500 years of protest

Today marks the 500th anniversary of a German priest, Martin Luther, famously nailing his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg.  He had encountered God in fresh ways, in addition to sought to reform the church by calling people back to a teaching of which we receive grace freely by a generous God rather than earn of which stingily by a reluctant one.  from the process of sparking debate in addition to pushing for change, however, the political in addition to religious movements of the day carried his ideas into a massive fracturing of Christianity.  Much not bad ensued, such as Bible translations into heart languages rather than only Greek in addition to Latin.  Much pain, warfare, in addition to division also followed.  Having grown up Protestant, however, one hardly notices the word root is actually “protest”.  Our narrative feels more like the true faith standing firm from the face of unreasonable opposition than like the vilified footballers taking a knee, or civil rights protestors marching through southern towns.  Can faith in addition to protest go hand in hand?  is actually is actually sometimes necessary, even heroic, to be fissiparous? (A word levied at our Kenyan president in an editorial This specific week . . in addition to one of which applies frequently to politics).

This specific is actually more than a theoretical question for the cross-cultural missionary.  How do we choose what to protest?  When do we work for slow change by within, in addition to when do we pull out the hammer in addition to nails in addition to say “I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen, ” to quote Luther?

Protest comes pretty naturally to me because I generally assume I’m right.  of which’s not lovely, nevertheless of which’s true.  For instance, I had to re-admit an 8 month old who caught a very bad viral croup on our ward because she sat on a bed with her mother for a MONTH due to an unpaid bill.  I’m sure of which’s not legal in America in addition to I think of which’s probably not legal in Kenya either, nevertheless of which is actually a very common practice.  Once someone leaves the hospital, there is actually not definitely a system to track them down for payment.  Health care in government hospitals is actually heavily subsidized, nevertheless very sick complicated kids can run up bills of ten or twenty or even a hundred dollars if they stay long enough, since the public hospitals are allowed to levy smaller charges for the food distributed to the caretaker parent, or for linens or certain tests.  The kind of desperate people who come here often have little family support or communication.  Sadly, their relatives might prefer to leave them stranded for days or weeks (or months) rather than come to their aid with money, in addition to the longer they stay in addition to eat, the more their bill accumulates.  of which’s a complicated cross-cultural catch-22 for which I am ill equipped to make solutions.  If I hand over money, then theoretically the word will spread in addition to no one will pay (or so I have been sternly told).  If I ignore the practice, then patients sit there for dangerously long periods exposed to completely new diseases (not to mention the mental health impact, or the fact of which they take up valuable bed space).   I used to just call in addition to bug the social workers until they waived bills, nevertheless today a completely new system was announced involving charge nurses for each ward.  Oh, wait, there is actually a NURSING STRIKE still, in addition to no charge nurses.  So typical me, I protested.  Which got me absolutely nowhere.  I should know by today of which you don’t win hearts in addition to change minds by pushing people.  You have to come alongside, listen, find common ground, negotiate, be patient, pray.  Sigh.

On the some other hand, there must be times when protest is actually necessary.  When a teacher at a school we were helping lead seduces a pupil, or beats one, we have definitely drawn a line . . .  nevertheless even then, I’ve seen of which if we do of which having a high in addition to heavy hand, we drive some other staff to sympathize with the perpetrator (since the illegal activities are actually culturally common), nevertheless if we spend months in addition to years modeling a different approach, give background, allow for discussion, put responsibility in our partners’ hands, eventually they come through in a way of which is actually more effective in addition to sustainable.

Still struggling, I guess, with the Jesus who brings true peace at a cost, in addition to the Jesus who did not hesitate to bring division too.  No easy answers from the tradition of protest.  I’m not sure Luther might be thrilled to see the state of the church today, nevertheless I suspect he might have been proud of Wilberforce protesting slavery. 

So pray for the church to have true unity in things of which matter (as in John 17), in addition to for people of faith to use discernment in working for change in ways of which are generally respectful.  in addition to of which we might all know (in addition to have courage to act) when the loving thing to do is actually to say:  here I stand in protest.

500 years of protest

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