The late Baptist ethicist Glen Stassen would teach about the surprising and transforming initiatives Jesus offered in the Sermon on the Mount. Followers of Christ were encouraged, for example, to "turn the other cheek," "go the extra mile," and "love and pray for our enemies." These incredible reversals and extra efforts to go beyond what is expected are the means of the new people of God, paving a lasting path to true peacemaking. Jesus not only taught us to pray, "on earth as in heaven," but showed us how to bring a little bit of heaven's reality into our common and day-to-day experiences.
I was inspired to enact one of these great lessons thanks to a recent article from Baptist News entitled, "Stop threatening HBCUs" by Dr. David Cassady of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. He is responding to the recent bomb threats across the county to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which we now are learning were likely propagated by a set of juveniles. But, let's not kid ourselves. This is not just a prank, but a long-standing exercise of intimidation and racial animus that we can notice over and over again, infecting our young with racial prejudice that is deeply embedded into the American fabric.
So, where through all of this might I be inspired? That's easy. What if I could turn this terrible and disturbing news story around and upside down? What if my agitation could be translated into motivation? What if I use this as motivation to make a donation to a local HBCU? It's been a while since I've offered a gift to Simmons College in Louisville. They are friends and ministry partners, a part of our mission as Kentucky Baptists, and they do great work in the West end of our largest city. Could this be a gentle nudge, a tap on the shoulder, a crowbar to the pocketbook, a calling from above, an opportunity of goodwill? "What you intended for evil," says Joseph in Genesis 50:20, "God intended for good."
Can we turn this "wrong-sided" world "right side out"? What if HBCU's were flushed with cash out of this crisis? What if the good people of Baptist life in Kentucky made giving to Simmons College a priority? What other "transforming initiatives" could we begin today?
We've been disturbed by bad news. But maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking too, disturbing us to make a little good trouble as we help heaven kiss the earth again and again.
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