By Dr. Matt Farlow
COVID-19, systemic racism, social injustice, economic unrest… One could argue that today’s cultural climate has, or is, quickly reaching a boiling point…
The melting pot project of the United States of America is heating up, and as the heat rises—lest we are mindful of the temp—we will neglect key questions: How hot is too hot? and At what temperature does this pot begin to boil?
In our individualistic efforts to be united, we so often forget that the world’s stage is a mosaic theater house of beautiful individuals and not a portrait of solitary shadows collected, gathered, and called one. Today’s movement—or lack of movement—of the stage continues to perpetuate herd mentality that promotes a false unity masquerading as oneness but when unmasked, is a tragic expectation of uniformity.
Life is dramatic. It calls for unity, not uniformity. That is, the movement of the stage requires participation not isolation or domination. But due to our lack of understanding of the other we have become incredulous and blind to the personhood of the one standing before us.
Each of us has a part to play; a crucial role that allows the play to go on. But when we deny the others around us the opportunities to thrive, the production before us is stagnated—it sits motionless in the sweltering heat and begins to crust over as it slowly burns with the questions, issues, decisions of life with little to no stirring…
Do I wear or not wear a mask? Is the mark of the Christian “to mask or not to mask?” And what of the protests going on throughout the nation? Are Christians to join the protests or not? Is it okay to be against the protests, or is should a Christian feel compelled to join such protests? If one does not march in favor of any given protest, can they ever claim to be a voice for the voiceless?
And what if I don’t know how to respond? Who is going to lead me? What path forward do I have? Because truth be told, so often I want to cry out WWJD?! And yet how many of us cringe and cry out against such an ask?
What does Jesus know of our situation today? How can a 1st century Jewish carpenter have anything remotely profound and worthwhile to speak into the 21st century?
It is true that the world—and even many in the church—will push against any answer to the aforementioned questions that begins either with Jesus, or with prayer… and yet, for the Bride of Christ, any and all solutions must begin with Jesus and prayer…
How am I masking my days? Are they being covered up with the stench of self only to be promoted as “good intentions?” Or am I willing to unmask my heart by jumping into the One who hung unmasked—naked—on the Tree of my sin?
Followers of Christ are told “love one another, be compassionate and humble … whoever would love life … they must turn from evil and do good: they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears attentive to their prayer.” (1 Pe 3:8-12)
What does love for the other look like or how does it play out? How is it that we turn from evil and do good? To seek peace and pursue it?
First, dialogue with Christ—prayer brings us into His heart as through the Holy Spirit we ascend with Christ so that we might descend to our neighbor. Second then, is dialogue with one another (our neighbors).
Dialogue is crucial if we are desirous in building relational bridges, and dialogue is what New Wine not only encourages, but actively seeks to promote, participate in, and create. Over these days ahead, we will be stepping further into dialogue via this blog, as well as our continued dialogues through our YouTube page, so that together we might love life and see good days by pursuing one another as we pursue peace.
I invite you to join me so that together our faith might seek understanding as it is stretched in the direction of the other. And in the stretching of our wineskins we might then work—in unity—to equip generations of Jesus’ followers to extinguish hate, intolerance, and misunderstanding and maximize grace and truth for human flourishing in our world today.
 What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD)