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Monday, February 4, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “Code of Silence”

E-Vangel Newsletter
February 4, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “Code of Silence”

A Code of Silence is when an individual or segment of society decide to keep quiet rather than tell the truth in confronting evil and injustice. The topic manifested itself in several peculiar ways last week.

One news story said the horrific string of murders in Chicago is fueled by a Code of Silence. That is, many of the teenagers know the gang members are who killing other teenagers. But there is an unwritten Code of Silence, enforced mostly by fear, that enables the killings to continue.

In my own personal prison ministry, I spoke recently with a young lady who is sitting in a local prison on drug related charges. As I understand it, she could walk free if she would tell authorities the names of her suppliers. So far, she is following a Code of Silence, and will remain indefinitely in jail.

Fear of retribution is a key factor in the Code. Fear is driving many of the major issues we are facing, including the gun debate and the “doomsday preppers”. That fear is what terrorists are using in places like Timbuktu, Mali, punishing those who dare to “speak up” against their tyranny. Fear is what the Taliban attempted to use with Malala Yousafzai, who displayed amazing courage that almost cost her life. But as Bertrand Russell once said, “Those who fear life are already three parts dead.”

Religion is not exempt. Watching a TV worship service yesterday morning, I realized that church’s whole mission is telling people how to escape the horrors of “the last days”. The music, sermon, and even the church name conveyed a way to escape the fear of the coming doomsday. In the sermon, the pastor gleefully recited the litany of wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine, pestilence and terrors to come. However, he minimized one small phrase Jesus included in that list: “Do not be afraid!”

Anita asked me what Psalms 91 said. I asked her why she wanted to know. She said that Bible reference was printed on Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Lewis shirt during last night’s Super Bowl. So from my Bible App on my iPhone, I read to her:

5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.

9 For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

Taylor Branch, who (like me) grew up in the Deep South in the 1950s and 1960s, wrote a book on the epic moments of the Civil Rights Era. He gave a discerning analysis of his book’s findings on CSPAN’s BookTV. During the question and answer session, an 80-year-old white man stepped to a microphone. The old man said he grew up in Dixie, and was a young man of about 30 when history was happening all around him on a daily basis. He said, “I didn’t hate Blacks. But I also didn’t DO or SAY anything against the injustice. I just remained silent.” Confessing that he, like many of his contemporaries, were not burning crosses or throwing epithets, just observing the Code of Silence, he made a hauntingly honest confession. “For my silence in the face of injustice, I am so ashamed!”

When we have the opportunity to speak the truth that shall set us free, the truth that is more powerful than evil, may we have the courage to stand on the right side of history, the right side of justice and kindness toward our fellow man.

Do not waste a single day, a single moment, to fear. Do not betray Truth.

Pastor Bill

From the Quote Garden:
“I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear.”
~ Rosa Parks ~

REMINDER: “Integrity Academy” got off to a great start, thanks to Pastor Owens and our friends of Exodus and Christ Churches. I estimate between 40-50 people showed up for the first of four sessions. The response was very encouraging! The Academy will continue each of the remaining three Sundays in February at 9:00 to 9:45. It is not too late to join us. You are invited to attend, and learn how to begin your journey to a life of integrity, happiness and success. Those who complete the course will receive a “Certificate of Integrity” and The Integrity Toolkit. For details call the church office (619) 284-9205 or respond to this email.

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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