Good and Loud (A Response To The Politics of Hatred)

Where’d all the good people go? I’ve been changing channels I don’t see them on the TV shows. —Jack Johnson

At times like these it can seem like the darkness is winning.

You can look around and simply be overtaken by all that seems so not right in the world; the hatred and bitterness and the steady, rising tide of discord creeping just above the reach of your craned neck, as you tread frantically, seeking in quick, shallow breaths the last bit of air left.

You can begin to sink beneath it all, wondering whether or not there are any good people still here. You can easily drown in that despair.

Take heart, dear friend.

It is not that good people are gone, it is just that too many of them have gone silent.

They, like you have watched this tragic chapter unfolding and feel they are powerless to do anything. They, like you feel alone and hopeless and outnumbered. They too are holding their breath and covering their eyes and waiting for the good people to show up and twist the plot.

Stop. Freaking. Waiting. Already.

You are the good people.

You are the one who can step from the shadows and tell the darkness that it has had the run of the house for long enough. You can send the brilliant floodlight of hope streaming into the places where it had been vanquished.

It is only a matter of opening your mouth and releasing the truest of your truth without fear or hesitation or decorum.

Whenever our world has lost its way and lost its humanity and succumbed to terror, it has happened when people of decency and compassion refused to raise their voices, when they believed the lie that their silence was of no consequence, when they became saddened but complicit spectators.

These are such days, friend.

In these days it is not enough to be good. You must be both good and loud.

You must risk the slings and arrows of both strangers and of siblings, and speak directly into the bloated, contorted face of hatred until it hears you and cannot ignore you.

You must take the hit to your ego and to your wallet, and yes even to your body, because that is how much is at stake here. That is how much it is worth.

Don’t you dare be badgered into believing that Love must always be in a stoic, dignified defense posture; that it must be quiet and placid in its work. Love is the most confoundingly offensive force on the damn planet, so wield it like a sword and make your mark deep into the terrible things in your path.

If you have a shred of strength left, then stand and scream out every word within your bleeding heart as if your life depended on it because it does.

If not your physical self, then the much deeper one; the one you sit with in the quiet, the one who lays beside you in the middle of the night, the one who allows you to sleep, the one sees into you and knows whether or not you did all that you could do make this world less horrible while you were here.

Yes these are dark days, but they needn’t be so dark.

You would bring the dawn if you would open up your mouth and bring forth light.

Raise your voice, and Hell along with it.

Speak Justice and Equality and Unity until they can be heard above the crackling, hissing din of fear and violence.

Yes, there are still good people in this place.

You are one of them.

So don’t let silence be your greatest sin.

Now, go.

Be good—and be loud.




64 thoughts on “Good and Loud (A Response To The Politics of Hatred)

  1. Last night was Colorado caucus night for Democrats I was the sign-in person for one of the three precincts on the east slope of our mountain in the Rockies (we are northwest of Ft. Collins). First of all, we had over 100 persons in the room, eager to be part of the democratic process. The light of which you speak was shining all over – good spirits, cooperation between the Hilary and Bernie sides with fairness ruling the decision making, folks lingering to talk after each precinct had done the business of the evening. Light is around, as you said, …”the days don’t need to be dark.”

  2. I just switch to the nostalgia channels and watch old Jack Webb reruns of Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency. You know- when people actually still believed that God controlled their lives and that this was One Nation Under God.

  3. I am continually amazed by how you, so succinctly, give voice to my inner thoughts. I am ever grateful that I “bumped” into your website.

  4. Ah, John Pavlovitz, your posting reminds me of my favorite scene from ‘Gladiator’:

    Commodus: Rise. Rise.
    [Maximus stands up, clenching an arrow head in his right hand]
    Commodus: Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don’t think there’s ever been a gladiator to match you. As for this young man, he insists you are Hector reborn. Or was it Hercules? Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name? You do have a name.
    Maximus: My name is Gladiator.
    [turns away from Commodus]
    Commodus: How dare you show your back to me! Slave, you will remove your helmet and tell me your name.
    Maximus: [removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
    [Commodus trembles in disbelief]

  5. Pingback: Good and Loud | Susanthur Political Observer

  6. Thank you, as always for your continued encouragement. I am working very hard to overcome the fears of releasing my truest truth.

    These might not be the kinds of posts that get hundreds of responses, but they are such needed reminders to those constantly in the midst of the uphill battle. Maybe the importance of your less “popular” work lies in its ability to reach something beautifully relatable to us all.

    Keep shining your sacred light my friend!

  7. I hear your message and I love it, but……. It is so hard to keep faith in good when the bad guys are all around and they are SO LOUD! Everytime I state my opinion, I am immediately attacked from all sides, friends and family alike. I have never been a good “fighter”. I can never think fast enough to come up with the right words to counteract the other side’s ranting. I try, but always end up bruised and angrier than ever. Thank you so much for shining your positive light and allowing me to see that I am not alone! I pray every day for God’s will to be done. I know He is a good guy and I know that He knows our needs.

    • Linda
      Do you know what Jesus did when his detractors got SO LOUD? Jesus didn’t always come up with the right words to counteract their rants, sometimes he did, but when it wasn’t prudent to do so; do you know what he did.
      Jesus stayed silent, one time he stooped and drew silently in the sand, at many points during his trial Jesus remained silent, and allowed their accusations, and rants to reveal their own sins, and failures.
      Yes when Jesus had the right words he used them, as should you; when you have them, and when it is prudent. But when you do not have the right words, or when it is not prudent to use those words just yet; it is ok to be silent at that point, until it is prudent.
      Jesus was very adept at choosing his battles, He recognized when it was time to speak, and when it was time to remain silent; Jesus never lost….
      When in these situations, take your time, there is no hurry. You are under no obligation to have the right words at that exact moment. The wisest, and strongest statements, the statements which win the debate; come with the longest contemplation.
      Be loud as John said, speak up against the wrongs of the world. Speak; Loudly. But do not be afraid to take the necessary time to contemplate your words, so that your words are indeed the right words, at the prudent time.
      Words are great power, but at some carefully chosen times; silence is an even greater power.
      Think about it, God is silent unless one knows how to discern his words; yet who or what is more powerful than God. At the same time, when God ceases to be silent; there is no denying his power.
      Be silent when silence is needed, and very, very loud when loudness is needed.
      Chaplain Daniel Paden

  8. Thanks for the encouragement John. We all need to shine our light in our own beautiful ways in order to promote love and goodness whether it be person to person, raising socially concious kids, art, music, social engagement, writing and through prayers— if that is all we can do, we can all make a difference in the lives we touch and that difference speaks volumes. I am grateful for your writing John, I don’t know what is around the corner for us all, it seems pretty uncertain right now in many different ways but we can choose to be good in the right ways and to love people in the right ways and I’m going to try my best 😀

  9. In Germany they came first for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up
    because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up
    because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up
    because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak up
    because I was a Protestant.

    Then they came for me,
    and by that time no one was left
    to speak up for me.
    Martin Niemöller

  10. I’ve read this through a second time to try and gain more courage to be loud. Oh, I can be loud alright. Done that many times, but I’m tired. I’m tired of shouting in the wind and being drowned out by the roar of the night around me. I don’t know that I can do this anymore. I’m trying just now to put one foot forward and to follow with the next, just to go on, but it’s hard and I want to just lie down and be lost in a nothingness where I don’t have to fight anymore, I don’t have to say anything to defend myself, I don’t have to justify myself any longer. Maybe it will be quiet and peaceful in that place. Maybe there will be rest there for the weary soul. Maybe there will be healing there for the wounds of the soul that has been seared and torn and broken and is too weak to rise up and shout anymore. Maybe in that place there won’t be confusion and anger and hate and ranting and pain. I’m so tired. I just want to give up altogether.

    • Jem… I heard somewhere and I forgot where, that it’s never too late to start trying (even again) and it’s always too soon to give up.

      Sometimes a whisper is all we have but it can speak loudly. Don’t give up. I can assure you… I hear you. And you’re not alone.

    • Jem, There are many times when I’ve been tired. I wasn’t able to defend self; I was so tired. So I learned to claim my space, go away as necessary, If you are near a retreat space, I recommend you leave the world and spend some time at that space. That’s why we retired to the Rocky Mountains – specifically Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. One of the glories of being here is having Shambala, a major Buddhist center nearby. They understand the need to be away. Come here, or find your own space for quiet retreat – just avoid those places that design a God interaction for you. You are capable of healing yourself with anyone you chose or don’t chose to be with you.

    • jem…take heart, Jesus never said we were supposed to figure out this World. He says, ‘you are uncomfortable here, because I made you for Heaven. And for a little longer, you will be even more uncomfortable. Regarding This World (ruled by My Adversary), don’t look at it, it is but a vapor! Look at Me. That is where I want you. You don’t need to save the World. I work my Holy Spirit, and He does what needs to be done. You have my Holy Spirit to guide you, and protect you, but you are not some one elses’ Holy Spirit. Working out their salvation is between Me and those that I created. Pray for your enemies. Rest in Me. Encourage the brethren.’

      • So the world is ruled by the devil and we shouldn’t bother doing anything about toxic waste or air pollution or child abuse or poverty or social justice? Those things are part of the world and I feel extremely compelled NOT sit back and just let it be. I don’t understand what you are saying. All of God’s creation is totally worth caring for or “saving” and if you beieve we should avert our eyes to the problems WE created and focus on our way into heaven instead, I can’t help but think this mentality is hugely careless to future generations. I have kids. I want them to live in peace with clean drinking water and freedom to be who they truly are. Could your brand of faith be a reason why people are so careless with one another? Because why bother taking care of things if God is just going to destroy it all anyway? Is this what we are hoping for, living for? The doomsday that might actually never come if we actually give a shit, or the one that definitely will if we don’t? Meanwhile people are dying and living in terror, and you’re asking to pray for our enemies. I’m afraid we are the enemy. I’d say we get busy and answer those prayers of ours.

    • Jem do not give up, there is no need to lie down and be lost in nothingness. When it seems that you are just shouting into the wind, and being drowned out by the roar around you; it is time to change your strategy.
      There are other ways to be loud Jem; ways other than being vocally loud. Like you Jem, I can, and have often been very loud. When I want to be heard, believe me I can, and will be heard. But you are very right; being loud like that is exhausting.
      I learned something very important through many years of being pushed down, kicked down, and forcibly silenced; I learned how to be heard in another more effective way, a way that cannot be ignored.
      You do not have to use your voice, your body language, or your expressions to be heard; you can use you. More precisely your life, your acts, your softer voice, your compassion, Etc; with these you will be far louder than you have ever been with your Loud voice. Your acts, and all the other things I mentioned; those cannot be denied, they are proof of what you say. They are indisputable, undeniable, fact. And what is even better; they will not wear you out, exhaust you, or make you tired. Quite the opposite, they will energies, and strengthen you the more you use them.
      Don’t lose hope Jem, you can do this, you can keep going right to the finish line and win the fight.
      You don’t have to fight anymore, you don’t have to say anything to defend yourself, and you don’t have to justify yourself any longer. Your acts, your soft words, your life will do those things for you. It will be quiet and peaceful, there will be rest when your soul is weary like now, There will be healing for your wounded soul; it will no longer be seared and torn and broken and too weak to rise up and shout. There will no longer be confusion, anger, hate, ranting and pain. You do not need to be tired any longer.
      Chaplain Daniel Paden

  11. Hanging by a thread! Wish I could find some motivation to get me going again; to recapture that enthusiasm for life; to find the will or the encouragement or the inspiration. But everything at the moment is such a supreme effort. Just the effort to feed myself is even asking a lot. How did I get to this pit?

    • I struggle with disappointments & hopelessness. The only thing that helps me is to serve. Places to serve (with no expectation of thanks or honor) Him are…homeless shelter, street ministry, food bank, hospital, senior center, prison, jail, juvenile detention.

    • Hey Jem believe me I’ve been there. I feel your anguish. You will never be where you were before because each day is new. You might find yourself changed by all this, you will find life is different not the same. God is a creator and He is re-creating something in you. Give yourself space and time to rest in Him, it’s okay to do that

    • Jem, I hope you have good and kind people surrounding you who will take up your cause for you and allow you some rest or at least lighten your load, people who will say the words (good and loud!) that you are too tired to say at present, and who surround you with grace and comfort and protect your heart. I don’t know you, and I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but your words move my heart. Please tell me if there is anything I could do to be of help.

  12. John. This is serious. I could tell you about the three prophetic visions that were given to me by Jesus in 2008, 2010, and 2012. The first two came true in real life. The third one is coming true in real life even now this year. If I had to write this out, it would be too long and take too much time that I need to be using for other things. Suffice it to be encapsulated like this:

    In 2006 and 2010, the first two large bundles of sticks were taken in hand by Jesus and “kindling cracked” by him across his raised knee. Rather than splitting in half like kindling normally does when you make it this way, the whole bundle of sticks shattered into millions of splinters in midair and fell to the ground. In 2012, referring toward the future in 2016, Jesus again took a bundle of sticks and cracked it across his knee. Once again, it shattered into millions of splinters in midair and fell to the ground—only it was different this time than the two times before. Each of the splinters that fell to the ground caught fire individually when it hit the ground, and each splinter was totally consumed by the fire until it no longer existed. Jesus said by this vision: “This third time I will consume them utterly and completely. Just you wait and see.” In each of the three prophetic visions, I was told that the bundle of sticks represents the Republican Party in the United States of America and all the evil that it has done and is continuing to do, especially to “the least of these.”

    Folks. I am truly serious about this. This really did happen. I did have these three visions from Jesus. You can choose to disbelieve it if you like. It matters not to me because neither my opinion nor yours counts in what is being done. Jesus is cleaning house all on his own, and he was just kind enough to let me see what He was going to do. Now, you know too. God bless you!!!

    • We must get over equating our relationship with God with our relationship with political parties. He is not on either side. God gave us a book, the Bible, to be our guidebook for our time on earth. No matter what others may say or do, we must retain this as our salvation depends on it. We have all seen the inability of our politicians to work together to accomplish anything. If we want to do our part and perhaps make a difference we must shout it out loud and clear. Each of us can make a difference in others’ lives; the poor, the homeless, the immigrants. I don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat, neither party is going to stop you from doing your part. So please don’t spend your time trying to decimate one or the other political party. Get off your duff and make your own difference happen.

      • What does that have to do with a prophetic vision from Jesus? Jesus showed me something unique. Are you claiming Jesus has neither the ability nor the prerogative to do such a thing? If it bothers you and you think He did something wrong, take that up with him. Now piss off!!!

      • @Karrie70

        Sorry, I must disagree with you on one important point. Our cleansing (salvation) is through FAITH in God not in a book. This is written in the Bible. I think you may be confusing religious doctrine with faith. Adherence to religious doctrine does not cleanse (save) you ONLY faith in God can do that.

  13. Pingback: Good and Loud | quirkywritingcorner

  14. Hello John, I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this post and many others, This one especially touched me because I have been one of the silent ones for far too long. I am a writer and a poet but I have never published any of my work. I have chosen you and other Christians who have the courage to speak up, as my heroes, leaders in the arenas of compassion and grace, true followers of the greatest leader of all time, Jesus. I have felt compelled by the Spirit, for years now, to write and publish my work. The time is long past due! I must come out of hiding! Your poem calls me forth! Yes, this post is a poem. I have written it, in poetry format, with a few minor changes in order to get five lines per verse. So, here it is. The format was changed by posting it here. All the words were suppose to be centered and the title is suppose to be in bold. I don’t know how to change it on an email. Thank you for your courage and grace!

    Be Good and Be Loud!

    You are the one
    who can step from the shadows
    and tell the darkness
    it has had the run of the house
    long enough!

    You can send
    the brilliant floodlight of hope
    into the places
    where it had been vanquished!

    It is only a matter
    of opening your mouth
    and releasing the truest of your truth
    without fear or hesitation,
    or decorum!

    You must risk
    the slings and arrows
    of both strangers
    and siblings,
    and those you love most!

    Speak directly
    into the bloated,
    contorted face of hatred
    until it hears you
    and cannot ignore you!

    You would bring
    the dawn
    if you would
    open up your mouth
    and call forth light!

    Raise your voice,
    and hell along with it!
    Speak justice,
    and equality,
    and unity!

    Cry aloud
    until you can be heard
    above the crackling, hissing din
    of fear
    and violence

    there are still good people
    in this place
    and you
    are one of them!

    So don’t let
    be your greatest sin!
    Now go!
    Be good and be loud!

    By John Pavlovitz

  15. Veering off topic… Have this song stuck in my head :/

    … You can’t hurry love. Noooooooooooooo . You just have to wait. She said love don’t come easy. It’s a game of give and take.

    Someone make it stop please. :/
    John’s writing has this effect on me.

  16. Speaking out loud as John says, I have this vision of the Final Judgement on the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and all the racist individuals and organizations that supports it. I am hoping God will say this:

    “Good morning folks. Before we begin the day’s proceedings, I have a very special statement I would like to make to set the tone for the day:

    Before Abraham was, I IS.

  17. Over here in the UK we are following your upcoming elections with a degree of bemusement. In all honesty, it’s like watching a reality TV show with all the high drama and toxic shenanigans included. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we don’t have our fair share of that this side of the pond, but, DT has taken it to another level. As you’ll probably be aware pressure has been put on our Government to ban DT entry into the UK (not necessarily saying I agree with that move) such is our dismay and utmost concern with this US presidential candidate. I just wanted to ask a question…is it only this side of the pond that DT is seen for what he is? We are really struggling to understand how he can have so many followers. Can someone on that side of the pond please explain? And, in the interests of good cross-pond neighbourly relations I offer a hand of friendship across the water.

    • Okay. I will answer here. Donald Trump may be a narcissist, but he is not the evil troll his kick ass rhetoric makes him out to be. To win the Republican primaries, which he is doing, he is feeding the right wing extremist base of the Republican Party the insane rhetoric they like to hear and lap up like starving dogs. In other words, his scary rhetoric is nothing more than insincere pandering designed to trick certifiable morons and Hannibal Lechter types into voting for him. When the primary process is near its end and he has locked up the nomination, he will take off his Darth Vader mask and become the historical, real, everyday Donald Trump—who is really a political moderate. Why then is the Republican establishment, which also professes moderation, so scared shitless of Donald Trump? Well, for one thing, they are not as moderate as one might think. Just look at the obstructionist record Mitch McConnell and some of these other so-called moderate bozos. The real Donald Trump is significantly to the left of them; he knows American government is not working for the American people; and he knows sensible reform is needed to make it work again—and that means lopping off the penises of these so-called Republican moderates like Paul Ryan—who are all sold out to major corporate interests that work against the American people. They are scared shitless that brash Donald Trump is going to be another Theodore Roosevelt for our time and place in American history—and they are right to be scared shitless—because he really will be Teddy Roosevelt II if he is elected.

      Just in case your are not aware of this, Teddy Roosevelt was a major Republican reformer of the late 19th and early 20th century. He and his Presidency broke up the major robber baron monopolies of the 19th century, who often claimed in secret and out in the open that they owned the best U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressmen that money could buy. The United States was a much better and different place when Teddy got finished kicking major butt. He was also our first real conservationist President—who established America’s system of national parks and reserved large areas of western land for conservation purposes.

      Upshot: The Republican Party establishment is scared shitless that Donald Trump is going to be another Teddy Roosevelt who will work hard to put an end to all of their “beautiful evil.” See Donald Trump disguised as a little girl from Kansas, and the witch is the “Republican Establishment.” This is what the establishment fears most.

      . .

  18. “….My grandson he comes home from college
    He says “we get the government we deserve”

    Don Henley, ‘A Month of Sundays’

    I would say that it is not the Republican Party, per se, that is being judged, but the overall hubris of the United States’ (recall that Canada, Mexico and points South are also in the __ North and South American_ continents) political system – a system that rewards jingoism, xenophobia, stentorian proclamations of exceptionalism and religiosity – pretty much anything that is opposite to the Sermon on the Mount…..

  19. Pingback: Wellness day for my spirit | teachjournalism

  20. Carmen, I like your loud up there! When He said love others as yourself…. Wow, what could not be included as a continuation of that commandment. In that act alone, of loving others and all creation… the effects, the possibilities, are endless. You’re so right. Take Christ’s right hand and reach in love with purpose with the other…. Things change for the better.

    • Carmen, I have to say, your comments hang with me; they generate much needed reflection for me. I wanted to add, regarding your comment up there, that I believe I’m intended to be, by His renewal, a grateful worshiper and vigilant steward of his creation, above all else.

      And I meditated on Matthew 11. There John the Baptist sends his followers to question Jesus stating ” Are you the one who is to come or shall we look for another?” Wow… The honesty of that. Here we have John, the very same man, who, as a fetus within Elizabeth and at the greeting of Mary with Child, leaped in his mother’s womb. A man born for the sole purpose of attesting to the truth and efficacy of Jesus… questioning whether He is truly the one. Dare we doubt? Have questions? Yes!

      Even John was perplexed about Christ’s methods… His continual preaching of loving and seeking justice and mercy. Where was the kick-ass king part?

      And what was Jesus’ response? Assurance… And that He’d continue to preach so… On healing, mercy, encouragement, and justice. And he concluded that, even with John’s doubts and questions, he most faithful!

      You keep believing and questioning. And keeping me on toes. You rock!

  21. Visceral.

    Our Liberty, as the founders wrote about it, meant freedom to do one’s duty to and for their fellow human. Our liberty has been assaulted endlessly over the last eight years by both Political sides. Those who we put in office have acted like dictators. Those running are clowns with neither intellectual or emotional maturity to run a grade school play ground let alone this country. Those so under-educated vociferous masses bravely call for equality in the way Karl Marx called for equality.

    “Democracy leads to socialism!” Karl Marx

    Seems Marx was quite prophetic. What is missed that whether by socialism or just social justice, there is a godless depersonalization required. Liberty and free choice must be crushed for the good of the masses. Paternalism in late 1970s right-wing Fundamentalism was never as dictatorial or nearly as violent as the social justice and liberation theology in Catholic Central America countries of the same era.

    Liberty is an American experiment. Equalitarianism is at best, a French experiment, at worst a Nazi Germany experiment, or a Russia under Stalin experiment. When one asked about these lessons from history in both American Churches and in the university, one is met with blank stares.

  22. John, I wanted to re-post you on my blog, but it seems that this is turned off. You might want to turn it back on — How else can I post your good Christian words on my Buddhist blog?

  23. We are here. We may be silent but the love and light of Jesus Christ is shining out from us lighting the way for others. I see only good people in my world. Fear not, God is in control.

  24. Can I just say what a comfort to discover someone who truly
    understands what they are talking about on the internet. You certainly know how
    to bring a problem to light and make it important.

    A lot more people ought to look at this and understand this side
    of your story. I was surprised that you are
    not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.


  25. I am finding teachers are stepping outside of their comfort zones and are beginning to find their collective voices. However, others have said to me that what I am doing is too political at this time in their career. Thank you for this post, because it inspires me to continue to be loud.

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