Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dangers of Apathy

Numbers 32:15
If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the desert, and you will be the cause of their destruction.

9% of black voters came out in the recent Mayoral election in Chicago. Roland Martin of CNN called it a tragedy and a shame. Midterm elections were not much different, people stayed at home instead of going out to vote. In Memphis as we face this monumental vote to surrender our charter and move toward a unified school system people are extremely apathetic. Out of 410,000 potential voters only 20,000 have voted. If we do not vote “yes,” Shelby County with permission from the Governor will be able to set up special school districts and separate charters that will permanently separate county schools from Memphis City Schools. We could be Detroit, Michigan all over again with hundreds of schools closing because we no longer have a tax base to support our school system. If we remain apathetic in Memphis we will remain stuck in the wilderness of ‘Separate but not equal.’

This Apathy is not germane to Memphis; it is an epidemic that goes all the way back to the time of Moses when he was trying to advance Israel into their promised land. Apathy is a disease of the human spirit which breeds off of the fear of the unknown and the misinformation of the masses.

The children of Israel were poised to cross over into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The children of those who were too afraid to cross over wanted to settle in the suburbs of convenience without going over into the Promised City to fight for the rights of all to possess the Promise. The Reubenites and Gadites who had very large herds and flocks saw that the land on the outer skirts of the city were suitable for grazing and asked Moses for “Special School districts,” v. 5, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan.”

Apathy begins when the “haves begin to separate from the Have nots.” Blacks and whites have settled in the suburbs on the outer skirts of the city because we wanted better for our families. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with wanting better for your families as long as we remember that we are connected to a larger movement. We are different tribes of a bigger family. Black, white, brown, beige, we are all part of the human race. There are no blue states or red states, we are the United States of America. One Nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and Justice for all.

Moses asked them, “Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here? “ God had delivered all of them out of slavery now they wanted to split off and let the rest fight on their own. Moses warned the suburbanites, “if you turn away from following God, God will leave all this people in the desert and you will be the cause of their destruction.”

The dangers of Apathy are:

Corporate failure. If we don’t fight for our brothers and sisters we all could lose. United we stand and divided we fall.

Stagnation. We will remain in the desert. A divided city will continue to have economic and education disenfranchised people in the city and sheltered shallow people in the suburbs vulnerable to the desperation of disposed people. If we don’t help them it will hurt us.

Destruction. If the privileged don’t help the ‘least of these’ we are responsible for our own destruction.

The Reubenites and Gadites a.k.a. the “Suburbanites” told Moses, “we will not return to our homes (suburbs) until every Israelite (inner-city) has received his inheritance.” We can’t rest until every citizen in Memphis, in the inner cities of America has the right to a quality Education. It’s not just about “my kids” but it’s about “our kids,” “America’s kids.”

Dear God,
Help us to awaken from our apathy and vote “yes” for a better school system for America. Help us to take action and fight for Social Justice. We can’t rest until everyone is free and has equal opportunity. I’m ready to fight for the disenfranchised so that all may be able to cross over into the Promised Land.

In Jesus Name,

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