By Andy Hale
The Exodus narrative is one of the most familiar passages in the Judeo-Christian text. We all know the story of Moses, Pharaoh, the Plagues, and the Red Sea (Yam Suph) crossing.
As one delves deeper into the text, the early signs of ancient oppression rise to the surface as one encounters the Pharaoh’s unjust labor practices. He expected the Hebrew people to produce the same amount of bricks without providing them straw. And then the ancient king turns on the psychological propaganda tactics by blaming the Hebrew slaves for their miserable circumstances; “They are lazy…pay no attention to their lies.”
In an unfortunate turn of irony, hundreds of years later, the Hebrew people would become complicit in the oppression of the poor and marginalized within their kingdoms. God had a solution: Stop this, or it will be the unraveling of your society. The people chose not to listen, and so the dismantling of their kingdoms began, first with the North and then the South. Their willingness to endorse a culture of injustice led to their dismantling, exile, and scattering among the nations.
Without realizing it, societies can often become their worst enemy by looking past the marginalized and poor plight.
While many of the American culture decisions are out of our hands, the church can fully consider its complacency in the plague of racism, discrimination, and oppression.
How often have we looked on in silence while others blamed the poor for their problems? How often have we not spoken up when discrimination was right in front of our eyes?
Has our silence or lack of proactive advancements caused us to become one of the Bible’s most despicable villains?
2020’s Advocacy in Action hosted several keynote speakers, featured on the CBF Podcast, discussing many of these matters. This first part episode features Jeremy Everett of Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, as well as CBF field personnel Greg and Sue Smith.
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Andy Hale created and hosts the podcast of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy