You Have My Attention Now

DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating for silence, nor am I writing for the impeding of free – or any – form of speech.  What I am advocating for, in this article, is that we give equal attention to the things which are said, as well as the things which go unsaid.  Happy reading.

Recently, I had lunch with a fellow ‘Wake Div’er’.  During our fellowship, we discussed a myriad of topics – one of which, was our respective careers.  As the conversation progressed, we found many similarities between our work and our pursuits in ministry.  We began to share advice with one another as we reflected upon our experiences.

With bubbling curiosity, I asked, “What is the most valuable piece of advice you can offer someone who is brand new to your career field?”  My friend replied, “To pay attention to what is not being said.”  I pushed the discussion a bit further and asked, “How so?”  The person replied, “Because in most cases, the truth rests there.” 

I believe this to be true for our nation today.

In this nation, many are encouraged to speak out – for fear of losing our voices and opportunities to speak.  In this society, groups of Americans seek to drown out and overpower any – and all – opposing voices. In this culture, ethnic groups seek to simply be heard, but instead are intentionally ignored; it is conclusive that Americans everywhere are extremely hard-pressed to listen – for what is left unsaid.   

In the wake of the State of the Union address, allegations of racially-driven attacks, and yet another government shutdown affecting some 800,000 Americans, everyone appears to have something to say about (the) National State of Affairs; and yet, there are so many things which remain unsaid.  Somewhere between the polarizing rhetoric – above the fray and beneath the divide – somewhere within the gap between the ethnic, social, and religious camps of American life, the truth rests waiting to be encountered, to be discovered.  I believe God is there, too, waiting for a similar encounter with those who are hungry for the truth; for justice.

It comes as no surprise that most Americans rely on the media as means for their information.  Millions of Americans, every day, assume that – in some way, shape, or form – they are being told the truth via television, radio, Internet, Social Media, and the like.  But it is easy to forget that there is a very distinct difference between a story and the truth.

2 Timothy 15 instructs Christians to exhibit a level of consciousness and awareness that challenges how we think and consider one another. The scripture implores us to set aside chatter and rhetoric, if you and I are not intent on backing the words we say.  We are to hold tightly to the truth.  The burden falls upon us to dig deeper, to work more diligently, to search for truth; not to believe every word – every story – spun from the mouths and pens of pundits, correspondents, and reporters in all forms of media.  Our calling, simply put, is to show ourselves approved of the concerns affecting our classrooms, neighborhoods, and the nation at large. 

Thus, if we are truly aware of the gap which exists in our nation; if we are cognizant of the noise pollution that has become the American political, social, and religious narrative, then we have no choice but to pay attention to the things which remain unsaid.

With my friend’s sage advice in consideration, I’m doing just that.  In turn, I invite you to do the same.

Let us begin paying more attention to people being overlooked, ignored, and silenced – in the name of building a wall.

Let us begin paying more attention to the lack of remorse political leaders seem to have in the wake of eight hundred thousand U.S. Government employees losing nearly one month’s pay.

Let us begin paying more attention to the smear and filth spewing from the mouths and fingertips of Americans who feel it is necessary and proper to bash a young, promising, and aggressive politician of color based on her age, ethnicity, and political affiliation.

I invite you to pay more attention to what’s going on in our nation, because somewhere beneath the filth, confusion, and ugliness of our current, national situation, truth awaits. 

In this truth, God is patiently and lovingly waiting to be discovered.

Devon Stewart

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