And Ralph Northam is now saying he wants to use taxpayer money to go on a three year-long short-term mission trip when what he needs is an extended poverty simulation. The problem is you can’t do a poverty simulation when you are the governor. To fully experience the transformation that comes with racial healing he must and foremost give up control and learn; he must shut up and listen.
Thus, our calls for Northam should, I believe, be as focused on what he needs to do to address his racism as they are about simply getting him out of the headlines. I want to stress this does not mean Northam should stay in office; I honestly do not believe he should. But I think there is something more than his ousting that liberationists should care about. We should care about his liberation.
With so much news swirling day in and day out concerning the latest trump administration or campaign executive being arrested or indicted, it is not surprising that so many of us know little of what is happening in the rest of the world. One of those events happening in the rest of the world that is having devastating results in the civil war in Yemen.
In the latest move by this administration’s efforts to “protect” Christians from having to be inclusive in who they serve, HHS has issued an exemption that allows all foster care agencies in South Carolina to disregard an Obama-era regulation barring religious discrimination in federally-funded foster care programs. Essentially, this gives permission to a “Christian” agency called Miracle Hill to discriminate in choosing families to provide loving homes to children in need of adoption or foster care.
Nick Sandmann, in stepping up to Mr. Phillips and refusing to step aside, smirking as his classmates chanted school pep rally cheers, fawned Native American cries, and did “tomahawk chop” motions, reflected what he has been taught to be as an American Christian. American Christianity is based on a hyper-individualized understanding that Jesus died entirely for your sins, making you unique, but not requiring you to be a change agent to your culture, nor to the economic or political status.
I begin with this because when we are looking at the various plans that have been put forward for the future of the United Methodist Church as they get ready to meet in February for an emergency General Conference I believe we must first ask of these plans, which of these moves us towards God’s sanctification; a sanctification that is entirely focused on loving others and loving more perfectly. As a decision which I will explain, I believe wholeheartedly that the choice for this General Conference is clear: the delegates to General Conference in 2019 must choose Simple Plan.
So, with a new Democratic majority in the House, let me offer a “friendly” note of advice: forget the evangelicals. Seriously. If evangelicals want to join progressive religious people then they are welcome - ALL people are welcome to join, but you gotta be on the same page policy-wise and you gotta keep up.
Too often we dismiss smart-asses and comics because they seem only able to deconstruct. Even more, we also are so tied to the political, economic, and especially social status quo. We sometimes get our identity from the status quo just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did. But we should listen to the smart-ass or the clown who repeatedly makes fun of the current state of affairs because of its inherent unfairness.
The last thing I know any of us want to think about is the man in the Oval Office (I am trying to not even mention his name anymore if I can help it). But this morning I read Mary’s Magnificat and I could not help but think of this outlaw and oppressive administration. Let me remind us how Mary sang her praise of God, and I will provide some timely interpretation during her song.
I saw this past week mostly white men on social media castigating refugee women fleeing north to the United States who then had to flee the tear gas being shot at them by US officials on the southern border. These have been words not worth the air it requires to speak it. But no matter how much we hate it the middle class in this country love to dish it out.
This is the power of public witness. Public witness events help motivate and mobilize others to action on that issue or even related issues. But just as courage breeds courage, public witness events breed public witness events. Imagination breed imagination, faithfulness breeds faithfulness, and revolution breeds revolution.
So, in moving forward, I want to suggest that our greatest hope in continuing to effectively RESIST donald trump and all that he embodies is not the investigative power of the new Democrat-controlled House. Our hope rests in our ability to build movements for the things I mentioned above that are built among people directly impacted by injustice and groups of people who share the same vision of change.
I am deeply encouraged to see evangelicals leave evangelicalism, but I am now seeing something from some of the evangelicals who are leaving evangelicalism that deeply bothers me. There is something of an expectation among some evangelicals who have left, or who have started to leave evangelicalism who expect to be revered by their newly found liberal or liberationist friends.
white evangelicals have been discipled to hold values dear to them which are antithetical to the biblical Jesus and they have steeped themselves in the fusion of church and state until their teachings are half-truths (meaning mistruths) and their actions oppressive towards others. They are the Pharisees of today.
I am hesitant to write this because I can hardly heap one more thing on my heart that taps into my compassion and especially my anger at injustice, but I feel like I must. I have heard so little about the war being waged against the people of Yemen and the suffering they are experiencing that I feel like it must be talked about.
With this in mind, let’s return to the protests in restaurants and public spaces directed towards public officials. While I again urge these protesters - these brave women and men - to do this nonviolently and to always allow the focus of their protest an out, I also totally understand why their disgust and anger has led them to this kind of protest. The anger comes from leaders who hold absolutely no deference to you or I, the voters.
When we push aside the needy and vulnerable from our sight, whether that is physically pushing them aside or accepting the structured segregation built by the larger society and sanctioned by our churches as legitimate, our worship is meaningless. Worse than meaningless, our worship actually makes God sick