Monday, September 04, 2006

Rallies, or Not-a-Disclaimer

I just got an email from my friend who invited me to the rally I cited. He made some pretty good arguments for going to rallies, although he could, apparently, see my point, too. So I would just like to say here, for the record, that I actually have attended and participated in marches and rallies in the past. And I do think there's a whole lot to be said for standing up publicly for something in which one believes. It's like saying, "I feel so strongly about this that I'm willing to put my reputation on the line and be misunderstood." Or, "I would rather have people not like me than compromise on this issue." That's a big one for me. I always want everybody to like me.
Maybe that's why I'm currently on a sort of anti-rally jag. Or why I'm now putting across the pro-rally point of view.

But the thing is, I still think there are better options. Sure, there's a lot of character-development that can (not necessarily will, but can) happen if I march for something I feel strongly about. But in that case then, the whole thing is really more about me than about the issue and about the people. And if at all possible, I'd rather stand up for what I believe more subtly but more personally, and pray for change, than join a crowd whose every slogan I would be seen to be embracing, even if I don't.

I think probably the people in Jesus' day would've loved to march with Him. "God hates Romans," or something like that. That's probably why they followed Him into Jerusalem waving palm branches (instead of wearing placards) and praising Him as a deliverer. They were even right--about His being a deliverer (The Deliverer)--although they missed the point about what kind He was. It's easier, and often more exciting, to do something like that than to sit on a hillside and listen to some guy talking about loving your enemies and then actually try to do it. (On the other hand, the rage in the Temple was probably pretty adrenaline-pumping, and eating miraculously-multiplied fish was most likely extremely cool.) But that "Hosanna" rally didn't end up working out the way they'd hoped, and the one that did end up accomplishing anything was the one a week later when they got Jesus crucified.

I really do believe God calls everybody to do different things for Him, and I wouldn't say that rallies and marches are inherently evil or anything. I'm just hard-pressed to think of one (including the ones I've been in) that didn't have better alternatives.

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