It seems that today our country is more divided than it has been in a long time. I would like to blame that perception on media hype or the recent political nightmare we call the 2016 Presidential Race but it seems to be running deeper than that lately especially with the police shootings, retaliation against police officers, terrorist attacks and much of the race or religious based hate rhetoric in the media and on social media alike.
I write a history blog. That is what I love and every once in a great while I will write a political article (I think two in the last three years) but I have never written one on religion.
I have heard that if you want to end a good conversation quickly simply start talking about religion or politics. Many times that is true and I have experienced it first hand especially on the political side. But maybe it might be a good way to start a conversation.
Recently, at the end of July, I was attending a Sunday service at our Church. It was shortly after the July sniper shootings in Dallas where five police officers were killed, and an additional nine officers and two civilians were wounded. During the service one of our Elders read a letter that was put together by the Elders in the entire Chicago Church community and it really hit a chord with me and I thought it would be great if people outside of the Church walls could hear it as well so I included a link to the letter here. One of my favorite parts of the letter and why I chose the title of this article was the included quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I profess to be a Christian and I totally understand that many people are not or have even been harmed physically or emotionally by “organized religion” but the letter, while speaking of what Christ’s message would be given recent events is really about choosing love over hate, grace and forgiveness over revenge and condemnation and unity over division. It centers not so much on having to “pick a side” but “picking THE side”, the side of loving one another. I hope this encourages everyone who reads it. I know it encouraged me.
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