Yesterday Trevor pointed out a reality that gets lost when begin talking about who “earns” what and which people “deserve” what they have. This reality is that while we would like to live in a world where everyone’s opportunity is equal, where every person can rise and fall based on their own merit, we do not live in that world. Some people find chances that others do not. Opportunity shines on one and eludes another.
We must be honest about the nature of the world that we live in. Life is not fair or equal. Can we completely solve this type of inequality? The sad answer is no. Much of this can be attributed to random chance. But there are circumstances in our world that can be spoken against and battled.
Over the weekend Emma Watson, the 24-year old British actress best known for her role in the Harry Potter films, stood up before the United Nations to talk about one of these realities. Her speech was passionate and moving. Here it is if you haven’t seen it yet:
The word feminism is a loaded word in our culture. Its mention conjures up all kinds of political connotations for people. I get that. But what I did not hear from Ms. Watson was a desire to blur the lines between the genders or act like “everyone is the same.” What I heard was a cry for us to love, respect and value one another with no regard for gender. And to fight to make sure that no opportunity is withheld from women simply because of their anatomy.
This wasn’t a cry from Scripture or religion, but it certainly reminded me of Galatians 3:
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Christians cannot solve all of the world’s problems. I long for the day when God comes and puts all of the world to rights. Until that day comes, we will continue to see inequality and injustice. But we can also live as people of expectation. As people who work to create a better reality, who offer themselves as conduits of a new kingdom.
While we do not have the power to make everything right, we can — we’re called to — do everything in our power to nurture an environment where everyone is valued equally. A world where no one’s voice is unworthy.
Are our churches places that reflect the inequalities of our world? Or are we people that are realizing the better reality of God’s kingdom? Where everyone, regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status, is on equal footing?
Over and over again in Scripture, God communicates that it is not our job to decide who is deserving and who is not. It’s above our pay grade. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. His blessing falls on whomever he wills. What we can do, though, is live as baptized people who erase the inequalities in our control.
So I’m with Emma. I appreciate her courage and her voice. And I encourage you to check out what she’s doing.
It reminds me of who we are called to be in Christ.