The Hebrew book of Proverbs is considered wisdom literature. In my faith tradition wisdom is understood as an attribute of God that He used to create the world. God’s wisdom brings about a natural order of things so that whenever people are making good decisions they tap into what the Scriptures call wisdom. When people make bad decisions they are working against wisdom. For example:
“Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.”
Here lately I’ve heard people say, “Let’s just get along and stop bickering.” I want that too. I’m exhausted and weary from it all. But here’s the problem. As long as there are people in society whose voices are discounted, standing makes them vulnerable, or face oppressive or dehumanizing policies, it is wise to speak out and take action.
When you speak out someone will be offended and speak back. When you take action someone will defend and justify their own. We cannot be surprised or alarmed. Fear, anxiety, exclusion, violence, scapegoating, and power-grabbing are the rules that set the agenda for what the Christian Scriptures call the reign of sin and death.
Sometimes godly wisdom pushes you into hard conversations you’d prefer not to have and actions you’d rather not take. But to not speak or take action is unwise and passively works against God’s wisdom. To not speak or take action is to become complicit to reign of sin and death and miss out on participating in the embodiment Christ’s reign at work in society.
It is wise for Christians to speak out and take action. I only must remember that if my interpretation of wisdom fails to look like the words and actions heard and seen in Jesus, it probably isn’t reflective of God’s wisdom, because “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him.” (Colossians 2:3)
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.