Víctor Chininin Buele
My wife asked, “What really is your position on this?” And ended with asking me to think about how I had made a case for us to storm the gates of the foster care system and rescue as many children as possible.
You see, doing theology is dangerous. It always brings you to confrontation with your idols.
Why are we so easily lured by somebody promising us change? Why are we so easily misguided to put away in a drawer things like logic, truth, beauty, faith, the gospel, when there seems to be a faster, more attractive way to get what I want?
Why is it that we are vociferously loud when it comes to somebody else doing the work? Why is it that when it goes beyond social media outrage (a dear friend said medium-rage earlier I suspect as a way to point out how outrage is so common now that it may mean nothing anymore) and letter writing all causes seem to die out a few days after the critical mass point of media attention?
I remember crying listening to then Senator Obama promising me the New Jerusalem in the United States during that eloquent DNC speech. It didn’t come to pass. We left those years more divided than before.
But I know better than to just blame President Obama for it.
Let’s face it.
We are a nation of idolaters who have bought their way out of acknowledging and feeling the right judgment for our idolatry for a long, long time with mansions, booze, money, entertainment, pills, weed, meth, abortion on demand, pornography, fits of rage, anger, self-worship, shopping malls, work, hobbies, mistresses, smart phones, self-indulgent media consumption, racism, classism, all inclusive resorts.
We will do what it takes to silence our conscience when things come close to the idol we worship above God.
Trump didn’t create this. He has used it all. I can’t figure out if it’s all done masterfully as some would like to give him credit for–as a master genius who saw things that we as a nation were too drunk or high to see and used them to seek the world’s biggest playground fight win over Obama. Or if he is just so unintelligent and so driven by primary instinct and emotions that everything becomes a bargaining chip in his plot to “keep on winning.” But as it often ends when I go down this road, I realize that it does not matter.
What matters then?
Hearing the cries of children caged at the southern border and away from their parents reaches deep into our hangover and stupor. Processing that it is all used for political purposes by those in Washington, that aptly called swamp people were promised would be drained, and for corporate gain by those who know just how to package it and dice it so that they can rightly place us in the right category by means of algorithms for special interests to target us… and pay them money to do so… it reaches deep into the slumber and reminds us:
This must be what judgment is.
And we are under it.
Many questions have come as I’ve processed this:
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children we’ve left behind because a younger woman had a bigger rack or a nicer pair of legs without cellulite? Or one that doesn’t nag as much?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children we’ve left behind because of spousal abuse and neglect?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children we have abused when we have stolen authority and exerted it in harmful ways over those we are called to protect?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children who have been taught for decades that the world revolves around them, that truth is relative, and that they need to think of themselves as more significant than anyone else when they finally see it was all a farce–that the man with the orange skin has proven fairly easily that truth is absolute after all, that there are others out there who need us, and that humility is thinking of others as more significant than ourselves?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children who need a calculator to add 11 + 11 who are obviously going to be ill-equipped to compete in a global economy?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children being fed Starbursts and Kool Aid in our inner cities or in places where a fresh vegetable is as rare an occurrence as a father at the head of the dining room table?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children who are being transported across Central America and the Southern desert in the United States by parents, coyotes, or abusers who cannot possibly carry the water and food needed for a child not to suffer thirst and hunger?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children who starve in the countries to our south where the political, economical, and social structures are far from ideal?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children in the Ecuadorian Andes who grew up without a father because he left to pick fruit, clean toilets, lay concrete, wash dishes, roof houses in the United States?
What about the silent cries of the children violently ripped away from what ought to be the safest place for them to grow and thrive, their mother’s womb?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children who are in the foster care system?
What about the silent and not so silent cries of the children whose parents can’t afford health care or make a living wage to support them?
What about the not so silent cries of the children being born addicted to drugs all over America today?
You see? Judgment stings.
It feels monumentally impossible to do anything about it.
That’s why we believe Obama and Trump and the ones before them and the ones who will come after them.
What shall we do?
Believe the gospel and repent. We need Jesus.
We need to know that Christ came into the world to save sinners. That we have obviously sinned in horrendous ways. That there will be no amount of money, activism, or outrage that will unite us back to our Father.
We are the children in the cage. We need the Good Shepherd to unlock the cage and set us free.
Do you want to see? Do you want to change? Open your eyes. You are the child the media is showing you. Open your ears. Those are the cries of your soul longing for your Father.