The thing that makes the world a beautiful place to me is all the difference. God has gifted each person with such a different mind. Because of that difference, I get to have my eyes opened in ways that make me completely question my way of thinking. The world would be so boring without that difference. The difference this week was hard though. How is it that we can try to reduce another person’s hurting? There should be no differences when we need to come together as a community. When we start having a conversation about sexual assault of course we are all going to have different things to say. We all have our own experiences. I know that everyone here at North Park agrees that sexual assault is wrong, but I think we have failed each other as a community in the way we talk about it. There should be no “rape is wrong, but (insert well intentioned, but hurtful comment here).” Rape is wrong period.
We can’t go back and try to justify why someone’s pain is okay, why they deserved it, or how statistically it’s just not a big deal. Jesus took on all of our pain and we praise him for that. When are we going to start simply loving the people that have taken on the pain of sexual assault? No one deserves it. We can’t belittle that. We need to look them in the eye and have empathy for their experience.
Instead we look away from them and look to our own understanding. We can’t understand on our own. They only way to understand is to come together and listen. Coming together means bringing our difference with us, but we have to do that with regard to the impact our words can have on another human being. North Park, when are going to start truly coming together with regard for all of our community members?
Coming together does not mean posting and liking on Facebook, though. Facebook was used as a platform for North Park Unites, but it was a platform to lead people together in real life. It did that and it was so beautiful. I have never been more proud to be a part of the North Park community.
However, Facebook also brought people together in a way that was disappointing. I don’t just mean hateful or inconsiderate comments. I’m talking about our empty likes and shares. A like on Facebook is meaningless. It doesn’t make you stand with our community. Pressing that button is so easy. Click, like, share, done. It takes no work. It takes no empathy. It takes no love. I think it can be easy to think that by liking something that we are standing behind a cause. It doesn’t though. I am disappointed in your likes, North Park.
Specifically to those that identify with the distinctively Christian aspect of North Park, why do you bother liking a post if you won’t open your mouth to speak or use your legs to come together? Is it because you think Jesus was soft spoken and just sat back and sipped coffee with his journal in front of him occasionally washing some feet to show love? North Park, you are wrong if you think that. Jesus was an activist. He did not let people hurt those around him. He may have believed in nonviolence, but he practiced active resistance. Are you resisting what is wrong in our community?
I, along with so many others resisted sexual assault and rape culture in the North Park community. I promise to continue resisting that. We all have different things that we care deeply about. Sexual oppression has a huge place in my heart. I started a conversation about it on Facebook and it was so easy. It was incredibly hard when I brought that conversation to North Park, but I am so glad that I did it. God has gifted me with a voice. He gave you one, too.
I don’t expect everyone to use their voice for the things that I care about, but I expect my community to come together when we so desperately need each other. Our community needs us to come together against sexual assault. So, I beg you North Park, offer your hand to your community when they need you and use your voice when God places something on your heart.