BY REV. STEVE SHOEMAKER
What kind of sign would Jesus put in his yard? Of course, the “Son of Man who had nowhere to lay his head” had no yard, but if he did, what would be on it? His earthly ministry gives us a clue: He broke down the barriers based on race, gender and religion, brought good news to the poor and befriended the outcast and the “sinners” of his day. He said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
On Friday, August 28, the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, you may see some new signs around town. Grace Baptist Church, where I am the pastor, has been at work to encourage members and community friends to put this sign up at their homes and businesses.
The sign expresses some of the moral values we hold as we try to follow Jesus. It says:
Black Lives Matter
Love Is Love
Feminism Is For Everyone
No Human Being Is Illegal
Science is Real
Be Kind To All
We start with Black Lives Matter because until they do we cannot say All Lives Matter. We are in a time of racial reckoning. We must not look away from the centuries of systemic racism and racial inequity, which have been devastating to people of color in our nation. We say “Black Lives Matter” because of the greater danger and harm which black lives suffer.
Love Is Love: We believe that when we say God loves all, it means all. Too many Christians work to define “all” so it doesn’t mean all. Jesus expanded the definition of the neighbor we are to love so that all were in the circle. It still makes us nervous.
No Human Being Is Illegal: The most oft repeated command in Hebrew Scriptures and echoed in the teachings of Jesus was to care for “the widow, the orphan and the stranger (or foreigner).” Our nation is in an ugly anti-immigrant mood, and not for the first time in our history—it has come in waves— but today it has turned especially vicious and violent. Our nation’s present immigration laws and policies make it almost impossible for immigrants to gain legal status. So we say, No Human Being Is Illegal.
Feminism Is For Everyone: We have just celebrated the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States. It was a long and difficult fight. Feminism works for the end of gender discrimination and the forms of misogyny that demean women. When one group is lifted up, we all gain; so, Feminism Is For Everyone.
Science Is Real: In a day when widespread disparagement and disregard for medical science is costing thousands of American lives and when denial of climate science is increasing the peril to our earth, we stand for the kind of truth and facts which scientific investigation brings.
Finally, Be Kind To All: Love is not only present in our ends but also in our means. It makes our noble attempts to make this world a better place not only right but good. Kindness tempers our words and shows respect for those with whom we disagree. So, yes, kindness too.
Join us in putting these signs up in Statesville. You may get one by contacting John Koppelmeyer by text at 704-880-2101
Steve Shoemaker is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church.