If you are neutral in situations of injustice,
you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse
and you say that you are neutral,
the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
~ Desmond Tutu
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus
There is a psychological phenomenon known as the bystander effect, where it has been found to be less likely for an individual to offer help to another with others standing around. It is as if there is a pause in the moment and if no one steps in, everyone simply watches on. Desmond Tutu would describe this to be a state of neutrality. “If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse” he names, “and you say that you are neutral, the elephant will not appreciate your neutrality.”
God’s grace alive in the world and in our lives, should evoke within us a response. Randy Maddox calls this, “responsible grace”—grace that is so fully realized that all we know to do then is to respond to it with the way we live our lives. With the state of the world today, it is important for people of faith to pray about the response they will offer to the grace of God at work in their lives. It is about the orientation of our life and neutrality is not an orientation that brings movement or change.
Phyllis Tickle has shared that every 500 years or so, the Church should have a rummage sale, assessing what needs to be kept and what needs to be thrown out. This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation of the Church, where leaders like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Methodists own John Wesley struggled with the way the Church was leading and began movements for change. If Phyllis Tickle was right, we are in the years of the great rummage sale, where much of our life together needs to be assessed and all of us need to ready ourselves for great change.
With so many issues to respond to, we can easily be swallowed up in too much movement and lose sight of the rhythmic quality of being that when we find our way in it highlights God’s grace alive in who we are.
The life of grace is a life of finding ourselves in step with the unfolding realities around us that are making way for change. Not all of us are called to lead in these unfolding realities, but we are to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and feet that help us to move. May we find ourselves inspired by the movement for change around us and surprised by the ways we can be utilized as instruments simply by the response of our lives. These are days for people of faith to becoming more and more fully alive.
With you on the journey,
A large coalition of civil society organisations under the banner #UniteBehind—
have appealed to Faith Communities to support the march to
Parliament on 7 August at 3 p.m. The march takes place the day before
the “vote of no confidence” in parliament and its aim is to add pressure to
recall the President. The march is not aligned to any political party.