Image: Cowboy State Daily
Although my Ohio residency is close to 20 years, I’m an Upstate NY girl. When I went to college at SUNY Geneseo, the Buffalo Bills were at their zenith under quarterback Jim Kelly, Coach Marv Levy, and a list of all-star players. The Superbowl against the Giants when the Bills missed the kick?
My dorm shook.
Now that my kids are grown and I have time, I’ve paid better attention to the Bills. I tell friends Bills fans are die-hard and if anyone deserves to see a Superbowl win, it’s the Buffalo area. It’s been a long time coming.
Last week I watched the snow footage as the Bills game moved to Detroit because of the six feet of snow the greater Buffalo area received. A farmer named Squirrel Winters became a celebrity as soon as his famous neighbor, quarterback Josh Allen, mentioned him in thanks for plowing him out.
It got me thinking. When there is a weather event like a blizzard, hurricane or tornado, neighbors come out and help. There are no excuses or ducking out, everyone digs in and helps.
I was a toddler when Hurricane Agnes traveled to Upstate NY and decimated the Finger Lakes Region. Years later when my office was located inside a senior center, I heard stories as if the flood had been yesterday. They remembered everything. The smell of mud. The ruined pictures. The help that came from next door, from Corning Glass, and from the military.
Just last night my husband and I were talking about the back-to-back blizzards I endured in 1993. I didn’t know Tom then, but I knew his family. Tom saw the storm coming and drove 24 hours straight to visit his parents in Florida. Everyone else? We were trapped home with more snow than we could shovel. But once the snow stopped, I remember our neighbors helping us, and we helped them.
I wish I could say the Body of Christ operated this way. I’m not pointing at my local church, but the entire church as a whole. When AIDS came about, what was the church doing? When women had the courage to announce they were in an abusive situation, what feedback did they receive? I know of women who were told to stick it out because divorce was not an option. Yikes.
Not long ago I was chatting history and I recalled a quote from Hitler when asked about moving in on the US and her allies. Wasn’t he afraid? Was that really a smart idea? These were Christian countries, especially America.
Hitler’s reply breaks me to this day. He said not to worry, the church was asleep. They wouldn’t know what was happening until it was too late.—Julie Arduini
Beyond being an author, I’m a reader. More than a reader, I’m an intercessor, and all my reading and prayer times tells me the world is embroiled in corruption and abuse far greater than our imagination could guess. I believe God has had it and these sins will be exposed on a global scale.
And the church will be in part active participants, compliant, and passive when the truth comes out.
Specifically, I believe we’re going to learn a LOT about trafficking, and sadly, there will be church-y names attached. It will be horrific what the world learns. The little I’ve read is sickening.
But when, not if, this happens, it’s the opportunity for the church to shift.
To repent and become that neighbor in crisis. To stop the excuses and apathy and run toward the wounded. To offer love, grace, resources, provision and throw off religion and the “I told you so” we are sadly known for.
I’ve been praying for two years to know my part. I don’t want to be on the sidelines. Trafficking isn’t just in my country or state, it’s in my county and the places I shop. It’s an every day crisis, bigger and more devastating than a blizzard.
I’m praying we rise up in Christ’s love, awake and ready to help.