Progress feels good. My great-grandparents were migrant workers during the Depression. Eighty years later, their descendants live comfortable lives. Maybe it’s time to rethink our comfort.
The Comfort of My Back Porch
I sit on the back porch watching the eastern horizon turn a pale tangerine, my Bible open in my lap. Soon, the migrant hummingbird crowd will zoom in and swam the feeders, disrupting the progress of my morning routine.
Malachi 3:5 grips my attention and tumbles around with the headlines of another unarmed Black woman shot by police in the South. The police department has withheld the officer’s name from everyone. In the same town where the police shot a young Black man for absolutely no reason (a young Black man with no criminal history), police stop a black family, throw them to the ground and handcuff them.
The youngest, a six-year-old, sobs inconsolably. Their crime? Being Black. The police pull them over on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle. Once they’ve cuffed the family and intimadate them with guns, the police ‘discover’ they mistook a minivan for a motorcycle. Who cuffs a six-year-old, anyway? Did the officers fear she would drive the mom van off?
The police department has sent a letter of apology (what real man sends a letter instead of apologizing in person?) and offered to pay for counseling for the children. Pitiful responses to the humiliation suffered by innocents simply because the family didn’t ‘fit the profile’ of who ‘should be’ driving around town in a nice van.
I thought the events of the summer would bring progress in our understanding of the sanctity of life and the need to treat each other—regardless of race, religion, skin color, preference, or country of origin—with kindness and respect.
Evidently not. Over and over again the minor prophets warn God’s people of the coming consequences of putting progress towards comfort over seeking justice for the least of the community.
God Doesn’t Care About Our Progress Towards Comfort
Yes, God wants to bless us, but not so we can settle into a comfortable life where we sit back and judge everyone who hasn’t achieved everything we have. We blame the poor for being poor, and pat ourselves on the back for the progress we and our ancestors have made.
With progress comes responsibility. God clearly tells us the fruits of our labors shouldn’t stop at comfort and complacency. We need to seek justice for the least of these in our community. The widows, orphans, aliens, poor, disadvantaged, misunderstood, unrepresented, cheated, downtrodden, and oppressed.Does God want us to be comfortable? #socialjustice #fmfparty Click To Tweet
Sending money to help missionaries in another country doesn’t count for much if we elect politicians who protect our bottom line at the expense of people in our community.
We can do better because we know better. We’ve just let progress distract us from what really matters: justice, love, mercy.
I wonder how Martin Luther Kings children feel? I have a dream and we Still aren’t there. Heart breaking. Complacency is not an option. Your end neighbour #7
Three decades or so back, two Cuban friends and I (I’m Asian) ended up in the wrong colour of town. They were killed; I survived.
One of them was carrying my child.
I don’t now how this ends, but it’s not with with a Chinese self-criticism drill of white (or Hispanic, or Asian) drill of privilege.
It may take all the days until the end of this world.
This is just so unimaginable. Horrible and heartbreaking.
so sad. in so many way we have certainly let progress distract us from what matters. I think it’s because we define progress poorly. thank you for sharing this. always thought-provoking.
Yes! “Over and over again the minor prophets warn God’s people of the coming consequences of putting progress towards comfort over seeking justice for the least of the community.” Somehow, this truth gets passed over in forming a theology of who we are as the church. The consequences are that our light is dim. I honestly felt sick watching the video of the family. Shameful.
We have so much to learn! We must do better!