“What can you do about it?”
“Don’t worry, it’s part of God’s plan.”
“Focus on the things that you can control.”
As someone that goes to church and agonizes over current events (and their intersection with the church), I often hear statements like the ones above when trying to discuss challenging topics.
Don’t get me wrong, aside from the deeply-problematic MAGA portion of the evangelical base, there are indeed packets of engaged, concerned people, but they tend to stay relatively silent, only speaking in private groups, and for the most part unwilling to do too much public boat rocking.
The overall message to those expressing concerns is to pat them on the head and remind them that God’s in the driver’s seat. While this goal of reducing stress among individuals and tension between church members is commendable and generally fine advice, it not only leads people to pay less attention (at the worst possible time!), but also doesn’t explore the possibility that God’s plan might actually be to shine a light on sinful behavior, and use dissenting voices as a force for positive change.
Not only that, but the ability to “check out” of current events is something that many people don’t have the luxury of doing.
As we prepare to celebrate MLK day (and the stances he took that caused deep discomfort in his time), I sincerely pray that we double down on having hard conversations, stay more informed, curious and engaged than ever, and trust that God’s love for the marginalized is unending.