If you know me, you know I am not a fan of the Passion Conference. I’m not anti-Passion, but I’m not a fan. It’s like, say, the New England Patriots. I don’t hate them, but I don’t go out of my way to watch them unless something really interesting is happening (like, say, Tom Brady being on my fantasy team). I’ve never been, I have no desire to go, but I’d probably go if I needed to or had a free ticket (even though I have some other theological concerns).
Also, if you know me, you know I am a huge fan of Twitter. I love Twitter. There are many reasons why, but one such reason is because I have a pretty short attention span. Twitter is the perfect venue for that. But I love Twitter.
It seems that Twitter and Passion were made perfectly for one another.
Last year, Passion decided it would take up the cause to fight human trafficking. This is a GREAT move and is a major problem in our world today. (By the way – if you are interested in organizations fighting human trafficking in the United States, check out Night Light International. One of my best friends works for them and they can always use support!) Passion is to be commended for bringing this issue to the forefront and at least making people aware that this kind of stuff is going on, often times in our own backyard.
So everybody went to Passion and got a little crazy for Jesus. They sang, they heard some preachers, and they went to family groups. All week, though, the charge was on – they were “in it to end it.” It was the #enditmovement or something. Which, again, let me stress that raising awareness is a good thing. People need to know that these things are happening.
But as G.I. Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle.”
When I was in college, the Invisible Children movement started. This was a movement to raise awareness about the terrible tragedy that is an ongoing thing in Uganda. Kids are being abducted and forced into slavery and fighting for the Lord’s Resistance Army. Invisible Children was a documentary made about these atrocities, and it was shown on college campuses across the country.
The IC group at Ole Miss had a few other events. Namely, one where they all spent the night in the Grove to “raise awareness.”
What do these things have in common?
It seems like now activism is limited to the “raising awareness” stage. Everybody gets all fired up about “ending it” whether it’s slavery or whatever else, but we don’t move past it.
And look – I know this sounds like I am being self-righteous. It needs to be said that I am bad, bad, bad at this. I try to keep my Twitter feed on the lighter side, and I make attempts to be funny more than I attempt to change the world.
The thing I, and pretty much everyone else my age or younger, need to understand is that the world isn’t simply changed by awareness. Yes, a light needs to be shined on injustice. Yes, these terrible things happening in the world need to be announced and discussed. But we can’t stop there. We can’t just hash tag something and the next day, pretend like it never happened.
We have to do something.
Not every single one of us is called to every specific injustice. By that I mean that not every single person is called to move to another city or country and fight hunger, slavery, or whatever else. What we are called to do is care for our neighbors, widows, and orphans, and to follow God’s will. Some people are uniquely equipped to do specific things. Some people do have that burning heart for foreign missions, or whatever else.
But we are all called…no…commanded to pray (part of praying “thy kingdom come” is praying that God’s kingdom, God’s righteous and just reign, will be present here on earth). We are all commanded to be generous.
This is pretty much just a roundabout way of urging myself and others to go beyond awareness – beyond “hash tag activism” – and do something. “Something” can mean a lot of different things, but it does not mean anything less than prayer. The Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, the Old Testament Law, and the New Testament letters are all concerned with the oppressed and enslaved.
The old adage “all it takes for evil to exist is for good men to do nothing” comes to my mind. But in a lot of ways, this feels worse than “good” people doing nothing. This feels like us doing nothing, but patting ourselves on the back for doing something.
We, as people, can’t just hash tag something for a week and move on. I’m pretty sure that’s not how this works.