I started with some of the lyrics to How Long? by Mark A. Miller a worship leader, composer of sacred music, and a teacher. Mark’s music has become a household name in The United Methodist Church especially within the queer community. You can listen to the whole song here.
Mark’s music speaks in a way that I’ve never felt before. This song is about all the people who wait for justice. Mark’s music reminds us that in the Baptismal Covenant of The United Methodist Church where it asks us “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?” we said yes to this. Yet time and time again we have fallen short.
As an institution we have failed queer people, people of color, and people affected by gun violence. Our corporate silence on these topics are causing harm.
Queer people are dying because of our stance that says “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” (Book of Discipline ¶ 304.3). Queer people in some annual conferences aren’t able to live out their calling into ordained ministry because of their sexuality or gender identity.
As an institute we have failed people of color, particularly African Americans in the United States. For 29 years from 1969 to 1939 African Americans were separated into their own central jurisdiction in the U.S. just because of their skin color. Yet, slavery was abolished in 1865. Our silence as a church on racial injustice issues hurts us and is a violation of our baptismal covenant.
Gun violence is happening in our communities day in and day out yet the church is silent. We fail as church to act out our policy “Our Call to End Violence” as mandate in the Book of Resolutions. We fail to speak up when gun violence happens in our communities. Our silence is noticed with the death of Eric Gardner in 2014. Why won’t the church speak up and act upon these injustices?
But how long? How long? How much longer must we wait? Our Baptismal Covenant calls us to speak out, why aren’t we?