Our Silent “Amens”

You know how some preachers like you to give them an “Amen” to affirm what they are saying? I tend to stay stubbornly silent. Don’t like “amens” being extorted from me as I try to enter my own meditative space.

Oh but the things we do say “Amen” to through our silence!

We say “Amen” when we stay quiet in the face of injustice and violence and harm done to the earth, often unthinkingly.

When we find our own comfortable place in the status quo and keep our head down and our lips zipped despite blatant inequality and efforts to turn the clock back on hard-won rights.  It just seems plain impolite to speak up sometimes.

We say “Amen” when we let people patently unqualified for public office get elected not once, but over and over again.  When we give them the luxury of our attention even when they are out of office, long after they have proven they shouldn’t be trusted to walk the dog. Or when we do not vote and simply take what luck –or misfortune– throws at us.

We say “Amen” when we shrink from calling evil by its name. When we minimize vile, degrading statements as simply “absurd” or “not the language I would have used.” 

When we take a fool’s pledge to never, ever, ever raise taxes. 

We say “Amen” to failed families when we trade being a parent to be our children’s friend.

When we argue that doing what the law requires is the same as doing what is right.

Fourth grader Kainoa Keauli`i and his sister, Jasmine joined others in making plastic bag lei to urge legislators to pass SB2511. Send your testimony in and help make Hawaii the first in the nation to pass a state law imposing a single use bag fee. http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2511

When we let addiction to our appetites trump what we need to do to protect the planet.

If you think about it, the list of things we say “Amen” to with our silence is not always pretty, not always just and not always a reflection of our better natures.

Perhaps just making that personal list is a way to stop saying “Amen” to what does us no good and start taking some small steps towards building a better, kinder world.

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2 comments on “Our Silent “Amens”
  1. Danette Kong says:

    Ahhhh,,,,, DARE I say “Amen” to this? I”ve sat in many a congregation when the preacher goes so far as to goad his/her listeners with, “Do I hear an Amen?” And I find myself, in those instances especially, digging in my heels, becoming more stubborn with my silent response. I frankly have more reason to “Amen” many of your blogs. Perhaps the difficulty in giving an Amen to this entry is that you raise a mirror to us — and, as a true prophet, you challenge our zones of comfort and denial. Oh, well.. AMEN, ANYWAY!!!

  2. Susie Roth says:


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