in the refugee camp in Kenya. I actually credit them partly with my choice to become a believer; I had no idea how to emotionally handle the awfulness that had happened to them, and was faced with the choice to either declare the world as hopeless and give up on it all, or believe that there was hope and pray for God’s blessings over them.

    I read the executive order the day that it came out, and I know what the wording says. I’m not going to list a bunch of facts and figures about why it is or isn’t a good idea. I would be totally open to talking about that with you sometime, but in the end they’re kind of beside the point. The real problem isn’t with what the order says, but that it encourages us to give in to our worst impulses of suspicion and fear, to hunker down and stand idly by while people are suffering and dying. That doesn’t sound like something Jesus would encourage (see Matthew 25:35-40, Luke 10: 25-37).

    Proverbs 28:27 says, “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” I think this is even more true for people in positions of power like our political leaders, and it applies not only to the poor in our own country, but the poor all over the world (perhaps doubly so for those like the Syrians who are under daily threat of death). Anything that involves laying down our lives and taking up the cross is going to be risky. The idea of being a victim of a terrorist attack is very scary, but as you pointed out, the answer to fear isn’t in political policies, it’s in Jesus.

  4. Hey guys,
    Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your stories and hearts. While my beliefs about how government and politics inevitably bled through the point of my post actually has nothing to do with politics. It was a sharing of what God is speaking to my heart about the things going on in my life and a call to be more loving to each other amidst this hard time, esp on Facebook/in the media. I don’t care enough about politics to debate them with people I love because in the end….I don’t have any control over what happens with immigantion or a wall…and neither do you. But I do have control over what I put into my heart and mind concerning what is happening in the world. And I do have control over how I speak to OR about my brothers and sisters (in the village, on Facebook, in political office). Laungage that tears people down, slanders their character, calls names and encourages others to do it too. This is wrong. No matter what.
    I worked with refugees for over a year in college as well…I loved them. I learned from them. They are a valuable part of my life experience. My degree is in intercultural religious studies where I studied all different kinds of cultures, their different religions, laungages and world perspectives. I loved learned and gaining appreciation for people from all over the world. I look forward to seeing America continue to bring people in need in. I also look forward to offering them a safer country than they left because protective measures are being taken.
    I believe in community too. I would never consider politics over friendship or love…. talking about different ideas on how the government should run or what our leaders should be doing differently – great. But arguing, yelling, name calling over these things we have so little control – this is what Jesus is for. Rage to Him, not Facebook, not against others who believe differently than you. He is really the only one who can change, who can redeem, who can take the most unliked and unlikely figures to change the course or history. He did it with the disciples, he can do it now.
    Another thought, if we live in the upside down kingdom, isn’t the most despised person in our culture someone Satan hates. If this is a spiritual war of light and darkness, wouldn’t our lost culture welcome and adore someone who was going to make it sicker? This is Satan’s domain and to see our culture get so hyped up about a single figure, to the point of taking any tiny shred of evidence (and there is plenty) they can use to disrespect, slander, and destroy makes me wonder if God isn’t really at work here and Satan can’t stand it.

  5. Regardless of what side of the political field you play – if your ideas do not align with Gods word you seriously need to rethink your stance. If you claim to be a “Christian” then the Bible should be your source of guidance not the news. My pastor told us last year before the election that with all the uncertainty we need to look at what our selected party stands for. I challenge you all to look at that and if it doesn’t align biblically then you need to ask yourself some serious questions. God gave us brains, common sense and He expects us to use them.

    Romans 13 says He puts all authority in place whether we like them or not. We are to be upstanding and honorable people in His name while we are here.

    Genesis thru Revelation – the whole word – not just the parts that justify our current mood

  6. Tracey- Thanks for your thoughts. I hear what you’re saying- and I agree, we shouldn’t use scripture to justify our current mood- I took what you said to heart and considered if there were verses that would lead me to think about refugees and loving my enemies. I think before I list the verses- which were a blessing for me to read this morning- I’d like to add something that is important to me. I will wait to respond to the Romans 13 passage- I think it’s more complicated than just reading it and not considering what Paul says in Romans 12 – as well as- many other passages in the Bible. I should add (just for my own defense)- there are no saints in politics- no one is going to lead the country as God would have it led- our political system is totally broken and unfortunately very influenced by power and money. I actually read this really great article yesterday that I posted on a different thread on the Village website- I’ll post it here now. It compares the original Acts 2 church to the modern church. I found it really humbling and I encourage everyone to read it. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/4-ways-modern-church-looks-nothing-early-church

    I think a good question to ask ourselves in terms of authority- is whose authority do we listen to when our values of faith are tested? My husband and I lived in Burundi, Africa for a time. Burundi was also a victim horrible genocide like her sister country, Rwanda. There are stories of the missionaries risking their lives to drive out Christians of opposite tribes to the safer places of Kenya. Were the missionaries wrong to disobey the governing authority or were they under God’s protection? I think of the Holocaust and the many who hid Jews in their homes to protect them. These 2 examples are extreme- but the question remains- when we see injustice- must we obey the president or are we allowed (and I would say encouraged) under the authority of God to stand up to it? I can’t answer that question for you- but I can say that I can only hope and pray that if and when I am in that kind of situation I will defend the defenseless in the name of Jesus- be it Christian, or Jew, or Muslim, or any other religion- and may they know the great value- the richness- the depth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Here are some of the verses I considered when thinking of the issues I previously named:

    Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:33-34

    He makes sure that orphans and widows are treated fairly; he loves the foreigners who live with our people, and gives them food and clothes. So then, show love for those foreigners, because you were once foreigners in Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:18-19

    “Long ago I gave these commands to my people: ‘You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need.” Zechariah 7:9

    I am the Lord, and I consider all people the same, whether they are Israelites or foreigners living among you. Numbers 15:16

    See that justice is done – help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows.
    Isaiah 1:17

    If you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.Isaiah 58:10

    Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

    “Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.” Luke 3:11

    The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4: 7-10

    My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,”4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2: 1-4

    Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

    In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. Col 3:11

    “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
    Matthew 5:44

    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.
    Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    Taken from Romans 12

    If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.
    Proverbs 25: 21-22

    “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
    Luke 6:35

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
    Matthew5: 8-12

    Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.
    Proverbs 20:22

    And my favorite:

    He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
    Micah 6:8

  7. I should add- it might seem like the verses are a reflection of my current mood– I think the fragility of refugees and enemies is that they aren’t a current theme- they are a constant theme. Refugees and enemies are considered all over the Bible. God never says- be afraid of what the poor or the foreigner might do to you- he always tells us to help them- to welcome them- and we don’t know if we are entertaining angels or offering communion to Judas- only Jesus knows. But the point is obedience- regardless of our safety and our fears. Scripture is clear, from beginning to end, about how to treat the foreigner, the refugee- and scripture is clear when Jesus comes- that we should love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and look to God.

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