I’ve been resisting the urge to post any kind of commentary regarding recent world events: Paris, Lebanon, Syria, Japan, just to name a few—but I find myself full of words and thoughts desperately seeking a platform.
Remaining silent was no longer an option.
Our world is devastated. We are in a global state of mourning.
During the London bombings years ago, I was living maybe a mile or so from one of the attack sites. What resonated quite deeply with me was the immediate sense of community. Citizens and non-citizens organically came together to demonstrate support to strangers and loved ones a like. For a very brief time, religion, color, gender, ethnicity: none of it mattered. We were one.
However, it didn’t take long for this sense of urgent love to evaporate, and the same anti-Muslim rhetoric resurfaced. It’s a pattern I’ve seen since 9/11, and I suspect it is not one that will change any time soon.
However, what strikes me as interesting is that many of the same individuals that I consistently see espousing the love and compassion of Jesus Christ, are the very same individuals who are calling for the hatred, the rejection, even the extermination of all Muslims. This distresses me on a number of levels, the least of which points me in the direction of Christianity’s own tragic history. The KKK, the Crusades, Inquisitors; Or how about the tens of thousands of Muslims that fled Christian Extremists in Africa not two years ago? What about them? Many Christians will say that these groups and events do not represent the true spirit of Christianity. They are radicals. They aren’t “Real Christians.”
How interesting that those who operate under the banner of Jesus can be so quick to claim grace for themselves, and leave so little for others.
This world has become sick. Angry, sad, and enraged individuals are being nurtured globally. Perhaps this is less about various religions, or the name for which they stand. Perhaps this has more to do with how we have evolved as a species, who we have become, and the unwillingness to let go of dogma.
Make no mistake, my intent is not to pick on Christianity.
I was raised in the church my entire life and so I speak from a place of familiarity, as opposed to a place of opposition.
To that end, whether you are welcoming refugees with open arms, or you want the government to “take care of our own” first—what are you doing about it? What actions lay behind your words? I want to challenge everyone, globally, to think about what it means to #BeTheChange. If you feel the government needs to take care of our own, then by all means: volunteer at a soup kitchen, help homeless individuals get warm clothes through the freezing winter, donate your time to help amputees and veterans. There’s a thousand ways that you can help “our own” without creating further conflicts between us.
Equally, if you’re like me and you want to help the refugees however you can, find out what your local community is doing to support individuals and families that will be arriving in your area. Many towns and cities are setting up programs to help in various facets of life such as adjusting to new social customs, child care, and others.
There are countless ways to help fellow human beings—not because it’s the Christmas season or because it’s what’s trending on social media right now, but because the need is there. We are all temporary residents of this planet…it’s about time we learned to live together.
Author: Lindsay Thomas
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wiki Commons