I’ve seen bloodthirsty demands that “public voices” must speak on every social issue.
There’s a harsh condemnation on the silence of celebrities, clergy, artists, authors, and your average blogger—as if that silence was the same as the injustice itself.
I absolutely agree we must speak up. Silence perpetuates the status quo. I believe in the the gritty necessity of protest and picket signs. We cannot sit idly by in the isolated concerns of our own four walls. Silence is the accomplice to injustice, and I expect better from those who have the golden reach of influence. Our platforms have a responsibility.
I also wonder about the hasty speed we comment on issues which are still unfolding. I wonder how many half-informed people are writing too quickly to get clicks and views and attention and to catch the viral heat of the moment. I wonder if we can both raise our voices while listening across the widening divide. I wonder how we can slow down in crisis to engage with the hurting rather than brew up a think-piece for yet another grand, eloquent, self-promoting manifesto. (I know, I’m guilty of doing the same thing here.)
And I wonder why we demand so much from public voices, as if we are waiting to be told what to think. Or worse, to validate a preprogrammed opinion. Maybe those voices indeed have the power to change things—but we do too, starting with ourselves and the people in the room. We don’t need to know everything first. We can start with the stories across from us.
It‘s physically impossible to care about everything all the time. We can choose to be passionate for just a few crucial things in our very short time on earth. It can’t be done with a flashy, trashy headline that’ll be forgotten in a week, but by the accumulative power of listening to other voices as we find our own. I cannot speak for you, but with you. And if you and I are to be a voice for the voiceless, maybe that means stepping off the stage and passing the microphone to the unheard. I want to hear you.
One thought on “A Time to Speak, a Time to Pause”
Well said, Pastor. I think too many people rely on being told what’s what and how to see the issues. And the media has gotten so skilled at manipulating public thought through careful choice of facts and reporting. It takes a lot of sifting and study to get to the truth.
I think it’s human nature to love being on a bandwagon. Having a personal interest, or through a carefully presented invitation by the media folks jump on the favored one. Then they want everyone else to jump on this bandwagon, too. The more Big Names on board, the more our “preprogrammed opinion is validated”, as you say.
Most of us don’t invest the time, or really care, to acquaint ourselves with the real people behind the issues. When you do, you sometimes get a real surprise. Some are truly innocent and need help; some are playing the victim for what they can get.