So I’m deeply worried about the future of this country

I’ve had two social media interactions tonight that deeply concern me for the future of this country.

Facebook : This past Friday, I criticized the Trump/Pence proposal to apply a “Do you support Sharia?” test to Muslims — those who want to enter the country and those who already are American citizens — and reject/deport any who answer yes. I said I thought that is a doubly ignorant position because (a) the First Amendment forbids taking action against American citizens because of their religion and (b) any sincere Muslim, even the most “moderate,” believes in Sharia the way Christians believe in the kingdom of God. That conversation has been ongoing through the weekend, and tonight I had one Christian friend who responded by saying he not only supported such a test, but he also considers support of Sharia to be treason that should be punished appropriately. The punishment for treason, by the way, is death. You can see that discussion here.

Twitter : On the other end of the spectrum, when delegates to the Republican National Convention applauded the acquittal of Lt. Brian Rice in the Freddie Gray case, a young editor at a Christian publishing house reacted by saying “Wait, are they celebrating that Freddie Gray’s killers got acquitted?” When I challenged him about “innocent until proven guilty,” he stood by his labeling Brian Rice a killer even when a judge concluded there was insufficient evidence to convict him. He said, “I think that trusting our justice system is a mistake when that justice system is unjust.” So, not only does he reject presumption of innocence, his presumes the system is unjust. He apparently is satisfied with what he has heard in the media as grounds for conviction and, presumably, appropriate punishment. (If I am mistaken, he is welcome to register a correction here. On Twitter, he called me a troll and blocked me. You can see that brief interaction here.)

I don’t want to diminish anyone. I hate division and argument. And maybe I’missing something, and I need you to help me understand. But if this is any indication of the mindset in our country, I see very little hope even for civil discussion, much less justice.

We need a revolution, but not the kind Bernie and Donald have been promoting. We need a love-your-neighbor revolution. We need to get away from our keyboards and go meet someone from the other side of the tracks. We need to make friends with people who live in a different world and ask God to show us how to establish his kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.”

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If I’m watching injustice from the sidelines …

Amos 5 tells us God’s people were worshiping enthusiastically: celebrating holidays, giving offerings, singing loudly to the Lord. But God said, “Your worship stinks! Be quiet!”

Why? Because poor folks were being trampled and good people oppressed. Because officials were taking bribes, instead of doing what was right. And because prudent people were keeping quiet about it.

My personal life may be morally straight and my worship picture-perfect, but the Lord is holding his nose if I’m watching injustice from the sidelines. I offer him my puddle of righteousness, when he wants a river of justice sweeping through my community.

Do you feel awkward about going “over there” to help? Maybe like a Samaritan crossing into a Jewish neighborhood? The Lord won’t see Kingdom River rising like he wants unless we take our puddle “over there” and let the Lord multiply it for thirsty souls.

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