Conference blog #2: “Beyond Protest”

Our second in the conference blog series is brought to you by Harmon Gattis of the Darvell Community.

Throughout history, people have protested injustice, discrimination, hate and other social issues.
From the Israelites protesting their harsh treatment under Pharaoh, to today’s uprisings against
oppressive governments, the world has seen countless movements rise and fall.
However, for a Christian there needs to be something more. Because we have found fulfilment in
Jesus we have the opportunity, even the obligation to proclaim a new way and show a positive
solution.

Every successful protest results in some kind of change – the fall of an old regime, or the abolition a
law – making an opening for something new to be established. This opening can be filled by injustice
and a regime that is even worse if the movement lacks true leadership or a common goal. The Arab
Spring uprising led to the demise of the Mubarak regime which was subsequently replaced by an
equally repressive government that has since been deposed.

In contrast, the cases where true leadership and a positive common goal were present had far more
successful outcomes. The fight against apartheid in South Africa was led by Nelson Mandela, who
instead of inciting violence to counteract the injustices his people were facing, promoted peaceful
protest and strove for reconciliation between the opposing sides. He stuck to the goal of a united
peaceful country even through years of imprisonment and finally realized his dream when he was
elected as the first black president of South Africa.

So how does this apply today?

Right now militant groups in Syria are waging civil war, causing untold suffering to millions of
civilians. Dissatisfied minorities and outspoken free thinkers in many countries across the world are
taking to the streets to protest the injustices of their governments and society. But I believe that as
Christians our task is different.

We can’t just be against something. We need to stand for something – and as Christians this must be
Jesus. This is our greatest calling; to stand for Jesus and his way of peace. As He says in Matthew
10:32-33:
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But
whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Acknowledging Jesus cannot be only in words. As Jesus teaches, deeds of love done to those around
us are deeds of love done to Him. This means going beyond protest and living Christ’s message of
peace for all men and love to others in daily life. This is our task as Christians. If we want to be
counted as worthy of God’s Kingdom, we have no other option.
– By Harmon Gattis, November 2013

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