“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
– Jesus (John 13:34-35)
Women’s ministries are known for a lot of things, both good and bad–discipleship, self-help, retreats, fellowship, crying, and the list goes on. One thing that women’s ministries are NOT known for is taking vocal stands on current events. We tend to leave that to our sisters in the feminist movement.
I am often guilty of this. I focus a lot on theology and discipleship in this blog. I don’t frequently take a side on controversial hot topics because of how heavily they are politicized. And while this avoidance stems out of a desire for prudence and wisdom, I don’t want to hide behind this practice when the time comes to speak boldly and with conviction about current events.
This week is one of those times at which I feel burdened to take a stand. The issue is the church in Gainesville that plans to burn Qurans on 9/11. And before I go on any further I first want to state clearly and unequivocally what I believe every Christian (men and women alike) should be stating without hesitation:
This is wrong.
Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are struggling to take a firm stance on this. Why? Because of the church members’ rights as Americans. This morning as I drove to school I heard a Christian radio DJ discuss the issue, weighing the church members’ rights against their Christian obligations. As I listened I kept waiting for her to assume a definitive stance, and perhaps I was expecting too much–she probably would have gotten in a lot of trouble for taking a stand on behalf of the entire radio station.
Even so, this battle between our American and Christian identities is troubling to me. We seem to have lost sight of the fact that we are always Christians FIRST, and Americans second (or third, or fourth or fifth). And because this particular situation involves people who claim to represent Christ, then our primary mode of operation is that of the church. This is an issue of Christian accountability. Were it to happen in your own church or community, it would be a matter of church discipline. Just because people have the right to commit adultery does not mean we stand for it in our midst. And neither should we now.
Yesterday I heard a professor at my current school express a desire for Christians across the country to write their local newspapers issuing a strong repudiation of this act. I agree. In fact, a professor from my former seminary did just that. You can read his wonderfully gentle and articulate response here.
However you respond to this issue, know that your voice matters. Your co-workers, your neighbors, and your fellow students are all watching for your response. And your silence indicates one of two things: agreement, or apathy.
So at a moment when God’s reputation is on the line and the world is confused about who Jesus is and what it means to follow him, I have to ask how you are responding: In loving rebuke, silent assent, or with confusion over the location of your primary identity? However you respond, know that your voice DOES matter. Being a faithful Christian woman means defending Christ in love and gentleness, but also with passion and boldness.