These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace… -Zechariah 8:16
It’s true. I didn’t want to write this blog. I’m one of those folks who gets really excited about things at the outset and then has a tendency to veer off once I have achieved a thing. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. So there was probably a rush of want-to when I started this blog, but shortly after, I didn’t want to write it anymore.
Because I have never been one to speak about my faith beyond acknowledging that I am, indeed, a believer. I’m not a billboard type when it comes to my faith. I’m not a “Have a blessed day!” kind of person either. Have a GREAT DAY! Have a wonderful day! Not a blessed day. Christianese makes my butt pucker sometimes. My faith has always been deeply personal. At times it’s been beyond shaky, but it’s always been there in some regard.
As a Christian, I hear guidance from God. “Hear” is just a stand-in for: receive, believe in, am compelled by, etc. A good example is the first big “I don’t want to” probably that came to me in high school. I was stuck in a class full of the folks I grew up with, Home Economics, to be exact, and somehow we got onto the topic of AIDS, which in what would’ve been 1996 or so, was not a thing many people talked about in a civil manner.
My arch nemesis, a guy I did not like in school, said something to the effect of, “AIDS people should be rounded up and thrown out of planes.” Because he was eloquent.
HIV/AIDS education was one of my earliest “callings”. I felt compelled to speak out and care about it, and this was the first time in a classroom of my peers that I was compelled to do so. I knew some great men growing up who were battling AIDS, whose families were targeted because of the disease, or who hid their diagnosis from their families for YEARS because they didn’t want their lives and jobs to be ruined. That was a formative thing for me to know and experience as a young person.
In that moment that my classmate spewed his vitriol, I had to make a decision to talk or not. I began to speak, tears streaming down my face, and tell my friends’ stories…how they’d been targets, how they’d been shamed, how one was close to his last days, while the other continued to struggle in his uphill battle. How they were humans. Just people. Like us.
In that moment, I had a choice, but I didn’t. I had God tickling the back of my brain and pushing me to do the thing. I didn’t want to.
I didn’t want to write this blog. I didn’t want to lay my faith bare the most and for the first time in 2018 under a ridiculous, damaging, hypocrite, demagogue president; during a rising tide of radicalism, home-grown American capitalist idolatry, neo-Nazism, and violence.
But I have to. When is there a more necessary time? God is tickling the back of my brain and telling me to speak. We have to listen. We have to compromise. We have to be uncomfortable. We have to love better.