I have been grieved for a long time about the direction of Christianity. At the core, the faith provides a message of love, justice, and equity that can be extremely transformative to the nature of humanity. Yet like many faith traditions, it is found to be misused in the name of maintaining status quo bigotry, injustice, and inequality alive. The expression of the message of the Gospel has taken a back seat to the rise of platform religion. What am I talking about?
Consider for a moment the climate of our society today. Most people today are being pushed to take sides in arguments that have existed for ages. It appears that more causes have risen due to the nature of social media and extended platforms of media. People are taking the opportunity to speak on more subject matter than ever before. The Internet has become the hub for an overabundance of information and a suffocating place for truth. More individuals fuss and fight to prove that a certain idea is right at the risk of denying the sanctity of thought and process.
What has know become more evident in church life is the desire to reflect society through setting up platforms rather than speak truth to power. As a young man who grew up in the prophetic preaching tradition of the African American church, it bothers me to see individuals take liberty to preach platform over truth. Yes, a person should question the nature of their national leaders. The Office of the President is always going to be seen as the office of Pharaoh by me as long as the suffering of maligned is monetized and profitable to the greedy. We ought to be able to speak truth to power regardless of who is in position.
At the same time, we must stop taking on the characteristics of institutions that we can not stand always. At some point, living out our most holy faith must begin with real engagement with the Word we declare to follow. It should never take a vote for me to love my neighbor. It should never take an act to demonstrate the love of God to anyone that comes my way. I should never worry about my reputation if my witness is help the least of these. My preoccupation in life should not be governed by a platform, but by God Almighty.
When my faith can be reduced to the argument over gun owner, I have chosen to serve the platform. When you can judgmental about people still eating meat while you have chosen to be vegan, your commitment is to the platform. When you political affiliation covers your ability to see the hurting, you serve at the will of the platform. No one can serve two masters. No one can serve at the pleasure of more than one entity without neglecting the other.
The introspective, contemplative believer will always be challenged to live openly regarding the message of Christ. The same believer is being pressed on every side to choose a platform ultimately reducing their faith to one idea. Chris Rock stated in a stand-up special that nobody is one thing. The faith of a Christian has many elements that when rooted in God gives a unique perspective to the movement of the Kingdom of God within the earth.
Until we return to a genuine engagement with God, we can’t stand to show the world the power of an ignited witness. The debates will remain. The love will not be present. Our witness will not bear under the weight of discord. We must be determined to fight for a day where our relationship with God will dictate how we truly engage the world and transform lives.