“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself,” Bonhoeffer Life Together
I wonder how many of us are bold enough to drive a spoke into the wheels of injustice. Forget the spoke, how many of us are courageous enough to open our eyes to the realities of injustice happening around us? More than opening our eyes, whom of us will realize that our personal methodical rhythms of life encourage and sustain socially acceptable injustices every day?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act,” Bonhoeffer The Cost of Discipleship
What convicting words. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
What is the spoke that will utterly derail the wheels of injustice in our city? I think it is you and me. It is easy to bandage the wounds of the homeless by providing a couple of dollars here and there. It is easy to momentarily assuage the troubles of a teen in crisis by providing some material need. It is easy send in monthly support to a non-profit working with people trapped in the sex-trade. It is easy to only associate with people who look the same, talk the same, and think the same.
I think the wheel of injustice continues to roll on because we cushion our lives with comfort. Comfort prevents us from entering into the messiness and inconvenience of relationship. What would happen if we allowed our safe lives to be interrupted and disturbed by injustice? How would our city be different if we stepped out in courage and let our lives become a spoke in the wheel of injustice?
How can you and I be subversive to the socially acceptable systems in place that promote and sustain injustice?
I don’t think there is a ‘one-size fits all’ answer. But one thing I am being more intentional about is making space to engage with the ‘uncomfortable and messy.’ Whether it be conversations around cultural racism, sexual orientation, socio-economic discrimination, gender inequality, war, consumerism and environmental stewardship — whatever the topic, I am choosing to allow the narratives of others intersect mine. As space is created for our narratives to overlap and connect, the lens of “us and them” is broken down. I believe this is the achilles heal of any injustice. If we can break down the “us-them” mentality, I think we’ll have a fighting chance of derailing injustice on multiple levels within our community.
Ask someone about their story this week, and then listen. Let your week be interrupted by the uncomfortable and messy. It’s OK, you won’t die.
- About my West Central neighborhood - July 30, 2014
- A recipe for leadership - June 5, 2014
- Being a spoke in Spokane - February 11, 2014
- 110113 quote - November 1, 2013
- Seeds, society and stewardship, oh my! - October 31, 2013
- Utilizing what I’ve been given - May 13, 2013
- Fostering a welcoming community in Spokane - April 2, 2013