Things unsaid can cause damage, too…

April 20, 2021

In his post today, Pastor Freed used this quote in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“Always ask yourself what will happen if I say nothing.”  (Kamand Kojouri)

Paster Freed went on to write – Each of us has probably found ourself in a situation where…(“I should have kept my mouth shut -.or -Why didn’t I speak up when I had the opportunity?)  One of my favorite Bible passages is Ecclesiastes 3…”There’s a time for everything.  There’s a time to speak up…and a time to shut up.”  (Ed -Actually the Bible verse says a time to speak and a time to remain silent.)

I have a sign on my front lawn that is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. – “Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about things that matter.”

The point of King’s message and the answer to Kojouri’s quote is that there are consequences associated with remaining quiet, not speaking up or taking action when we witness things that are wrong. That is not to say that it is right to go out into the streets and participate in lawless riots. The looting and burning that we have witnessed in the aftermath of recent racially charge police killings is not the action that either King or Kojouri were alluding to either. They are not a part of the solution and just detract from making progress on solving problems like police brutality by a few rouge officers.

The leaders (inspirational or otherwise) of all great movements in history have been those who chose to speak up about things that mattered and that were wrong. In most cases they were not out rioting in the streets, but rather out there to raise their voices in protest and to demand change (or justice). Many of them, in fact, spoke quietly but forcefully. Many endured hardships or imprisonment (Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela come to mind), but they continued to speak out against the wrongs that they saw in their countries and societies.

In many news casts one sees people of all colors joining in protest against some injustice or wrong that they have seen against a person of a specific color or ethnicity. Those people answered the question that Kojouri asked by deciding that doing nothing was not an answer acceptable to them. Doing nothing  is an answer that does not often lead to change. Just deciding that you won’t go to a planned anti-gay rally is not an action that will cause change. Going to be part of a counter-group to stand in protest of that rally, and the thoughts behind it, is an action which may either change minds or at least show support of the opposite view and the people being targeted.

It is important to ask yourself the question that Kojouri raised and to adopt the philosophy that King espoused when the answer is that the thing that you are considering really matters. There are many things in life upon which you may wish to remain neutral and here will be no harmful consequences, like choosing between Right or Left Twix, for instance. However there are also many things which you may try avoid taking a stance on that can, and do, impact your life and the lives of others; often in ways that you don’t initially understand. It is easy to say to yourself, “This doesn’t impact me, so I will stay out of it.” That is that attitude and inaction that encourages bullying, for instance.

So keep your mind and your options open when you encounter things that don’t seem right to you. Determine if this is something that matters to you or to others around you and ask yourself the question that Kojouri asked. When you have determined that it is something that matters, I think the answer to Kojouri’s question will come easily to you and silence or inaction will no longer be an option.


Time to move our feet…

January 31, 2017

You can think it. You can say it. You can pray it. But, unless you get up and do it, nothing changes. These two quotes, both from the Jack’s Wining Words blog, but which were posted weeks apart seem to go together and seem to be especially appropriate right now.

“Optimism for me isn’t a passive expectation that things will get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better.”  (Melinda Gates)

“When you pray, move your feet.”  (African Proverb)

We have been thrust into times that demand more of us that just sitting by optimistically hoping and praying that things get better.

Over the weekend groups of people were suddenly been thrust into an unfavorable spotlight for no other reason that where they came from when they came (or tried to come) to America. It was more than just a coincidence that they also happen to mainly praying-muslimshave religious beliefs that are different from those in power here right now. The picture of them on their knees, shoes off, bowed down and praying in an airport is apparently frightening to those who see their religion as a threat. Of course these same “leaders” see people pursuing different lifestyles as a threat, too; enough so that they spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pass laws about what they can and cannot do, with whom and where they can do it.

Those of us who may not have yet joined one side or the other in the happenings around us now find it more and more difficult to sit idly by watching the reports on TV of others who are out and moving their feet in public places in protest to what is happening. The same was true in the 60’s when the Civil Rights movement showed us the dark underbelly of racism and bigotry. Eventually enough people got off their couches and moved their feet to get the attention of those in power. When they did change happened. Recently not enough people moved their feet to keep someone from power that everyone thought shouldn’t be, couldn’t be and wouldn’t be elected to lead the country – #POTUS.

Now we are faced with the need to mobilize and move our feet to prevent the destruction protest-marchof the very values that made America the great country that it is. Instead of continuing to welcome newcomers who will carry forward the wonderful story of success that our diverse history is based upon, the new leaders are trying to shut off the flow of people who strive to be a part of the American Dream. They would have us build walls instead of bridges. They would single out and discriminate against whole nations of people because of their religious beliefs. Where have we seen that idea before?

The really ironic thing is that our new leaders don’t even represent the majority of the population. The majority voted for the other candidate. The very system that was invented to protect the minorities from smaller states, in fact worked to propel the minority into leadership. One has to believe that if the majority got better organized and moved their feet more, change could be effected. In as little as two years enough change is possible in the Legislative branch of our government to stop the insanity currently being wrecked upon, or proposed for, America. In the meantime, there needs to be a vigilant and constant effort in the courts to thwart the most outrageous moves by the current leaders.

This too shall pass; but it will not pass without considerable pain and damage unless enough of the majority in America move their feet and get out on the streets in protest and into court to challenge and into the voting booths next time, to cause change. Yes, we should still pray about it, but we should move our feet, too.