Years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read, If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention. At the time, I was young, inexperienced, and singularly focused on my music career. But those eight words stuck with me. Haunted me. Challenged me.
If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention is both a serious indictment of American entitlement and inequality and a serious provocation to those of us asleep at the wheel of life. I love America. America is my birthplace, my home, and my beloved. Still, I understand that the American dream isn’t America’s—it’s God’s—for all people.
When Jesus encountered the merchants and the money changers haggling in the temple, he got angry—very angry. He overturned their tables and chased them out. Not in my father’s house! Indeed, Scripture teaches us that Jesus’ singular mission in life was to overturn the status quo that gave a license to the rich and to the powerful to take full advantage of the poor and the vulnerable.
To pay attention is to be shaken up. To get angry, frustrated, broken-hearted, and overwhelmed. It also means—it especially means—to act. Not violently but empathetically and efficiently and effectively.
Too often, we think one small voice or action can’t or won’t make a difference. But it’s always, only, been my one small voice and action, your one small voice and action, his and her one small voice and actions together that have made possible the greatest advances in human rights throughout history.
Us. Acting together . . . for the good of all people.
This is how we change the wind.
This is how God’s dream becomes reality—on earth as it is in Heaven.