With the infrastructure that has been created over the past fifty years we should not be surprised that there are powerful interests that are working to ensure that the United States government – supported by much of the US public – believe that the answer to every ill we face as a nation can be attained through some form of corporate spending, or tax cuts that supposedly will allow corporations to spend more. The immigration issue is no different in this regard.
I believe there are two ways out of evangelicalism for people authentically interested in following Jesus. And for those of us who reject or are in the process of rejecting evangelicalism and moving towards liberation, we must be about one of these ways of evangelizing evangelicals. One way evangelicalism dies is through transformation. I prefer liberation or even salvation, but regardless, evangelicals must reject evangelicalism as a whole and pursue the biblical Jesus.
But I will be honest, I am tired of recounting my failures in the struggles for justice. In fact, I am starting to feel like being an “ally” has become trendy; as has the words associated with fighting for liberation. I despise the inauthenticity that I am sensing has started to creep in to the movement for full LGBTQ affirmation in the church.
In what is yet another example of this administration’s commitment to either harm or outright buffoonery - and most of the time it is a healthy mixture of both - donald trump will be awarding “economist” Arthur Laffer the Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award given to individuals who have shown “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” Of course, Laffer has made no contribution except to the affluent and the powerful, which is exactly why he is getting the award.
I resonate with the sentiment often uttered that life in the trump era feels overwhelming, but it is when I feel overwhelmed that I instinctively want to pour myself into my beautiful and amazing sons - Elisha and Isaiah. I want to love them and listen to them and encourage them and support them and dream with them.
While the documentary has a number of significant voices of criminologists and activists, especially activists who themselves have experienced incarceration, the religious voices they feature were all white, male, conservative Christians. And I do not have to remind you that it was white, conservative, Christian men who are most responsible for mass incarceration.
For the third time House Republicans blocked a $19.1 billion dollar disaster relief bill from moving on to the Senate because they either think the bill is too expensive or because it is not expensive enough and does include funding for militarization of the border. The reason has never been clarified, but what is clear is that House Republicans are opposed to giving people who recently suffered natural disasters money to recover and rebuild.
By and large liberals have almost completely ceded the ground of evangelism to evangelicals, most of whom practice a form of evangelistic cultural colonialism. That is why I call them Evangelical Nationalists. The abuse Evangelical Nationalists heap on individuals is horrific and only getting worse. We need a helluva lot more evangelism happening from people who follow the biblical Jesus; our evangelism needs to shift from “winning people to Jesus” to rescuing people from the North American Church. Here is why we need a shift in evangelism.
There is another important area to fight discrimination against the LGBTQ community and that is allowing state adoption and foster care agencies that receive taxpayer funds, but yet, to discriminate against LGBT families and non-evangelical Christian families. This issue has been creeping up in numerous states as Evangelical Nationalists are getting the green light from this administration to discriminate against LGBTQ people at will.
The ironic thing is that if evangelicals I had known would have committed themselves to stopping illegal wars; if they would have focused on welcoming refugees and immigrants, if they would have sought restorative justice rather than retributive justice, if they would have wanted everyone to have access to affordable health care and a living wage, then I would still be an evangelical today. But they didn’t and I am not.
A classic confrontation between an inspired prophet of God and yet another religious cleric more interested in protecting the institution and the social and political status quo than in truth, justice, or holiness. This conflict seems so incredibly familiar because it has been happening throughout all of history and remains as incisive now as it was during Amos’ time.
I just finished Katey Zeh’s book, Women Rise Up, and it is an important and timely book that should be read by everyone reading this (and more!). Like an excellent guide, Katey walks with us through both the Old and New Testaments and points out the many stories where women figure prominently. I am usually not big on reading theological books, but this is truly an excellent read and so very challenging.
On Tuesday of this past week Democratic leaders, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer met with donald trump and both parties agreed on an infrastructure plan totaling $2 trillion. Not discussed was how to fund the plan. This where we should worry.
This past weekend in the span of two days donald trump announced that he is pulling the United States out of the Small Arms Trade Treaty and then, the next day, there was a shooting at a synagogue in San Diego that killed one person, injured three, and terrorized hundreds if not thousands more. These two actions are related.
I wrote this back in 2014 and have updated it. The three weeks include biblical reflection, contextual reflection, stories, and discussion questions. For a downloadable copy email me at Bill@figtreerevolution.com. If repentance from attempting to bring about our own self-preservation through violence is to start anywhere, it should start with the church.