All Up In Your Face

In the first two hours after my first Trinity blog posted I lost 19 followers. To be sure, I noticed only because I don’t have that many followers. Initially, my heart sank a little. In my mind, Jack Nicholson screamed in revolt, “You can’t handle the truth!”  The truth was that I had stopped merely talking about the vagueries of God’s love and brought reality to the fore.

The truth is that when you tell others uncomfortable facts, they will sometimes stop wanting to hear what you have to say.

I know I can’t change people’s hearts, but it’s not up to me to change anyone. It says in the bible that we are to plant the seed, but God waters it and makes it grow. Some seed falls on the healthy ground, some on rocks or shallow earth. Some will take root, others will simply wash away. But, it is our job to plant the seed. It shouldn’t matter to me what the world says, the only opinion of me that matters is God’s.

Still, I was a little down as I stood cooling off my dog with the hose after our walk, so I turned to my constant companion – my phone. The news is my thing. I love the news. A headline from Fox caught my eye, and I read it first. It was an article about seeking the approval of others and how Christ’s approval is the only thing that matters. It reaffirmed my conviction that I had done the right thing. I scrolled through my other feeds, CNN, The Guardian, New York Times, HuffPost, People, Baltimore Sun, Trip Advisor, NBC News, and on and on until I had drunk full of my morning information diet and the dog had stopped panting. I like to get all sides of the story, so I often find myself reading multiple articles on the same topic to get a more accurate view. Usually, I try to find the entire interview, comments, or speech so that I can make my own judgments without the bias. But, I digress.

The point was that I had wanted to spark a conversation. I realize now that it doesn’t matter if people stop wanting to read my posts, those who stay and others who join can ruminate and contemplate my views and mull them over in their own minds. Hopefully, it will make them think about their own opinions. The conversation that doesn’t get started doesn’t go anywhere.

It’s important to talk things out. We tell our children to talk it out – we should too. I read a comment today about how we never see European illegal immigrant children ripped from their parents. It took me down the research rabbit hole.  I learned that Mexico sends fewer than half of all illegal immigrants our way; Asia is next in line in numbers; most illegal immigrants today have been here more than 10 years, and many of them came legally but overstayed their visas. I also learned that thousands of people being picked up by ICE are actually legal immigrants with green cards who are being deported for various “crimes” The vast majority of these crimes fall into the category of traffic violations – yes, you read that correctly. Traffic violations.

I’ve been surrounded by immigrants my whole life. I have witnessed first hand the absurdity of someone who came here as a child being told that their entire life is about to be upended because they had gotten traffic tickets and now must be deported. I also have, as I wrote about in Trinity, experienced first hand how racist people, unconscious prejudices and a system created to subjugate the rights and dignity of people of color affect the daily lives of so many people. I initially drafted this post a couple of months ago, not that this changes anything – literally. I sat on it a while because I thought it might be too reactionary. However, the other day I read a story about a young black man who was stopped by police after being harassed by a white woman because he was babysitting two white children #babysittingwhileblack. I read another about a white woman who accused a nine-year-old of sexual harassment for unintentionally brushing her with his school backpack. Next, I read about a white woman who refused to let a black man into his own building and even called the police on him after she saw him use the key to get into his own apartment because she felt uncomfortable. I realized I have to speak out regardless of the consequences.

So, here is my voice and being true to my own convictions is essential. Some may appreciate them – others may not. Some may believe what I do, others will not. But, as far as I’m concerned, honesty is the best policy and there is no sense in denying who I am.

Matthew 13:1-23 1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;

though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

15For this people’s heart has become calloused;

they hardly hear with their ears,

and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their hearts

and turn, and I would heal them.’ a

16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

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