By Ernest Disney-Britton
Kids love Underground Railroad stories, and most also believe that they would have been part of it. Today there is almost universal belief that American slavery was evil but also that the Underground Railroad was God's hand at work. In that spirit, I bought the new book titled "Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead, Oprah's book club pick. It's a work of fiction but like most books on this subject it prompts an important question, especially for Christians: If I lived in America during the 1800s, would I have supported the status quo of slavery; been a quiet bystander; or would I have fought against it?
|Novel imagines an actual railroad built underground.|
The problem is if history is correct then today's museum visitors, both black and white are wrong. Most of us are bystanders waiting for someone else to be the sacrificial lamb. Most historians agree even though 4 million were enslaved in 1860, less than 100,000 blacks ever took the risk to escape on the Underground Railroad. Those same historians tell us that while there were 27 million white Americans that only 10,000 risked their livelihoods to work on the Underground Railroad. Because of the many lessons, I learned from the Underground Railroad when facing injustice, I always ask myself "What will I do?" Will I advocate for the status quo; be a bystander; or will I risk my personal safety and fight against that issue? Taking a risk is not sending a check, attending a rally, or even voting. The Underground Railroad is the story of sacrifice. It's the story of people who sacrificed their jobs; sacrificed their homes, and even sacrificed their lives.
|"RefuJesus" by David Hayward|
Too often when I see problems, I am too quick to criticize but unwilling to answer the defining question, "What will I do about it?" As Christians, I don't believe we are called to be bystanders but sadly, most of us gripe, but we won't take action. Most of us ignore the personal challenge to be a sacrificial lamb. However, if you are willing to be the sacrificed, then you are indeed a freedom-seeker, and I'll bet you would have been one of the 10,000 on the Underground Railroad.
Thought for today: What cause means enough for you to risk it all, or are you just another bystander?