When Christians are attacked, there are several responses to this onslaught.
Many have called for the creation of a national Christian faith defense organization, an attempt to create a “faith defense” ministry that would include members of the clergy and other church members.
Others have called on the U.S. Congress to provide financial aid for this defense.
But the most common response to this attack has been silence.
This silence has allowed the assault to continue unabated, as the churches continue to fall.
The response from the Christian community has been to stay silent, as it has done for the last 200 years.
In that silence, the assault continues.
The silence is the silence of silence.
And the silence is not the silence that is good, not the good that we need to hear, and not the answer to the questions we need answers to.
The church’s silence has been a silent complicity in the assault on our Christian faith.
It is the silent complicity of complicity that continues to be our silent response to the assault.
But in the midst of this silence, I want to speak to the silence.
Because I believe it is the voice of a church, of faith, that is silenced in the face of this assault on its very very lifeblood, its very identity.
I want the churches to say, we will listen, we are listening.
We will listen to you.
We are listening, and we are coming.
The silence is a silence that speaks to the people who are listening in.
It speaks to our communities of faith.
The silent silence of our churches is an acknowledgement of the power of our faith, the power to change the world.
It is a recognition of the very power of the church’s presence.
We are all listening.
And we are all calling.
The words of our church are those of a thousand men and women of faith who have been silenced by this assault.
It can be heard by the deaf, and it can be felt by the blind.
When Christians are silenced, we can all be silenced.
When Christians call for justice, we know that justice will be done.
When they ask for forgiveness, we all know that forgiveness will be received.
When we call for unity, we realize that unity is a gift of God.
Now, the silence cannot silence.
We cannot silence the voices of our communities.
We can only continue to listen to them, to listen with a sense of responsibility, a sense that we have a duty to be a witness.
To continue to ask for the silence, for the silent, to continue to call out our communities to be the change we want to see in our world.
I pray that we will continue to be called on to act.
But the silence does not have to silence us.
The quiet will not silence us if we ask for it.
And I am praying that we continue to pray for silence.
Thank you. God bless.