Taking action for a specific cause is something that every Christian would agree should be part of our lives. We are to spread justice, love justice, free the oppressed, break the heavy yoke of slavery and set captives free in Jesus' name. However, Christians also believe in moderation when it comes to social justice, so we only take things so far. After all, we wouldn't want to be considered radical now would we?
When the discomfort of oppression and injustice finally reaches the boiling point in the soul, then everything related to it, no matter how harmless it may seem, loses its value to the Christian. In other words, there should come a time when something good is boycotted by the Christian because of the injustice that clings to its side. Hear the word of the Lord through Isaiah:
"The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. (6) Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left. (7) The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan. (8) The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. (9) No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers." (Isaiah 24:5-9 NIV)
Notice verses 8 and 9 in particular. There comes a time when a party is no longer a celebration because the defilement is so great it demands a change of heart.
Even though the name "The Boston Tea Party" has been overtaken by political connotations, it perfectly exemplifies this condition. In those days, perfectly good tea got thrown into the Boston Harbor because a perfectly evil tax needed to cease. The value of shock is that it's shocking. The value of destroying something good is that it kills off the evil that's related to it. Perhaps the Bostonians of old should have just drank their tea and shut up?
It's Super Bowl season. It's the "tea" Americans love to drink... and Christians get their fill. Truth be told, if a church threw a prayer vigil to call upon God to break the chains of slavery on Super Bowl Sunday, no one would show up. While the event itself may be fine, clinging to its side is all kinds of injustice.
The value of shock is two-fold: awareness and demand for change. Football is a fine sport. If we want to see change take place in regards to gross over-spending (a sign of worship) and human oppression, perhaps it's time to throw the tea overboard. Shock that has value.
If you've actually read this entire piece, I thank you. Join me in praying for right priorities for the people of God. That we would make holy judgments and consider our ways before blindly acting upon the world's demands. Pray that our actions would be rooted in heaven instead of the earth. Pray for change.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.
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