I was born and raised an orphan
In a land that once was free
In a land that poured it’s love out on the moon
I grew up in the shadows
Of your silos filled with grain
But you never helped to fill my empty spoon

When I was ten you murdered law
With courtroom politics
And learnt to make a lie sound just like truth
But I know you better now
And i don’t fall for all your tricks
And you’ve lost the one advantage of my youth

You kill a black man at midnight
Just for talking to your daughter
Then you make his wife your mistress
And you leave her without water
And the sheet you wear upon your face

Is the sheet your children sleep on
And every meal you say a prayer
You don’t believe but still you keep on
And your money says ‘In God We Trust’
But it’s against the law to pray in school

You say we beat the Russians to the moon
And I say you starved your children to do it
You are far across the ocean
In a war that’s not your own
And whilst you’re winning theirs
You’re gonna lose the one at home

Do you really think the only way
To bring about the peace
Is to sacrifice your children
And kill all your enemies

The politicians all make speeches
While the news men all take note
And they exaggerate the issues
As they shove it down our throats

Is it really up to them
Whether this country sinks or floats
And I wonder who would lead us
If none of us would vote

Well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped
From whispering through the fence
You know every move I make
Or is that just coincidence

Well you try to make my way of life
A little less like jail
If I promise to make tapes and slides
And send them through the mail

And your money says ‘In God We Trust ‘
But it’s against the law to pray in school
You say we beat the Russians to the moon
And I say you starved your children to do it

You say ‘all men are equal, all men are brothers
Then why are the rich more equal than others
Don’t ask me for the answer I’ve only got one
That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

Larry Norman, the artist that wrote this song, passed away on Feb. 24, this year. Even though the lyrics above sound as if they were written to reflect the way of the world in 2008, Larry actually wrote this in 1972. Larry was a poet, a preacher and a musician… which is to say that Larry was a prophet in the truest sense of the word. As much an activist as he was a pacifist, he had the courage to walk the talk. That kind of authenticity is contagious. People can tell the difference between a ‘Christian’ and a Christlike’.Sadly, genuinely Christ-like people are so rare that they tend to stand out pretty quickly.

I bring this up because it begs a big question. How much of what we do in our lives or in our churches is best limited to Christian audiences? When I first became a Christian, inviting people into a relationship with Jesus was easy. Like the woman at the well, I encouraged everyone I met to meet this man, “who told me everything I ever did”. Now though it’s much harder, and I know the reason. When I talk to people about God, I rarely invite them into a relationship with Jesus; instead I invite them to church. And because I know I worship in a church that has a history and a continuity of racism, sexism, homophobia, hyper-capitalistic selfishness, and warmongering, it’s pretty embarrassing to invite people in.

Just in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about the WHOLE church of Christ on earth, not just my little Pomona Brethren.

And so I’ve decided to take a stand. Where there is injustice I will speak out, where I see inequality, I’ll step in. Those willing to publicly utter racist comments, sexist comments, ageist comments, or condemn gays and lesbians, within shouting distance of my two ears, will have a mouthful to listen to before I am finished.

I am no longer a pacifist, I am an activist. God gave me elbows for a reason, it’s time they were put to good and permanent use.