… that being today’s burning theological question.

I didn’t wear black today – I wore shades thereof. I didn’t wear black because I couldn’t find anything all black, but I did attempt to read the Protection of Information Bill – I should have worn black it would have been easier …

But wearing black – standing in solidarity or blindly following like sheep?

A twitter comment which twisted its truthfulness knife into my belly was this:

Yes, I am encouraging group think today. If you don’t have an opinion on the #POIB, then go with the masses, wear black, google it later.

Is she perhaps implying that a gazillion of us will show our solidarity whilst knowing nothing of the thing we are showing our solidarity towards? Is it sheep mentality which makes us all jump onto a fashion bandwagon or is there some power behind our partial intentionality? We don’t know the nuts and the bolts of the issue, but we know our freedom of expression and right to hold a government accountable is important and so we stand in solidarity with that. Is wearing black to show our solidarity even worth anything?

We wear pink for breast cancer awareness and purple in support of same sex rights – black on Thursdays usually is in solidarity with women against domestic abuse. It may seem silly, but is it? For those who have been affected by breast cancer or  discriminated against because of orientation – seeing someone in support of their cause must be very heartening – but other than offer comfort, what does our donning of support colours do for us?

Well for me it serves a number of purposes;

1)      First of all, it makes me find out about what is going on in the world around me and helps me to connect with that world. Why are all these people wearing black? How does this affect me? Do I need to know about this? (no one likes to be the only one not in the know). It creates awareness and it creates unity around that awareness.

2)      I see it as a form of prayer, of intentionality – for those who cannot participate directly, can ‘participate without ceasing’ (1 Thess 5:17) if you cannot be a part of what it is you feel strongly about, you can pray into it – prayer is what moves the mountain, prayer is the power behind getting things done and when we walk around wearing black it is a constant reminder of what it is we are standing against and pushing towards, just like prayer.

3)      Lastly and perhaps most importantly, it challenges our apathy. a.p.a.t.h.y … What’s the point? With 7 billion people on the planet, my vote, my wish, my intention is not going to make a difference, surely? But what about the tipping point theory? Apathy is the scourge of our societies. With the demise of the community and the rise of individualism, personal involvement in issues such as this seems to be decreasing, but getting people excited about a cause can dislodge that apathy, it can move us to awareness and involvement and hopefully, change…

The real power behind our collective consciousness remains to be seen, although social media is showing what can be done when we all stand together. But today there is a sense of excitement in the country, there is an undercurrent of strength and courage that standing up for your rights amongst like minded people brings.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this … and in the meantime, wear black, don’t wear black, but DO take part, do become informed, do get involved, do take a stand one way or another, by knowing what’s going on in the world and remembering that if we are all connected then these issues affect us all … be informed … our prayers make a difference!

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