A Guest Post by fellow Evangelicals4Justice Member, Drew Miller:
In an intimate conversation between Jesus and his disciples, just before Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times, Jesus asks Peter, “Will you lay down your life for me?” As Jesus’ crucifixion approaches, his question to Peter becomes reality, and the people who know of Jesus or his movement must make a choice—to suffer and die with Jesus, or to slip away in fear and passivity—to welcome Christ, or to reject Christ.
Peter is certainly not the only one to face this decision. Judas must choose to betray Christ or not; the high priests must choose between power and mercy; Pilate must choose the approval of the people or trust his own conscience. These individuals, however, do not stand alone in their decision-making, but amongst one of the strongest but often overlooked characters in Scripture—the crowd. As Jesus stands before Pilate, it is not Pilate who truly holds power—it is the raging crowd before him that demands for the freedom of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus.
When looking back on the crowd’s decision, it is easy to see how wrong it was until we begin to ask where we stand amongst the crowd in our time. In the case of Ferguson and the grand jury’s decision on Darren Wilson, most of us stand in the crowd, waiting to see what the grand jury and the state may do while we decide what we must do. All eyes are on the jury, yet many of us who are watching realize that the real power does not reside in Governor Nixon or the grand jury, but in us. Just as it is the crowd who sways Pilate to crucify Jesus, so it is we who can determine whether or not justice comes in Ferguson and everywhere where racism exists. As bell hooks writes, “Whether or not any of us become racists is a choice we make. And we are called to choose again and again where we stand on the issue of racism in different moments of our lives.” Today, we have another choice. The grand jury is under the spotlight, but we are all responsible.
I’m so glad to feature fellow Redbud, Dorothy Greco, sharing reflections on thanking God in light of our frailties.
When our youngest turned one, a virus took up residence in my body and refused to be evicted. After two months, it morphed. I suddenly needed to sleep for ten, twelve, sometimes even fourteen hours a day. Unrelenting, debilitating pain became my new normal. After two years of scans, scopes, and visits with specialists, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. One year later, celiac disease was added to that list.
The chronic health issues have impacted every aspect of life: my work as a photographer, my parenting, our marital intimacy, my sleep (or lack thereof), traveling, eating out, etc. That’s a lot of loss. Though I continue to ask God to remove this thorn from my flesh, I am now thankful for this broken body.
I’m so thankful that Megan Westra has agreed to write about a topic in which we both care deeply about. Thanks for this contribution, Megan!:
Evangelical Christians often champion the ‘sanctity of life.’ This phrase typically refers only to abortion. Many Evangelicals argue that a culture that allows legal abortion does not truly value human life. While many Evangelicals have fought against abortion for decades, we have yet to see a movement that expands the idea of ‘sanctity of life’ to fighting for the ‘quality of life.’ If we truly believe that all life is sacred, then the logical conclusion is that once a life is born we continue to fight for that life to have equal opportunities to live up to its potential.* – Nicole Baker Fulgham
When I think about the disparities in the education system, I don’t just think about how some schools succeed and others fail, I think about the ways that our perceptions skew which schools are capable of success or failure. How the way we perceive certain students or certain neighborhoods determines whether or not we ascribe value and sacredness to their lives.