If you haven’t seen or heard of the #enditmovement, I’d encourage you to check it out. Louie Giglio championed and positioned thousands of college students and young leaders at Passion Conference (45,000+) to shine a light on slavery and commit to being “in it” to “end it.” I wasn’t even at the conference, but have seen a plethora of friends joining in to bring a light on the modern day slavery issues all over the world. Here’s a brief video to familiarize yourself.
Don’t be lazy. Go back and watch it.
Recently, the enditmovement beckoned for people to draw a red x on their hand in an effort to show their commitment to end slavery. I did what any normal human being would do when they see something trendy: Imma go check that out.
Pardon my Kanye.
On the one hand, I’m grateful I have passionate friends about addressing what President Barack Obama called, “barbaric and evil,” something that, “has no place in the civilized world.” However, on the other, I hope as we learn to go beyond raising awareness. I was challenged to go beyond the red x.
At the heart of Christianity is a just God. This is the centerpiece of this holy discontent (even if you don’t like to talk of God’s justice). In essence, Christians shouldn’t tolerate injustice because God doesn’t tolerate injustice. Allowing this tragedy to continue and being passive is inconsistent with biblical theology. To an even greater extent, to choose to be ignorant of the issue is cowardly. Hardly Christian at all.
It’s interesting to consider the buzz and hype that surrounds this issue within Christianity and the Jesus of the Bible. Numerous times people would gather around him in awe of miraculous works or curiosity from the buzz of what he’d done in the previous town. Whether you like or hate Jesus, the man knew how to draw a crowd. Think about the perplexity of thousands of followers in a pre-twitter, pre-facebook, pre-youtube, pre-Al Gore’s “invented internet” world.
Not only is that much more difficult, there was much more risk involved for them to follow Jesus around and listen to his teachings. Some were risking time working on their trade (and making money), others had reoriented schedules and/or family plans, and still others spent money to follow where Jesus went. Further, the man disrupted communities anywhere he went. To associate with him wasn’t exactly the best way to gain friends. Most people were probably curious, just like I was about the red x. You’d give him a facebook like, twitter follow, or at least youtube hit today. Think about it. The guy raised a dead guy and restored vision in blind men. Can you imagine the vine video that gets posted as Lazarus pops out? Or the Snapchat photo of the blind man who has his sight restored? Some selfie that would be.
The thing about Jesus, though, is the lack of middle ground he demands. There’s a passage in Luke that is most challenging where Jesus says (paraphrase), “I am the absolute authority and love of your life. Anything above me is not in its proper place.” He includes parents, children, siblings, and even one’s self in this list of things that don’t belong as absolute authority [I could stop writing for some people here]. The Message (A paraphrased bible translation) concludes the passage with, “If you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.”
It is understandable then, that the excited people left. Jesus wasn’t joking around. He divided those who were on the fringe. He eliminated the curious. What’s so terribly challenging is that anything less than putting Jesus [God] in this absolute authoritative place isn’t following Jesus.
…and there are more passages like this one.
Pattern: A Huge crowd. Jesus teaches. People peace out.
Teaching was perceived to be too difficult.
Let’s get real:
It’s way too easy to tweet (retweet) about injustice. It’s far too simple to post a status update. Jesus was demanding people’s lives be about the things of God.
I’ll confess. I haven’t been one to champion the #enditmovement.
…Not because I don’t have a desire to see the end of slavery…but because I know I’m not doing anything about it with my life right now (therefore, I am wrong). I’m writing this post because I want to participate. I want you to participate with me. However, I don’t just want it to be hype or buzz. It’s too easy to be a part of that. What I want to do is find ways to integrate my life into helping stop the injustice of slavery. I’m convinced that it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. If God is just and I’m pursing the things of God, it is absolutely worth my time.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.