Speechless

It’s been months since I’ve written an Intersection blog and I’m feeling a bit guilty about that. There are several good reasons but there are even more bad excuses. At least something inside is finally strong enough to nudge me to write. I guess something inside me is needing to get out, to find expression. Maybe that’s what writing does for us: it frees thoughts and feelings that are locked within us and allows them to take on a life of their own.

I have to admit the things locked up within me have been mostly negative. As I watch the antics of this president and his minions, the ineptitude of this Congress, the unfaithfulness of the American Evangelical Church, I realize I have been made speechless. As I listen to the cries of the children and their parents at our southern border, I realize there are no words for such unspeakable wickedness and callousness.

But I am also coming to realize I have no excuse for remaining silent. It took me years to find my voice, to find my way into a pulpit. So now, having a voice, having the power to speak and the privilege of a platform creates a certain responsibility. Therefore I will remember those who have no voice, whose power to speak has been thwarted. I will honor those whose pain remains locked within them and whose cries for justice suffer a grievous stillbirth.

In the ancient Scriptures of my faith, there are numerous stories about reluctant prophets.

Moses argued with the Voice from the burning bush; “I cannot speak,” he complained. “I will be with you,” the mysterious I AM assured him from the Holy Fire.

Isaiah crumpled into a woeful heap when confronted with the heavenly call: “I cannot speak,” he wailed; “I am not worthy.” A heavenly being touched a burning coal to his lips and purified them, prepared him for the task at hand.

The Pentecost story shows the unschooled, unsophisticated Christ-followers speaking words that pierced every barrier of misunderstanding. “Tongues of fire” empowered them to speak to both slaves and kings with a confident courage.

All these stories remind me that reluctant prophets have been around for a long time and my fears are nothing unusual. But what is not usual in these odd days are voices of hope and courage and justice.

There are some outspoken advocates, thank God.

Rev. William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign

Michael Gerson’s bold critique and challenge to his fellow conservatives

The Reclaiming Jesus Movement

Jim Wallis and Sojourners

But America needs more and more voices to join together in order to counteract the damaging bully pulpit of our Twitter in Chief. More voices to balance the unfaithful pulpits of a perverted American Christianity. More voices across every faith tradition as well as neighbors of no-faith need to speak together, to speak as one. Every single one of us must find our courage in conversations with our friends and families to speak up and speak out.

In Dr. Seuss’s little book, Horton Hears a Who, it took every Who in Whoville lifting their voices all together in order to be heard. And it turned out that one little voice made a difference.

So now I’m back, adding my one little voice and finding my courage to give birth to words of justice and hope. And I will be depending on the same Holy Fire in which the ancestors of my faith trusted.

What about you? Are you fired up and ready to go?

 

Photo credit John Moore/Getty Images

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Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She is a retired minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and and national president for Coffee Party USA. Charlotte is an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also blogs about Scripture from a progressive Christian approach in her Living in The Story Musings.

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