Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thoughts About the Tragedy in Charlottesville

By Rob Lundberg

This past weekend—both Saturday and Sunday is a bit of a blur for me due to my job schedule and environment, which puts me only hearing about the Charlottesville rally and the the tragic incidents that occurred there this past weekend.  While I am still piecing things together, what I do understand is that white nationalists that include neo-Nazis and other hate groups staged a rally in Charlottesville this weekend. 

And the perception is that it was a rally intended to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.  Confederate flags were flying high at the protest. Then, in the early afternoon, some “thug” rammed his car into some of the counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring dozens of others.

This atrocity comes just a month after the KKK, led by infamous white supremacist Richard Spencer, held a rally in the same town over the same issue.  Surely, when are we going to learn the lessons of history so that we will not repeat its mistakes?  With all that I am seeing as far as posts on Facebook and on the Twitter feeds about the outrage of all the tragic happenings, and I taking this post to  "chime in" with four short insights.

What was our government’s response? 

From snippets that I have seen, President Trump gave a shallow and weak response to the evil displayed at this recent rally.  Stating that both sides were at fault is a monistic lazy way out for culpability of the evil actions that occurred.  In his doing this it brought outcries from both sides of the political aisle and from the ideological pundits on the left and the right.   Though I did not vote for Hillary and brought a clothes pin to the polls, it is clear that President Trump’s moral leadership, which has never been his strong suit, has been all the more questioned.  And now people in the marketplace of ideas and the media are getting in the mix, trying to find a political solution. People can point fingers all day long at the current administration, but it won’t solve the problem.  Why don't we pray our President, because he definitely needs them instead of putting the blame on him.

Politics cannot provide the solution. 

As Bible believing Christians, we ought not, and should not rely on government bodies to do the right thing. The body of Christ needs to lead the way in addressing the kind of hatred that we fought in World War II against the fascist, bigoted racism that gassed millions of Jews and other ‘undesirables.’ The once thought “dead” ideology of neo-Nazism has emerged on display here in the Commonwealth and those embracing this deadly ideology have simply extended the violent, hate-filled bigotry to African-Americans, Asians, and all other non-whites. For someone who has spoken on and written on the problem of evil which has included the atrocities of Hitler’s Nazi regime, I am horrified to think that any today would want to follow in Hitler's train.

When will we ever learn from history?

I grew up in the early 60s and 70’s. I remember hearing the radio news and seeing on television, as a kid. I remember hearing about the race riots in schools in Boston, MA, and the local cities.  I remember hearing hearing and seeing the full of images on television of the injustices promoted by southern segregated busing in neighboring towns, race riots, and hearing of police shootings.  

Whether it is decades ago or just in the past eight years it is clear that we have not learned. But I must say that I have not seen this country more torn apart by racism to such an extent since that time. Until now.

Only the Gospel will solve this problem

But no matter what the government's response looks like, the political pundits will not nor never solve this problem. It does not matter on which side of the political aisle they banter from. Like the health debacle, this issue will never be solved with political ideas.  Where is the solution?  

The church needs to quit playing church and start being the church, living out a truly biblical worldview, seeing all of human life, and ethnicity as sacred in the eyes of God. It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to stand up in solidarity—whites, blacks, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, men, women—and show the world the sacrificial love that we should be known for. 

As angry as we are about such displays of hatred seen on Saturday—and we should be—we must NOW unite in love. Martin Luther King once commented that the most segregated hour in ‘Christian’ America is 11 AM on Sunday mornings. Sadly, the situation has changed little in the last fifty years. It is not the government but the gospel being lived out in the life of the church that can solve and save this nation.

Politics cannot solve this. Only believers living out the transformed life of Christ reaching each person one heart and one mind at a time. Pastors need to be sharing this with their church members and encouraging each believer to show this world, the Kingdom of Christ and what He has to offer a lost and dying world.

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