As you wander around the exhibit area at a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, you find yourself involved in many types of conversations. Some are times to reconnect with friends and colleagues. Others are opportunities to share what you are doing now and how it might benefit the person with whom you are talking. Sometimes it is a time for a person to “dump” some of the stresses they are feeling to someone they trust.
The latter would probably describe a conversation with a pastor friend who shared with me some of the challenges he is facing in his current church. One of the big issues is division associated with the current Presidential campaign and (what he termed) the reactionary stance taken by people he thought to be reasonable, stable individuals.
He summed it up by saying, “It’s your generation. They are the ones who are inflexible and reactionary.” I accepted his observation with grace, too tired at that point to argue that he shouldn’t condemn a whole generation due to his own experience. In light of what is happening in our nation today, I have revisited his comment and have started to wonder if his assessment is accurate.
As we are confronted with issues such as white privilege, disregard for black lives, coarse political discourse, and growing division in our society, I have to ask myself if we have done enough. Have we carried through on the potential for change that energized our generation in the 60’s and 70’s.
As an individual, I have sought to promote racial justice in employment where I have had the opportunity to make those decisions. I have encouraged my children and grandchildren to treat everyone with respect and challenged them when they did not. I have worked within my “tribe” and my church to promote diversity, acceptance, and justice. But is it enough?
When I was in seminary, my ethics professor said that Micah 6:8 was the apex of the ethical teaching of the Hebrew Bible:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” (NIV)
This is not as easy it seems. May God give me understanding about how to do this.