Last updated: May 09. 2014 7:53AM -
Flo Johnston Faith in Focus



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It’s time for Christians to start making elected officials nervous.


To ask questions, share opinions, question decisions. Let them know we are watching and listening.


Granted, some of them are Christians, but their constituents need to keep them reminded of what it is that God requires of his followers:


The Hebrew Scripture expresses it this way:


In Micah: “… What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”


As readers already know, my previous life was in Durham and my examples often come from that life experience.


Thirty-five years ago, the faith communities in the Bull City, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, organized a group called Durham Congregations in Action, similar to Church Community Services here in Laurinburg.


From the beginning, DCIA’s membership crossed all racial and denominational lines. It was not a group where folks debated theology or preachers used big words they learned in divinity school, but a group that focused on the needs of a violent community that some might call “sin-sick,” a community culturally diverse, a community where many children went to bed hungry and where poverty and unemployment were rampant.


Does this sound familiar?


Since that time, DCIA has become a powerful promoter (lobby) for social justice issues in the city. When the city council, the school board or the county commissioners consider items involving social justice issues, they often find a group of DCIA folks, both laypersons and clergy, sitting in their meeting, on the agenda to speak or just standing around making them nervous.


I remember once when a group came to the steps of the county courthouse an hour before a meeting to sing and to share in Holy Communion before going into the meeting of the city council.


Most of the time such groups were allowed to speak, but when they were not, the group was still there, sitting quietly in the chamber, making officials nervous.


I believe there’s great power in the combined efforts of people of like minds. To say that the universal church is a people of “like minds,” however, is obviously not true.


Try to get Baptists to agree on whether or not women should be ordained to the preaching ministry, or try to get United Methodists to agree on whether or not the church should allow gays and lesbians to be full participants in the life of a congregation. Or try to get two Presbyterians to give an exact explanation of the doctrine of Predestination.


Once, I saw a committee of Methodists and Presbyterians whose stated purpose was to plan a common worship service for Sundays while the sanctuary in one of the churches was being renovated. They spent the better part of six months trying to make decisions about such things as which creed would be used in the Declaration of Faith and whether or not they would pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses” or “forgive us our debts.”


Lord, what fools we mortals be!


But ask Christians across the board about their response to violence, hunger, poverty and homelessness and there’s usually a united front, something we all can agree is part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.


When social justice issues come up at meetings of our elected boards, maybe it’s time for those of us who fly the Christian flag to get together and turn out to be heard.


And if we don’t get to speak, we can still be there, making our elected officials nervous.


Contact Flo Johnston at flo.johnston314@gmail.com or call 361-4135.

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