A Confession

I have a confession. I find myself weary of seeing all these images of crying children and parents, and reading so much on what is happening to the refugees and asylum seeking families on our borders. I remember that I felt this way about Syria. But then I remember the faces and they turn my weary sympathy into wanting-empathy.

I am reminded of how privileged I am to sit on my couch and look at my screen and say, “I think I will just ignore it today. Enough already! I can’t take anymore.” It is then that I am forced to imagine what it is like for them. They can’t ignore what they are living. Everyday day that dawns I imagine they say, “Enough already! I can’t take anymore.” Yet they must. They don’t have a choice.

But I do. I can choose to look away because it is too hard to remember. I can choose to look away so my life won’t continue to be disrupted by their suffering. I can even choose willful blindness and explain the situation away as too complicated, and just get on with my life. Or I can choose to look. I can choose, as far removed as I am from them and as unimaginable as their situation is to me, to stay with them. I feel like I have to keep their faces before me just like their faces are kept before my God. If I don’t, my empathy may turn to sympathy and my sadness to cynicism. Besides, if it were happening to me I don’t think I would want you to forget.

I just don’t think I can let that happen because I have made a much deeper confession, that even in a world filled with suffering and sorrow Jesus is still Lord and at work in the world. And I have come to believe that being a Christian isn’t about having good ideas, but about having open eyes to see the image of God in others. From there the weight that burdens my heart can bring me to my knees in lament and prayer. By God’s grace and strength, maybe then I will find a way to put my hands and feet to my prayers alongside others who are doing the same.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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