Prophets, not Protesters

I was a debater in high school and it didn’t take me long to realize that debating the negative side was always easier than debating the affirmative side.  That it was so simply reflected the broader reality that it is always easier to tear down than to build up.

I just finished reading Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution, which offers a lot on which to reflect.  One of the things he talks about is the difference between protesters and prophets. 

Protesters do a good job of pointing out the problems, of telling us what is wrong.  But they tend not to offer alternatives.  Prophets on the other hand point the way to a new reality.  Claiborne writes, “Protesters are everywhere, but I think the world is desperately in need of prophets, those little voices that can point us toward another future.  Some of us have spent so much time fighting what we are against that we can barely remember what we are for.  Whether in the church or in circles of social dissent, there are plenty of people who define themselves by what they are not, whose identity revolves around what they are against rather than what they are for….Prophets and poets lead us into a new world, beyond simply yelling at the old one.”

We are called to be prophets, not protesters.  Our call is not merely to stand out in the square railing against the world as it exists, but to transform the world into the Kingdom of God.  That is a much tougher task – as Claiborne quips: “prophets usually get killed.”  And so let us pray for the strength to respond to the call, to pray for the grace to be prophets.