Have You Heard?

I suppose I should have instant opinions or insight about the current rioting in the U.S.A. and beyond. I do have a blog and that’s what blogging is all about. But …

I’m still back in the murder of George Floyd.

I’m still there …

With a grief that has yet to erupt in tears, but threatens to at any second.

I’ve been in constant, underlying grief for a week.

I want to move forward, I expected to, but it’s just not happened. Because I have noted that, with God, for every problem there is a solution, I prefer to hurry ahead to solutions. That stage pulls me out of agonizing problem-mode, and puts me in the more tolerable fixing-mode.

Yet, I’m still in problem mode.

I’m still in grief of white men murdering a black man. I don’t even have words for all that is embedded in that video.

  • Layers of terrible.
  • Layers of betrayal.
  • Layers of injustice.
  • Layers of evil.

My ear is still bent to God in that terrible video. With George Floyd.

I’m still at God’s feet waiting, listening. I’m still …

Grieving.

I’ve read on social media that I am supposed to be speaking out as a white person. If I don’t, I’m condoning the murder and racism. In my mind I agree, yet I’ve tried to make myself have the words to condemn racism and the words don’t come.

I’ve read antithetical posts that tell me to not speak up … as whites we should be listening now, not speaking.

Such is life. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

It doesn’t matter. I won’t let anyone pressure or guilt me into saying and doing according to their convictions. I wonder, though …

How do people already have certainty of what to say and do? Instantly, they took to their platforms to command us to say this, and do that. How did they already have such clarity on such a terrible, muddled, never-before-experienced, complicated mess?

I’ve been immersed in live news for a week, soaking, absorbing. It keeps coming. Transpiring every hour. What I see is:

  • The whole spectrum of human behaviors being expressed individually and corporately. The whole spectrum.
  • Unchanged social, political, judicial, law enforcement, educational, civil, housing, health, nutritional, and financial inequities.
  • Centuries of racism. Centuries. 
  • Victimizers and victims.
  • Aggressors and passivists.
  • Advantaged people groups doubling down to maintain power over disadvantaged people groups.
  • Perpetrators of injustice and violence insistent on retention of their rights to do as they do.
  • Marginalized groups rising to push against the oppressors who keep breaking their backs and crushing their necks.
  • Professional rioters, criminals, killers, destroyers, and haters exploiting opportunities to do what they’ve perfected.
  • Generalizations of people groups as all good or all bad; all right or all wrong.
  • Ignorance of the fact that each person on the planet is an individual, not a generalization; not a profile; not a stereotype.
  • A nation already divided, set up at the poles of extremes, established in “us” verses “them”.
  • A nation of masses who didn’t have to, but chose to, or were tricked into, seeing everything through lenses of politics:  as if it is normal and only right to put on “liberal” or “conservative” glasses to see life through; as if pandemics and racism and all issues cannot be assessed independent of politics.
  • An overlay of a novel global pandemic that added a layer of dense oppression to disadvantaged people groups more-so than to advantaged groups. For months now, COVID-19 has been laid on hot embers of injustice. The heat has been building there while we who are not oppressed watched Netflix.

We’ve never had this set of conditions before. Ever. How do people note and understand all this and launch so immediately from their established opinions, when there is so much to digest, and it’s still transpiriting?

Are people retaining their pre-existing opinions without listening to those immediately affected by that big list above? Are people gravitating to those who share their sets of beliefs and finding safety in numbers there, again? Are people looking for confirmation for their biases, again? Do we never learn, even when our choices of solutions haven’t solved anything? We just keep doing the same wrong things over and over again, and call it right?

People of faith profess to add God to all equations of their lives — they claim to seek God and represent God. Are they seeking God in this time of all things new, or are they launching their reactions from the cement pads of their old, established views? How did they instantly have directives to tell us what we should be doing and what we should be saying?

How did they “knee jerk” react as instantly as an intact patellar reflex to the tap of a doctor’s hammer?

When did they hear from God to know what to do and say? Maybe they did hear that quickly, but if they did I want them to tell me what he said and what he’s feeling and what he’s directing. I haven’t heard them even mention an encounter with God in their all-knowingness.

I must be slow, or I must not have the same God. Because I’m at God’s feet and I’m still back a full week in George Floyd’s murder …

Grieving.

Even for people who aren’t used to God as a living, active participant in their daily lives, how can anyone know what to say and do right now? — we’ve never ever had this set of conditions before. It seems to me to be presumptive to have the solutions for this unprecedented and complicated time without listening.

  • Listening to people who have firsthand accounts.
  • Listening to people in unedited videos.
  • Watching live television, muting the journalists if their opinions are biased.
  • Reading facts-only reports.

Listening. To people. All people.

And for those of us who profess to know God … listening to him. First and foremost, listening to him.

If you already claim to know God, but haven’t even put your pre-existing views in a holding pattern in this time of newness, then I don’t want you to tell me what to do and what to say. Certainly not in God’s name. You aren’t representing God, you are representing you.

It’s understandable that people who do not have a faith background would leap ahead to enact the views they hold, and project those views onto society; they don’t know what they do, as Jesus said. But for those who have our identities in God, why are we not practicing what we preach? — why are we not at the feet of God seeking his heart, mind, and direction?

I wrote the following, linked blog post years ago, and it has been picked up by many many readers globally since the onset of the pandemic. Recently, I republished it under a new title, and it, too, is being read by many globally. The rise in numbers this week has captured my attention. I took note. If so many people are reading it, it must be desired information. As it happens, it is a teaching article about how to pray, specifically, how to listen to God.

  • I am listening.
  • Waiting to hear.
  • Determined to not launch from my own pre-existing views.
  • Choosing to say and act only if he chooses to teach me and send me.

If you are interested, here is that link:  https://cindigale.com/2018/10/04/if-my-people-who-are-called-by-my-name/

If My People Who Are Called By My Name

     In the midst of this nation’s political and social turmoil, this scripture is timely:

     2 Chronicles 7:14  “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

     What is it to pray and seek God’s face? Listening for God’s direction first requires self-assessment and intentionally becoming a blank slate. It requires great care to not mistake our own pre-existing opinions, views, and desires with His voice. Let me suggest we go “all in” and forego our opinions and loyalties to people, parties, value systems, and even theologies before we seek Him.
     We can ready our minds to hear Him by saying and meaning:
  • Not my thoughts but Yours.
  • Not my words but Yours.
  • Not my emotions but Yours.
  • Not my actions but Yours.
  • Not my plan but Yours.
  • Not my will but Yours.
     Then we are to listen. Truly listen.
     If we hear nothing, then it’s our responsibility to not substitute that silence with our own or someone else’s thoughts. Until we hear, we need to remain neutral. If we move on before hearing directly from His Holy Spirit to ours, then that impetulance is ours to own.
     Early on, when we don’t know Him yet, or have just begun to know Him, it’s tricky. There are other voices that sometimes impose themselves, posing as the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they aggress as far as overwhelming us with anxiety, fear, or guilt. It’s part of the learning curve — stay determined: The more you know God, the more obvious it is that those cunning “voices” are not of our Father, but from the father of lies.
     It doesn’t end at “hearing from God”. What do we do with information once it has arrived? We have free wills. Do we reject his direction, argue with his knowledge or wisdom, or refuse to believe the gift of discernment He provided? It is always up to us to reject or choose his direction. It is always our choice to disagree or agree with His revelation, but if we continue to be “all in” with his “answers” to our praying and seeking, we can be secure in His truths.
     The same is true of personal growth and change: You are free to do so or not. You can choose to conform to people or to conform to God. Slowly but surely it is to our advantage to be transformed by Him, to be more like Him. Let that be our goal.
     Whether we hear from Him or not, we do ourselves and others a grave disservice by claiming God agrees with our unchanged selves. We undermine and wrong Him by claiming He endorses us as is. When people have safety in numbers, we are prone to forge ahead with our bold ambitions, but He does not endorse us unless we are following Him, not leading Him.
     People are free to proceed without God at any point, while claiming God’s approval. Check out what is happening in the religious world we live in, and see if you can spot them. If you don’t know God, but know only religious law, theology, or cultural values, you are unlikely to discern that God is not there with them as they believe. But if you have invested the hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades to know Him, you will discern it. You can discern such a mysterious thing as what is true and what is false in the society we live in, because you have done your due diligence; you wanted to know God’s thoughts, not your own; you wanted God’s will only.
     When you’ve lived that life, and have been consistently willing to hear from Him and Him alone, it’s not your first rodeo to find yourself alone against the majority of even Christians — you’ve been there and done that a thousand times; He’s proved his words and revelations to you a thousand times as well. You’re a veteran. You spent the time with Him one-on-one to know Him more and more, so you recognize when groups of people are groundlessly claiming God’s endorsement. Though they disagree with you, a crowd against one, you know theirs is not the God you know. You trust your longtime relationship so much that you let Him alone be God.
     If enough people do THAT — truly seek God and God alone — only then, does He promise to hear from heaven and heal our land.