Many years ago, I was walking to my car in a parking lot that was covered with glare ice. I slipped and fell flat on my back, knocking the wind out of me and it felt as if I had hurt my back. I was alone except for one young man who ran up to me with a look of concern and asked, “Are you all right?”
“No,” I groaned, and laid there in pain.
With a startled look, he stood up straight, thought a moment, walked to his car and drove away, leaving me laying on the ice. He did not help me get up. He did not go into the building we were next to to get help. He simply left.
Realizing I was on my own, I did manage to crawl to my car, get in, and drive home. Nothing was broken and although I was bruised and sore for a few days, I was basically okay. Fortunately.
Now, that young man was not being malicious. He was concerned enough to come over to me and ask if I was all right. But no one had trained him what to do if he came upon someone who was hurt. In his world, you asked someone if they were okay and they were supposed to say, “I’m fine.” He simply didn’t know what to do next. Perplexed, and possibly feeling he had done all he could he simply left me lying alone, in freezing weather, in an empty parking lot on a sheet of ice.
I wonder how many of us, looking at our culture right now feel like that young man? We have plenty of good intentions, but no concrete strategies or actions to follow through. Plenty of opinions are flying around, but very few plans, and even less follow up. Many in the church have declared culture wars, but few are thinking about culture care. Meanwhile, it seems that our nation is lying flat on its back, unable to get up.
About twenty years ago, it was popular to wear bracelets or tee shirts emblazoned with WWJD. It stood for what would Jesus do? It became quite popular. If faced with a life situation, you were encouraged to stop and ask yourself that question. Of course, to answer that question one has to educate themselves with who Jesus was, what he taught, and how he lived. An understanding of a sacrificial lifestyle was important and why he came to show us how it’s done. You really had to educate yourself biblically to truly answer to question, but it’s far more popular to just adopt a fashion statement.
Which brings us to today. As I ponder the life of Jesus and wonder what He would do, I’m confident from being familiar with his teachings that he’d find a way that would honor the authorities, since he was clear on the importance of paying your taxes, to respect those in government and to pray for those in authority. Not just the public figures you liked. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be posting unkind and untrue memes about people or political parties he didn’t like, since he came for all people. All.
And finally, I’m confident he’d put the phone and tablet away and engage people on a much deeper level. He had more important things to do that to be constantly distracted.
So do we.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.