White Christian Friend, I Hear Your Silence.

When people are pressed up against nightmares in the daylight—words are powerful, but they can’t hold a candle to silence.

Silence can be a far more brutal weapon in doing them damage.

White Christian friend, I want you to know that I hear yours right now.

I’ve heard it since November 9th, 2016, actually.

Since that day, I’ve witnessed your steady and staggering lack of volume—while the world has been turned upside down for so many people.

As refugee families were stranded at the airport,
as marching Nazis were coddled by the President,
as protections for the land and the water were erased,
as healthcare was sabotaged in the middle of the night—
I’ve scanned your face and your social media profile for any evidence of outrage, any semblance of compassion, and urgency whatsoever.
I’ve leaned in and held my breath, waiting to hear you speak some opposition or voice any disgust.
Every day I’ve looked for a tipping point in your heart, when you would finally break your silence and speak.

Nothing.

Nothing about predatory Alabama Senators.
Nothing about multi billion dollar border walls.
Nothing about sexual assault accusations against the President.
Nothing about ICE raids in hospital rooms.
Nothing about Evangelical preachers defending discrimination.
Nothing about Tweet taunts of North Korea.
Nothing about the expulsion of Dreamers.
Nothing about Medicaid erosion.
Nothing about tearful airport family goodbyes.

Nothing about shithole countries comments by the leader of the Free World.

It’s as if three years ago you vanished, as if you you’ve become a practical ghost: here, but having no tangible effect on the planet, other than your silence and disappearance.

I’m not sure if you’re embarrassed and hiding, or secretly jubilant, or frozen with fear, but in a way none of that matters. The result is the same: you have declared yourself a conscientious objector in the war for other people’s well-being. You’ve barricaded yourself in the bunker of your privilege and you think no one notices.

I do.

I notice because I know you.
I’ve sat alongside you in church.
I’ve heard the religion you profess.
I know the faith you claim in a dark-skinned Jesus who lived among the marginalized and the poor.
I know how many weeks you spent on mission trips in those supposed “shithole countries,” being humbled and blessed by those beautiful people.
I know how moved you claimed to be at the thought of young women being trafficked: the faceless #MeToos thousands of miles away.
I know how willingly you recited that God so loved the world—a world far bigger than America.
I know how often you read the stories of foreigners finding welcoming, of Jesus turned away at the inn, of angels being entertained in the guise of needy strangers.
I know how many times you’ve heard Jesus’ call to love the least; those forgotten and oppressed and pushed to the margins.
I know how diametrically opposite this America is to that message.

And I know that despite your complete Monday through Saturday silence—that you’ll be really loud come this Sunday.

This Sunday, you’ll again find yourself in a room (probably filled with other white Christians), and you’ll raise your hands skyward and bellow loudly and shout your amens.
You’ll be boisterous in claiming to bear witness to a non-Christian, Middle Eastern Jesus, who calls you to be transformative salt and light in toxic, dark places;
who demands you be a visible expression of compassion, love, mercy, and justice;
who compels you to mercy for the wayward and vulnerable.
In that room for that hour, your voice will be booming, your declarations unmistakable, your convictions clear.

Which is why your silence right now is such a sin of omission—because you should know better; because you say you know Jesus, because you claim to seek his heart; because you claim you desire to walk so close behind him in this life, as to be covered by his dust.

Because if this is all true, then right now you should be the loudest of voices, the one screaming from the rooftops, the one flipping over tables; the one braving the slings and arrows of the bigots and the predators and the moneylenders and the bullies.

Your activism should be involuntary right now, instead of invisible. 

I imagine you think that when this nightmare is over and things find some sense of order, that you’ll be off the hook, that no one will recall your silence—but you would be wrong.

I’ll remember just how quiet you were, just how little outrage you expressed, just how many times you could have been the Good Samaritan—but turned your head and walked to the other side of the street; leaving someone bleeding and someone else to tend to their wounds.

Jesus will remember it too.

White Christian friend, I don’t care what you do on Sunday for an hour in a building.

That’s the easiest time and place to have convictions.

That is a paper tiger faith; one that has no real teeth and no true power.

It is the greatest of empty religious performances.

Fortunately there are plenty of people of faith out there who are speaking, who are stepping into the fray, who are naming and opposing this ugliness—but not enough of us. I keep hoping you’ll join us.

I’ve been waiting for a year here outside that building and that hour on Sunday, for you to break your silence and loudly resist all that is so terrible.

I won’t hold my breath any longer, while you hold your tongue.

Just know that I hear you.

 

 

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142 thoughts on “White Christian Friend, I Hear Your Silence.

  1. Father forgive me for the times I have not spoken out. May the love I have for you help me to be bold and brave against all injustice and stand firm in your authority, for your glory. Amen

  2. With all due respect, Mr. Pavlovitz, your articles are about left-wing partisan politics, with a little Jesus thrown in to try and justify your positions, sometimes by warping what our Lord actually taught and said. Further, from what I have read, if I am a white conservative Christian, I am the problem in your mind. Well, I am. Further, I did not vote for Trump due to his lack of character. It is the same reason I refused to vote for Hillary. I do not heap scorn on family, friends, and strangers that voted for either though. Indeed I try to listen to them, share my thoughts, and respond civilly with love. It is up to each of us to listen, accept or reject Christ AND what he ACTUALLY taught was good and righteous and what was sinful, all the while still loving the sinner and hating the sin. And we are ALL sinners.

    Yes, I am embarrassed by President Trump quite often. Yes I am embarrassed by any of our elected representatives when they spew hate or foolishness, and I say so. That said, despite many of the negatives of Trump, his economic policies have also been a boon to many of the poor and middle class. His policies are helping those Americans that are the “least of our brothers and sisters”. At least in that regard, this boor of a president has actually done something of use instead of being eloquent and merely have good but ineffectual or actually damaging intentions like President Obama did.

    Perhaps if we all spent a little more time studying Jesus and be a little less quick to condemn or demonize those among us that are different in belief as “others” we might better be able to usher in the kingdom of God, sir.

    My prayers are with you.

    • As the deportations start and innocent children are thrown away once again. I will be there to tell them the Readers digest version of your post. When there is pain and suffering, especially at the hands of politicians, there is something wrong!

      • T Paine deserves a better listen on your part. He never said that deportations, pain or suffering were good. Simply standing up for himself, in light of the author’s condemnations, saying what he HAS said and done against the actions and words of the president.
        I, too, am tired of being “branded” by the author.

    • Sir,
      How can you say he has been a boon to poor & middle class.
      How?
      He inherited a prosperous economy and has made executive orders that help the wealthy & privileged.
      Including his tax scam to give the wealthiest more wealth.
      Obama’s at least tried to save our National lands, protect wildlife, combat & improve our climate.
      Not to mention, give the poor & middle affordable healthcare, also protect sick children & adults.
      These aren’t leftist causes, these are human causes.
      How do you explain to children who see & hear this Presidents hateful rant, making fun of people, spreading hate & racism on anyone not white, disrespecting our military, calling press enemy of the people on & on.
      How?
      All examples of how White Privilege is real. This isn’t about politic it’s about human beings , our children.
      Affordable quality education for all.
      Thank you John, for having the courage to write this. We’re all in this together, or your not.

  3. It seems like I should have something profound to say at the end of such a good main post by John P.. However, I do not. Thirty percent of Americans (give or take a few) have been blinded to the evil of both Trump and the evil things he is doing (as well as the good things he is not doing).

    I heard this afternoon that Trump is now looking forward to talking to Robert Mueller and his staff of lawyers and accountants. This is a very foolish position for him to take—and it is likely just a temporary lie like so much else he says. I was thinking about the perfect theme music for the Mueller Team just this morning, and it clearly expresses what Trump is walking into:

  4. The only thing I pray that would be silent is sarcasm, it serves no purpose. I can say that BC I often use it to shut people down. Saying what I mean makes me walk through the anger and then I have a better starting point, not just bitterness. So, Betty your response sounds like something I used to do and actually still do. It is never a good outcome. Going for substantive arguments in a charitable way helps my voice to be heard. Otherwise, people look at the post Betty and say damn, that Betty is much smarter than that.

  5. The problem is that our White Christian Friend love it. They may be a bit embarrassed to publicly yell “hallelujah”, but from what I see, they enjoy every moment of this administration.

    • Beware of lumping people together. I am Christian and do not feel the way you describe. It might be more accurate to say, “some Christians.” Personally, I am embarrassed by those who let their religion come into the political arena at all as Christians, we are all supposed to be about God’s business. Make no mistake, anyone who uses their religion as a platform is USING the those who they are targeting.

  6. This is intense, beautiful, and something every Christian needs to see. Thank you for speaking out so honestly.

  7. Pingback: A Challenge For Moderates - JaxPolitix - Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

  8. Galatians 6:7-8
    ________________________________________
    John , Friends Saints who truly follow Jesus Christ As thier master, savior, Gods son, Sent for mans sin , to save the wretch we are .
    Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

    Read at Bible Gateway
    Read all of Galatians 6

    Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
    NIV Zondervan Study Bible
    All Man, Not just some
    Never Elevate others to a supreme role as the are fallible and can fall from grace , just like you and me . we are all the same , except one thing , that is the choices we make , the paths we choose to take.

  9. WHAT IF GOD ACTUALLY PUT TRUMP IN THE PRESIDENCY!! Gasp. Consider reading ” The Trump Prophecies”. GOD (He is real and still GOD) woke the author in 2011 and told him Trump would be president…..Perhaps we can ‘hang in there’ and watch what GOD can accomplish (HE has been able to speak through an ‘ASS’) and STOP the petty, self-righteous bantering.

  10. John, what an articulate, heartfelt post. As powerful a plea as it is, I’m afraid that 1) these folks are studiously avoiding any medium they don’t believe supports their reality, and 2) they are so blinded by their beliefs that, even if it hits them in the face, they can no longer abide the truth. I hope I’m wrong…

  11. I was glad when I read at the end where you mentioned not all Christians are like what you described. I am one who has been speaking out and stepping into the fray. I have also been confronted by a few who disagree with what I say. I will never think it is OK DT was elected, and continue to hope he is impeached soon.

    I am thankful to be a Christian, and do not like it when people assume things about me because of that.

  12. Why not encourage Mexico to become our 51st state?

    And I don’t know one Republican or one Democrat who espouses to all that their elected officials do in office. Just because one votes a certain way doesn’t mean they are “for or against” abortion, for instance.

    Our current POTUS says some really stupid things, and that is what most alarms me. He doesn’t seem genuine in any way. But…I could be wrong. AND…I do pray for him as God has instructed me to do.

    Eliminate campaign donations, repayment of “favors” and the involvement of corporations in our governing and make it of, by and for the people again.

    I have always understood that Christians are not meant to judge others.

    Some of us are silent due to our humility, but we do continue to love and do what we can for all people Sometimes it is only prayer from the sidelines of a war we are very confused by.

  13. To all Liberal White People:

    Please stop pretending to love Black people! Your policies is designed to keep Black people dependent upon the Government. It is a plantation mentality, and contrary to what you think, many Blacks reject the claims of understanding and compassion by the Democratic party and other far left ideology. I wouldn’t be a damn Democrat if my life literally depended on it!

  14. Dear Black Trump Supporter

    How can you address “ALL” in such a way? And how can you, an individual black person, speak for “Blacks” everywhere? I don’t recall an election of anyone to that position. You have a right to YOUR opinion, but you are just ONE person. You don’t know MY heart or what I think. Nor do you know my skin color as I sit here and respond to you. How much attention will you give me based on MY culture or skin color? Will you listen to me if I say I am Black? Caucasian? Asian? Native American? Mexican? I’d be really interested in knowing your socio-economic situation because it really does have bearing on a person’s opinions. How is it that you feel qualified to speak for any Blacks beyond yourself? How do you know what is in the heart of ANYONE beyond yourself? How can you lump ALL together? Isn’t that a huge stereotype, much as “all blacks are ________” ….fill in the blank? There simply is no such thing as “ALL” when referring to opinions or feelings or political leanings. Ultimately, we all come to our understandings of things based on personal experiences.

    FYI ~ Just because I am liberal in some ways does not automatically make me a Democrat. I do not know how ANYONE can espouse to any party mentality in its entirety. In my opinion, there are contradictions rampant throughout both the Dem and Rep factions that make that impossible.

    It is my belief that if it weren’t for “liberals,” slavery would never have ended in this country. There are those among the far right whom would continue it today and even believe blacks to be inferior human beings. (Note I don’t say “race” as we are all ONE race — human. It is just a difference of pigment, people.) There MAY be some democrat KKK enthusiasts, but I really don’t think so. It is my thought that true Liberals have compassion and care for ALL people regardless of their skin color or culture. Liberals may not have a complete understanding of people who are different from them, but at least they TRY, and I, for one, truly DO care. I cannot speak for others, but I know that I don’t hate you based on your skin color. To take that further… I actually have Christian love for you. However, not knowing you personally…and yet seeing how you communicate here…I doubt we’d ever be friends. Not because of your color or your support of a political party that does not care about Blacks as a rule, but because you seem to be so angry and misguided as to think ugly things about anyone who doesn’t think as you do and your way to deal with them is to assume a role of Black Spokesperson, hurl insults and rattle a saber in hate.

    I pity you for having to endure such anger. I really do not know that it can ever truly help ANYONE.

    And I do care about you as a human being. Whether you believe it or like it or not.

  15. Obviously there are people like this, Mr. Pavlovitz, yet your position and words are dangerous and bear a false testimony to Christ.
    I too, am Christian who is concerned with the example of our president. However, I don’t equate political opinions with following Christ.
    You have conflated being a Christian and being a Progressive Democrat.
    If you truly believe that only Progressive democrats are Christians, you need to assess your values and who or what you actually believe in.
    I hear your pride and arrogance that your opinions are 100% correct and anyone who disagrees is always wrong.
    I only mean offense if it can draw you close to Christ, and if not, then please forgive me.
    These words I am typing right now are not my own. They are the words of a brother in Christ who is concerned that people are too quick to judge, too quick to label those that EVEN SEEM to be silent (even if they aren’t in the other parts of their lives) as racists and evil.
    We are all sinful, and to take such a ridiculously high ground against others is a mistake. Have grace for one another. Have love. Don’t bring accusations made from your assumptions.

    • The moral high ground is calling out evil in the Trump administration/ the GOP (and the Democrats also)….otherwise for followers of Christ, it is the sin of omission… There is nothing in the Democratic Party’s platform/stances on the issues is against my moral compass/my faith. I can’t say the same for the GOP’s Platform/stances on the issues….

      • Your a Christian and you are good to go with Planned Parenthood legally killing the unborn? You can’t at least give Trump credit for being on the side of the unborn instead of being against them, as are almost all Democrats?

  16. Thank you, John. As an ex-Christian from the Left, this needs to be said. Of course, I doubt they will listen since they have been silent since they gave the whole country the middle finger back in Nov-2016
    – and then disappeared (as you say).

  17. The Christian who solely puts their trust in God doesn’t have to go out in the streets causing an uproar about what they don’t like about our government. Paul said to the church in Rome, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement.” (Romans 13:1-2) That passage continues on talking about how we are to be in subjection to our government. What should we take from this? God is in control. No matter if Trump, Hillary, or Bernie is in the Oval Office. I, as a Christian, take comfort in that fact.

  18. I raised this question on my Facebook page, largely attempting to reach out to family. I asked everyone why some say that they especially hate lying, per extensive Biblical teachings on lying, yet are now remaining silent, since our POTUS #45 is well documented, by the Washington Post for instance, as making public falsehoods some 5.6 times a day. My very dear sibling responded with: “I base my ‘no comment’ on Matthew 7:5, John 8:7, and Proverbs 26:4”, and “That paper is untrustworthy.” I said: “In no way is using the Bible to ‘Attack the Source’ answering the question!” The next day I asked: “If the 81% of Evangelical Christians who voted for POTUS #45 came “clean” today, and spoke up, could we stop this ‘train wreck’?” My sibling’s response was merely the zipped mouth emoji. Heartbreaking to me. Thank you so much for this wonderful piece. I’ve now posted it on my Facebook page. Will my Christian family read it? Doubtful. Will they respond? Highly unlikely. These times are heavily revising my view of many who claim faith.

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