In reading an article in the St. Louis American earlier this month, there was a quote given by a local shero of mine, that was jarring. Not because it wasn’t accurate, it was because someone had finally said it:
“Clergy, if you are not preaching resistance in this city, you are not preaching.”
When I read that, my spirit leaped. Why? It leaped because it was something I had said to those in the faith community for a year or more. There are those in the local community at large whom are on shaky ground with their faith because this Christ that flipped tables is not often seen in churches here in St. Louis. And certainly not on a consistent basis.
In this community, especially in matters of social change or even upheaval, the clergy have a position that pivots. We have an authority that echoes. We have the ability to speak truth to power and to protect. We can no longer stand by because it is comfortable. Nothing about change is comfortable to the point of being advantageous.
Resistance is one of the reasons why Christianity has remained two millennia later. Resistance is one of the reasons why we grow, grow out of, and grow into.
There must be an awakening of local clergy, of the North American church(!!), because the sheep need us. There are too many whom look for God and have been found wanting. We cannot afford to do that anymore.
We must be able to be found among the sheep. We must be able to protect and instruct, yes, but we must be able to discern the times we are in as well. We must also band together as a community of faith, communities of interfaith, to be able to be a social anchor to those that indeed are warriors in need of direction (or Joshuas, Calebs, Jaels, Davids, etc).
We must no longer look at those in activism or who identify themselves as activists or being involved as something undesirable. What has encouraged me was the awakening of local clergy in St. Louis, one in particular that has inspired me is Pastor Larita Rice. She calls the political activism she is involved with, and encourages others to be involved with, disruptive grace.
I love that. DISRUPTIVE GRACE.
It’s that same disruptive grace that should inspire churches and its leadership to speak out and to be safe houses and sources of training and refuge. The clergy were never meant to be these ivory tower people, beyond work or knowledge.
The community of faith is supposed to be this dynamic entity with rhythm and strength–becoming that one body but many members, as described in 1st Corinthians. We can no longer be silent about what is going on.
If we are silent in times that matter, we are suspect every time we speak.