I'm Tired of Tolerance

Tolerance is not compassion. Compassion engages. Tolerance stands at a distance.
— Ryan Phipps

Forefront Manhattan Lead Pastor, Ryan Phipps posted the above quote on Facebook yesterday. 

I agree with Ryan. For too long our church has stood at a distance. We've dipped our toes in the water. We've preached a couple of messages on diversity. We've talked a little bit about systematic oppression. But by and large we've been quiet when it comes to answering the call of God to speak out and defend the oppressed (Isaiah 1:17).

I've allowed us to be a tolerant church.

Instead of calling our church to protest the death of Eric Garner I remained quiet and protested alone. 

Instead of standing up for for passionate police officers who serve in our church and have great empathy for our community many of us have been tolerant.  

Instead of loving and engaging our church's homeless population, there are those of us who have chosen to be tolerant. 

When the news that a 12 year old child in Cleveland was shot and killed I shook my head and read the next Buzzfeed article. That is tolerance. 

I wasn't in McKinney as a law enforcement official dragged a child by her hair. I wasn't there when that same official pulled a gun on two young teenagers who literally ran for their lives. I'm sure someone will say that they deserved it. "They must have done something for an officer to react that way!" We tolerate that behavior by justifying it. 

I don't want tolerance. 

When I hang out with my friends the last thing I want to hear is, "Jonathan, I tolerate you." I pray that my wife never looks longingly into my eyes and says, "You're tolerated." So why is it that I'm so content to tolerate others?

I'm tired of tolerance. 

What I saw in that clip were children. They were siblings, sons, daughters, and grandchildren who responded to an ad for a pool party. I saw children who were scared and humiliated. I saw children who were stripped of their dignity at an age that is way too young. 

I'm tired of tolerance. 

It's time for compassion. It's time for Forefront Church, our church, to stand for compassion. And so this time I won't gloss this over or speak in general terms. 

We are a church that is compassionate towards anyone caught in the middle of injustice including the children in McKinney Texas, including the children in New York City, including the many Tamir Rices, including Eric Garner, and everyone else who has lost dignity, hope, their lives, because of oppression. 

Our Church, Forefront Church will stand for compassion. We will recognize that there is an entire group of people who are systematically treated differently based on the color of their skin. We will be compassionate to those who've struggled throughout their lives with addiction, poverty, and pain. We will stand with our officers whose only goal is to provide compassion to others. 

Let's start practicing compassion today. As our Creative Director Ben Grace said, 

Please for the love of everything that is holy find a police officer & someone who doesn’t look like you & have a conversation with them today. Start the process of breaking down the walls that divide.
— Ben Grace

Talk to someone who has lost their home. Sit with someone who has struggled with addiction. Hear the story of the young person who was treated as less than human because of their skin color. Start the process of breaking down the walls that divide. 

Stand with Forefront Church as we stand for compassion. 

Read authors that have different perspectives and experiences. Listen to the stories of Austin Channing

Read the blog posts of Lisa Sharon Harper. Read about why it's important that Our Church, be a church that stands for compassion

I'm tired of tolerance. It's time to engage. 

It is our job to bring restoration and renewal not to some of us but to all of us through Jesus Christ and we all get to play a part. So for the love of everything holy let's stop standing at a distance. Let's engage. Let's love. 

Stand with Forefront Church as we stand for compassion.