Last week I made a post on fb that included the verses from Matthew 21:12-13 which states, “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” Then I asked the question “how many churches would Jesus walk into today and knock some tables over?” I think Jesus would be knocking a lot of things over these days, and I think it would be in more places than just inside churches.
Last week I was walking through the grocery store, when I heard yelling from a very frustrated man that came quickly around the corner and into my isle. From the sounds of things it was a racist matter.
Oh you know, just another day here in America.
Of course I did not see the interaction for myself nor can I confidently say that’s what was happening. However, I began to wonder what I would do if I ever did encounter such hate happening right before my very eyes.
…and what would Jesus do?
I imagined Jesus maybe flipping a grocery cart or two. The blatant disrespect for one of his children would stir up anger I imagine. Ephesians 4:26 says “In your anger do not sin.” Anger itself is not a sin. It’s when anger manifests as sin that we have a problem. Jesus and God aligned possess a righteous anger.
We should have that right about now too.
As I sat and watched a Minneapolis officer on May 25th kneel on the neck of a handcuffed man by the name of George Floyd, while he couldn’t breathe… flipping tables.
As I read the news that on February 23 Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, unarmed, was fatally shot while jogging… flipping tables.
When I hear about the hate and violence against the LGBTQ community… flipping tables.
When I hear about all the rape victims coming forward and receiving ridicule and disbelief… flipping tables.
When I read about another white privileged politician that gets a free pass on sexual assault… flipping tables.
When hear about racism, sexism, rape, and homophobia of ANY kind… flipping tables.
It’s just one table after the next being flipped over in my mind every time I hear another tragic story of hate. And I am so sick and tired of hearing the statement “these things have been happening for decades though.” Exactly. So it’s time to stand up, speak up, and start flipping some tables. This has gone on long enough. Stop shuffling the tables and chairs around ignoring the problems, while trying to rearrange everything so it looks better. It doesn’t matter how you arrange it in your own mind. It doesn’t change anything.
Take a stand. Flip the table.
I know that my little blog here is not going to bring justice to any of these things. It’s in these moments though, where my words meet your same anger and frustration, that powerful things can take place. Nate looked at me tonight after watching the horrifying video of George Floyd and said “so what do we do?”
What DO we do?
I’d be lying if I said I have an answer to that. I have decided though, that I want to do SOMETHING. I can’t sit around and just accept the fact that this is “normal” because it’s been happening since the beginning of time. At this point we don’t have the same excuses that past generations have had. We are living in the day and age of constantly being informed. We know too much some might say. While I do agree with that statement to a certain degree…
I would argue that past generations didn’t know enough.
So now here we are in 2020 having to pick up the pieces. With the media right there at our finger tips we can see the chaos in full force everyday. It hits us like a ton of bricks every time we turn on the news or open up our phones and read about it. It’s a heavy burden. Our eyes have been pried and held open, unable to be shut to the disturbing realities we are seeing day… after day… after day. Our eyes are opened and they are staying open to our broken hate filled incredibly crooked justice system of a country. We see ALL of it. So we pat it on the back saying “good luck” because none of this is new news??? Is that what Jesus would do?
I think if Jesus were here he’d be flipping some tables.
When you go anywhere in public these days you will see most people with masks on due to COVID-19. Our voices can still be heard with these on, but personally I am less likely to speak to someone unless I absolutely have to while wearing my mask. And if I do speak, it can barely be heard. I feel covered, safe from the virus, and hidden just enough that standing there silently feels okay to do. This visual is no different than the reality we live in among the injustice and brokenness of mankind. Oppressed men and women are being severely mistreated while many of us have stood, and still stand by, with a mask on. Quiet. Content. Protected.
Is this what black people see when they look at us?
Is this what people in the LGBTQ community see within churches?
Is this what rape victims see not just in society but sadly even within their own families?
Masks on. Mouths covered. Willing to speak only if we must. Too afraid of what might happen if we remove the mask all together.
First and foremost let me be clear, this is not my passive aggressive way to make a statement against wearing actual masks for real. Please wear a mask in public due to COVID-19. It’s the simplest act of kindness that you can do these days. When you DO wear your mask though, ask yourself “is this the only mask I’m wearing?”
The reality is there’s another virus that’s been infecting our souls for generations, and people have been wearing invisible masks for a very long time. This virus plages our nation with fear, and privilege, and pride, and arrogance. I don’t have a name for it, but I strongly dislike it. I know it’s there. There’s something in the air that makes people either afraid to experience it or too comfortable to care.
I’m angry about this.
So here I am – A straight middle class white woman whose life has been marked by privilege… and still, I’m flipping tables mad. Go ahead and call me aggressive. Go ahead and call me too much. Go ahead and call me loud. Go ahead. Just know, that I’m following in the footsteps of someone who has gone before me and knows persecution first hand. Jesus is gentle, forgiving, compassionate, selfless, and kind.
…but he also flips tables.
Here’s what I’m not suggesting. I am not suggesting we fight violence with more violence. I am not suggesting we flip actual tables or carts in the grocery store (haha). This is a metaphor in which I am suggesting that we stand up and embrace the righteous anger that is available to us, in a way that is appropriate. The kind of righteous anger that promotes change. The kind of righteous anger that promotes good healthy honest God honoring conversations. The anger that Jesus felt when he walked into the temple and saw it being used for something it was never intended. This is not what God intended we use our free will for – pride, narcissism, racism, sexism, hatred, entitlement. So I think some righteous anger is way over due here.
I mentioned that Jesus is gentle, forgiving, compassionate, selfless, and kind. (Just to name a few!) Jesus also as the son of God embodies love in human form.
God is love.
…and sometimes the most loving thing we can do is “flip some tables” in the name of Jesus.
Maybe a chair or two as well.