Change can be fearful. Procrastination carries consequences. Anxiety is habit-forming. However, possessing wisdom with a sense of urgency is fearlessness combined with a drop of faith. It’s all we need to create the change we desire.
During our waking hours, some of us are indeed offering encouragement and educating all generations on reasons to take the nation’s midterm elections seriously and exercise our right to vote. Yet more recently, while we lay down to sleep, our democracy was threatened and our political landscape changed drastically overnight. Many saw it happening live on the 24-hour news cycle, but even more of us woke to senseless chaos, uncertainty, and doubt on all levels. That’s what an attack feels like. Perhaps it was even more disturbing to those who are not aware of our historic circumstances.
High drama is not new to the faith community and the African-American church in particular. Our ancestors kept each other “woke” at all times. Under the covering of God’s amazing grace and prayer, spirit-filled people strengthened themselves and their strategic interests. They dog-whistled like others influencers we hear today, but only among each other without shame or political correctness. Whether attending church, visiting the local grocery store, or at work in plain sight of their oppressors, Black Christians made their plight to obtain civil rights and equality clear. They took time to teach the illiterate, educate their children, and, most importantly, communicate with little regard for political affiliation.
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Much has changed since the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of 1964, ending both segregation and granting equal voting rights. Today we have many platforms of social media. We don’t own them, but we spend millions of dollars to invest in them using the latest technologies. We have somehow become cozy with these conveniences. Let’s face it; we enjoy our toys that keep us entertained causing us to become less engaged with humanity.
Technical inanimate objects allow us to keep in touch with those we care about without human voice or touch. It is appreciated as an asset in our society. Yes, we digitally celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, achievements and such, but we must be cautious about what is shared through these mediums. Perhaps it is also a brilliant distraction as the megabytes we use can literally tick away our freedoms when abused.
As a researcher and writer, I posted one simple question to my modestly sized social media audience one day prior to the bomb threats.
For nearly 24 hours, everyone was silent. Then one response was received. That individual sincerely shared that her faith is in “Jehovah, not man.”
Even in our silence, we should reach deep into our mustard seed of faith and wake up, fearless and ready to take action. Voting is the most active resistance we have as a civil right. Our enthusiasm should empower us and encourage others.
Weren’t we told to “Wake Up Everybody” 43 years ago by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes ironically in November 1975? Singer and songwriter Elton John told us to “hold the borders open” in 1970. Are we even aware of the message that Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas encouraged in his book “How to Preach a Dangerous Sermon(2018)?” He shares with us a simple truth, “When we do not choose productive options and constructively confront issues…the issue does not go away…buried feelings do not die.”
When we are socially or spiritually asleep, we become more involved with our own personal daily agendas. I offer here a bit of nutrition for spiritual thought. The Bible teaches us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV) “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Are we asleep in spite of our own best interest or complacent to our own demise? Are we aware of how high the stakes are for ourselves if we chose not to vote? Are we proactively awake enough to effectively communicate and participate in this critical process to educate both the eligible or disenfranchised voter?
If our choice is to remain silent, then perhaps the real question is — what are we doing with our stewardship? Wake Up! Stay Woke! Make the change you desire. It requires both prayer and action. Obviously, others who may not have our best interests at heart have a well-planned strategy. What’s ours? Make sure you at least use your right to vote now while you still have that right!