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
As I see the systems in place right now in our society, I sense there is a great deal of unease and shakiness, even some loneliness, because we are seeing so many of our systems fail and fail badly. And when I say they are failing, I mean that rather than creating access to all people for the opportunity for happiness, abundance, and fullness in life, they are, in fact, limiting that access. They are functioning in such a way that favors opportunities for happiness, abundance, and fullness to a small group of people and not to all.
With the ecstatic blessing of evangelical “Christian” leaders who care more about power and their spite-filled agenda than they do the dignity of women and sexual assault survivors, they have demanded that the Senate not seek to find out the truth, but to force through this nomination. I am disgusted - more than disgusted - that these people claim the same faith as me.
While steering clear of the story of Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford is clearly the safest thing for pastors and church leaders to do, it is the wrong thing to do. This is precisely the area that the church can have the clearest voice and can have a tremendous impact, especially in terms of being an agent of healing for those who have experienced sexual assault.
My break with evangelicalism was truly a significant moment in my life, much like the one many evangelicals are now experiencing in their own lives, which is the primary reason I write this. In the evangelical movement’s quest to be socially accepted as well as socially and politically dominant, they are once again running the risk of losing the people that make up their movement, just as they did with me over fifteen years ago. Most importantly, they are running the risk of building a movement proclaiming their belief in a Savior they no longer really follow.
No matter if you are an elected official, or a lawyer in a powerful lobby office, or even if you just work in the non-profit or faith organization world - there is shame that is poured on those who are fired, lose their jobs, or who move to less prestigious employment. Though I have been out of my previous job for over 2 1/2 years now, I still get condescending looks from former colleagues who I once thought were my friends because I no longer have a powerful position in the third largest denomination in the country. Positions of power is what DC is all about. But all of this is nothing when compared to the shaming that happens inside the church.
trump and his administration are going out of their way to hurt workers and their families, and they are finding creative and sneaky ways to do so. These are the actions that do not garnish the same kind of headlines that porn stars and attacks on the Justice Department do. In fact, these actions garnish no headlines in most instances. But these actions cause tremendous harm to real people
Whether we are individually or collectively lost, we can learn new things, try new things, and fail repeatedly, and keep trying for more. It's called the wonders of life. And that gets and keeps me excited to be alive. I am just thankful for my sons who give me the grace and support to keep playing catch, no matter how badly I throw.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
We must not quit fact-checking and editorializing. Good journalism is enshrined as a fundamental right in the U.S. Bill of Rights for good reason. In addition, some political compromises and other tediousness can happen on the road to that vision, but none of these is a substitute for the vision itself. We need to know where we are going and invite others into that excitement.