The Dangerous Sound of Silence

The Darien Gap is a region within Central America between the North and South American continents. It is a major crossing for those making the long, tortuous journey from South and Central America to the U.S./Mexican Border. A notoriously dangerous area, refugees there pass many dead bodies, some with faces they may have recognized. Yet they continue to make the trek, knowing that theirs could soon become one of those bodies. In silence, men and women, many with children, determine that they must make the trip. It is as if their silence mitigates the danger. It is the danger of the gap—the dangerous sound of silence.  


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11874

Thanks for the article! It is time for the silence to become loud with more voices!

2 Likes

Thank you for this essay. The word “dangerous” in the title jolts me. I had been grieving at the silence Dr. James-Sebro describes.

The typical church stance that embraces a fear of being political has left me wrapped in deep grief about missed opportunities. These are missed witnessing opportunities, missed times to be impactful to bolster the least of these, and missed opportunities to exercise a deep commitment to Jesus’ prayer that His will be done on earth and heaven.

Yet, perhaps, she is right–dangerous—would be an appropriate description.

2 Likes

The replies to this article are deafening quiet, up to this point!

Adventists have historically warned of the coming alliance between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and Its political ramifications. Redefining such a theological phenomenon as white supremacy does not magically place Adventists in alliance with this impending doom.

It would seem that if the author’s thesis is accurate, breath would be better spent calling on black and brown people to leave the evangelical denominations and join the Remnant Church lest they find themselves caught up in what is deemed to be a race phenomenon not in their interests.

1 Like

Remnant Church=?? Could you define?

1 Like

I’ll assume this is a rhetorical question.

Well… one definition of the remnant church could be a smattering of believers from many churches or are “unchurched” and who "love God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves.

4 Likes

Indeed … could perhaps be an antitype for the latter half of Daniel 11:41.

Thanks, but you’ve lost me. You would think that someone going through the Adventist educational system from grade 2-grad school would be conversant with the text and its application, wouldn’t you? :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Them there’s fightin’ words.

So, my question is - can anyone break the silence, or just those on the one side of the political divide?
Having said that, I can just imagine someone saying, " Here we go, one of those ‘deplorables’ chiming in."

The silence comes out of fear of saying the wrong thing and being marginalized, or at least stigmatized. In this political climate you’re either “woke” or you’re an idiot - and it is all political, even the Samaritan story??

What, me afraid?

The problem with this clarion call for “breaking the silence” is that it doesn’t actually suggest subsequent action. We can’t all make placards and go on the street. There has to be something we can actually DO.

So, what are the issues here…

  1. *There are rich people and there are poor people.

Even socialism hasn’t ever solved that problem. Like Orwell said, “Some pigs are more equal than others.”- meaning, even in a society based on equality, someone has to be in charge and get the perks. In “Animal Farm” where the animals took over the farm, the pigs got to sleep in the farmer’s bed, in the house; and the other animals still lept on hay in the barn.

  1. The silence gap has become even more dangerous as the richest man in the world is on the verge of becoming the owner of the most widely used media platform in the world. We are vulnerable not only to the information we receive, but to how we are programmed to process it.

Actually, nothing has changed. The only thing that’s different, the loudest voice in the room has been transferred from one loud mouth to another. The social media has been in charge of “information” since it was put in place.

  1. One of the strategies of that anesthetizing security is to carefully separate religious issues from social justice issues. It is as though those religious leaders have skipped over the parable of the Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37).

Actually not true. “Social issues” are people issues. Institutions, be it churches or governments, can’t solve people issues because those institutions become the prime focal point, and the people they claim to help become mere pawns in political battles - in and out of church.

Yes, Jesus was radical, placing himself in the middle of the “mix”, not as the political figure the Romans killed him for; or, for usurping the power of the priesthood for which the Jews had him killed. Jesus never spoke to, or for an institution. No church or political institution can fulfill the roll of "the good Samaritan. That story was an appeal to humanity, to reach the human heart. Institutions don’t have a heart, just the “bottom line”. That’s why the money changers got thrown out of the temple. They were making religion an enterprise. Jesus made caring for the marginalized a personal way of living, just as he had done; not a political rally cry.

From this point on, the article launches into a political tirade against the “rural book burning, white Christian supremacists.” But even Dr. Seuss couldn’t survive the book-burning of the left. As for the dignity of women, it’s not the farmer’s wife who wants to do away with gender definitions, and be called “a birthing person”.

There is no solving these issues through politics or religion. Human institutions will fail. I always thought that’s why mankind was looking for salvation. Not until these failures truly hit home, will redemption come.

I doubt that. Jesus gave up on institutional religion even before they killed him on that cross.

3 Likes

My educational doppleganger as it were.

While Daniel 11 continues to be recognized by theologians as the murkiest, least-able-to-be-understood part of the Bible, for those who would take seriously the words from verse 40 “at the time of the end” to mean the later stage of human existence, the latter part of verse 41 would point to an invisible remnant that escapes the dominion of the King of the North – of course, understood to be the same as Babylon in Revelation prophecies.

Nice of you to explain. Each portion of the explanation seems to rely on the interpretation of someone whose scholarship and judgment one would have to trust. And then……there is that multi-syllabled term for the multiple applications that could be applied to prophesies. Thanks.

2 Likes

What can I say as a white old privileged man, living in a German arm chair?

Indeed, the sound of silence is deafening and definitely dangerous. That insight is of little relevance, if I don’t speak up. I am trying to - with increasing boldness. And I try to limit myself to topics I know about, not necessarily topics I should know about (though I follow some of them with great interest … e.g. the current SCOTUS rulings).

My very German contribution to what you describe … would be Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Cost of Discipleship … for a starter.

1 Like

Why did you not cry out when Bezos bought The Washington Post? He is a rich white guy. But you were silent.

Biden did give a speech a while back saying that White Supremacy was the greatest threat to America. But I’m not seeing any of these folks rallying their followers to arms, or even toes. How many of the shooters we have seen recently are White Supremacists? Aren’t most mentally disturbed? And it looks like most of the folks killed by these guys are white.

Black folks are being killed in greater numbers than whites, but not by White Supremacists, but by other blacks. And the police only kill about 10 or so unarmed blacks in the whole country each year. Not exactly am epidemic of white hatred.

And where is white nationalism being imposted on the country? You mean the SCOTUS decisions? Or what do you mean?

I do not get the point of this article accept to try to gin up support for a liberal viewpoint. And it does not even do well at that.

3 Likes

Perhaps in the past Jesus wasn’t a laissez faire kind of guy

But according to my reading of earth’s more recent history this seems to have changed.

Now there is mountain of evidence to show that Jesus has done nothing but nothing-or at least nothing definitive and tangible-for the past two millennia.

Thus if there is a deafening silence anywhere in the cosmos it emanates from heaven and the supposedly “holy” god head.

In fact, the dearth of noise is so profound that it’s sounds almost as if our creator really must be dead.

Either that, or our maker is waiting to see if we humans can mature to the point where we learn how solve our own problems and figure out ways to not destroy ourselves and/or the planet.

Me?

Since I have it good o authority that our creator is alive and well as of this comment, I figure the odds that we can pull off the latter scenario are about 50-50.

:crossed_fingers:t3::wink:

So I suppose if we concede to your deconstructionist methodology, then your definition of Remnant church would not have a prophetic type

If by deconstructionist you mean that I have questioned a secure meaning and application of the biblical term “remnant,” yes, and if by prophetic type you mean “as used by” a particular prophet such as Daniel or John of Patmos, that is beyond my understanding. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John and others seem to have used the term in reference to different groups and in different contexts.

Silence can be deafening; but silence has no words to be heard, so addresses the silence of the one reduced to contemplation, hand over mouth. Something shocks one into silence. It can result from authority which threatens the hearer by producing fear. This is a danger of the gap. But it can be the result of human ignorance; perhaps there is no answer, and silence is the means of knowing this; after all, we are organisms. At the end of every epistemological success of there is silence; there are things we cannot know. Every thing we thought we knew, and everything we think we can know seems metaphoric, only functioning to evoke something new. To some extent every theological utterance from the Bible is metaphoric. With no vocabulary to address what we cannot know, the mystery of God, the only way to address it is by metaphor. At this point, silence engenders imagination. Imagination is a threat to authority and dogma, so dogma tries to silence imagination; but nothing new can result from dogma, no matter how rigorous the logic. If the church is to survive and go forward, it requires imagination of its constituents. Silence now becomes ominous.

1 Like

Thank you for your courage and response to what comes across as emotional virtue waving with no radical solutions to a very big problem. I understand her feelings and suspect her views grow out of her vocation. Like many of us in this divided world, we lock out other viewpoints. I am put off by the use of racial stereotypes such as “white Christian Americans.”

I too am devastated as immigrants die and suffer because they have believed some recruiter, drug dealer, or human trafficker to travel distances because of a corrupt government in the US who invited them and lied to them and us. I know because I have known such immigrants that paid everything they had to criminals. To ignore this is immoral and cruel just as allowing the 100,000 drug overdoses here to continue.
Where is the silence?? Churches should and many do help the immigrants. I suspect it is mostly evangelical churches and organizations like World Vision who do much, if not most, of the work for the poor. They also are answering the call to help Ukraine with money and volunteers. But they get little publicity on a biased media.
Black people are no longer allowing themselves to be told how to think, what to believe or who they can marry. They and Hispanics are turning away from identity politics. I am so heartened to see them taking part in leadership roles in politics and churches. But pastors who preach politics are betraying their faith in Jesus only.
I believe that prophecies are time-related and conditional and Adventists may be not have figured it all out (Jews thought they did about the Messiah) that Catholics (a beast-like system? yes) and other Christians are going to be tyrants that threaten our freedom. The more conservative do have a strong belief in the Gospel of Christ in spite of differing doctrines. The perilous times ahead and “real issues” concern a period of lawlessness that has grown and is supported by political leaders. I don’t see “White or Black Christian evangelicals” gunning down people, stealing, and raping. When the ten commandments became ignored, so was compassion and truth. There is no love without them. The term love is thrown around without meaning in these last days.

1 Like