Our voice, in how we express our souls through our words and actions, is our most personal gift to the world.

Perhaps it is why it is so significant that the Hebrew tradition begins with God’s voice of creation. We are his most personal expression, and as such we have our essential value as ones made in his image.

In my humble assessment, the voice of the American Church has largely taking a prescriptive shape. This is important. It is in our accurate diagnosis that we are able to rightly respond to the world. [1] This is our Christian responsibility.

It is also my humble assessment that in light of many of the current social and political angst, the Church has lacked the diagnostic power we have assumed ourselves to have. And in our lacking of genuine ways to engage in this angst, we find our moral credibility is at stake, as ones to proclaim a Kingdom of equity and peace.

The corrective to a deficient prescriptive voice is growing in our capacity to hear the prophetic voice.

While the Church at large may not have developed a prophetic timbre, the Church on the historic margins is a rich resource to follow. The black, Hispanic, African, and Asian churches have long developed the depth in understanding of “not of this world” beyond a bumper-sticker counter culture to include complex dynamics of being and becoming in a majority shaped “world” that has often included other people of faith.

Their’s is the rich voice—deep, soulful, and full of grit—that we must now hear. By creating space for those voices, we not only inherit the language we need in speaking truth to power, but their perseverance and faith.

Historically, the Church on the margins—or, functionally, the Global Church of the developing world—has been critiqued as too political and theologically suspect. And yet we must contend with the blessing of the Kingdom, the inheritance of the sons and daughters of God, belonging to the poor, the hungry, and the ones who mourn. [2]

Even if we concede this truth to a point, we accept that a part of our own inheritance and blessing as followers of Jesus can be received as a divine gift from those on the margins. This is the global conclusion of the basic premise of community that we seek to practice on a local scale.

In this critical window of social, cultural, and spiritual disorientation, we have the opportunity to follow the leadership of the blessed—the ones on the margins.

In saying this, I realize that I am calling for an uncomfortable future. Not only are we unaccustomed to hearing from prophetic voices, but this discomfort reveals our inability to critically hear from voices outside of our normative practice and traditions as a whole. To our detriment, this has meant that the Church in America has more closely resembled the American Dream, in all its glory and calamity, than the Kingdom of God.

But we must listen. And we must follow their lead. To shut our ears and hearts would only prolong our spiritual famine.

In doing so, we more fully experience the task of following Jesus—a non-majority, socio-economically powerless prophet who is the savior of the world.

[1] Andrew Sung Park begins his examination of the concept of sin as both structural and individual, involving both the sinner and the one sinned against, with this foundational understanding. (The Wounded Heart of God: The Asian Concept of Han and the Christian Doctrine of Sin)

[2] Not to mention the fundamental premise that all of life, in the way we choose to exercise our economic, social, and spiritual energy, is political, even in non-action,.