Our world is crumbling.
And for writers like myself, stories like Orlando and Dallas provide us with content for days. We’re like vultures. Or is it just me?
But what do we do after we click “publish” and share it a few times with our closest 1,500 friends on social media? Do we really care? Does it really matter? Are we going to do anything?
And the answer is a resounding “hell no”. By my silence and inaction, I prove that I really don’t care. I wonder how many other Christians are just like me? I haven’t done anything since Orlando. Those people are still dead. And I still sleep soundly at night.
I haven’t checked on my friend Kevin Garcia in at least two weeks. His prediction was right. We’ve moved on. We had never done anything to reach the gay community before the Pulse shooting, but suddenly we seemed to care. We wept and wailed and mourned on social media. And now? We’re done. It’s no longer in the news cycle. Last week was Dallas and in a few days, the vigils will be over and we’ll be writing about the next tragedy that sweeps our broken nation.
I hate to sound so insensitive. But I have been numbed. Maybe it’s the media. Or maybe it’s the fact that we do live in a broken world and we don’t care like we used to. We’re connected via social media, but we don’t allow ourselves to connect in tangible ways with vulnerability and make that phone call or write that card or inconvenience ourselves enough to drive two hours out of our way to check on a friend.
Because we’re not just sorry excuses for Christians, we’re sorry excuses for human beings.
We can do better. We can be better. We can love better.
Honestly, I’m ashamed of myself. But I don’t intend for this to be a shaming. I want it to be a call to action. I want to turn this heavy load of survivor’s guilt into something helpful.
I look up from my cozy corner of the coffee shop and the heavens are crying. The parking lot is soaked with the tears of a broken-hearted God who is as sick of our lip service as the black community, the gay community, and all the others who have heard our empty and rehearsed phrases long enough.
I’m a Christian and I am fully aware of the disheartening truth that our words mean nothing to so many. They’ve heard it all. Those who are hurting in this world know they can count on us to continue to let them down. To continue to talk a great talk, but sit our asses on our pews on Sunday and forget our commitments to love the least of these by the time we clock-in Monday morning.
Hurting people have bet against us behind closed doors. And if God were a betting man, I think He’d cast lots against us, too. We’re so damn predictable.
Instead of saying, “I’m sorry for your loss,” let’s show up at a vigil. Instead of “Peace to you, my friend,” let’s lock arms with our queer neighbors at the next Pride parade. Instead of “Let us know if we can do anything,” let’s write a letter or donate money to the family of Michael Krohl, or Brent Thompson, or Amanda Alvear, or Kimberly Morris.
I can start by taking a gay friend out to lunch, just to show him how much I value his life and cherish our time together. I can thank a police officer, or buy them a cup of coffee. I can hug my black co-worker and tell them I am grieving for their community, because they are part of my community. I can donate blood or plasma. I can write letters to my congressmen that support gun control legislation.
We can all do something. I must do something. Will you join me?
*To donate to Equality Florida’s GoFundMe Campaign, click here.
*Check out Concerns of Police Officers for ways to support families of slain officers.
*If you have other ideas or resources, please leave them in the comments.
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Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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