Every day last week things in the USA got worse and worse. Executive orders right and left about all kinds of sweeping things rattled everyone, but the ones about refugees and Muslims rocked even many people who had a “wait and see” attitude toward Trump. Then, this week begins with the reality that Steve Bannon, who I personally believe is one of the most dangerous people in this whole concoction, is now sitting on one of the most strategic councils in our country related to our national security and foreign relations.
It’s a sh*t show for sure.
And we’re less than two weeks in.
But it’s not a reality TV show; this is about real people, real lives, real families, real pain, real struggle, real policy-that-is-inconsistent-with-what-this-country-is-founded on, real danger to our nation’s values and checks and balances.
So many of us are sick, angry, depressed, disoriented, overwhelmed, and disgusted.
Along with these emotions, this presidency and the cabinet picks and proposed legislation that has come along with it has lit a fire in so many people’s bellies to advocate, resist, stand in the midst of having our deepest values violated.
You all know I thought Trump was a travesty from the beginning, but I never thought he’d get this far. But here we are, at an important moment in US history and also the history of the modern church.
How are we going to respond?
How are we going to stand against the sweeping policies that are raining down and causing so many people deep pain and anguish and fear?
How can we stay anchored in the midst of the ever-changing chaos that emerges each new day?
How can we remain sane in the midst of insanity?
How can we rely on our faith, no matter how fragile or fierce, as a source of strength, hope, and courage?
I know there are wide divides between Christians these days. The election revealed this in a telling way. Evangelicals, progressive, conservative, liberals, every label we could possibly place on each other was highlighted to the ‘nth degree all of 2016.
The divides are real. But I also know there’s a deep desire in so many right now to find a way forward together, to honor our differences but do whatever we can to call out what we have in common, to work together on behalf of caring for all people at risk through this new administration.
To stand together against nationalism, “Christian” by name or not.
To partner and collaborate with people in ways we might have dreamed of before but just never did because we really didn’t “have” to.
To fight against discrimination in ways that cost deeply.
To possibly redeem the word “Christian” in a world doubting what we actually care about and what we’re willing to risk as followers of Jesus.
Jesus didn’t say, “Separate, strengthen, hunker down, take-care-of-your-own, America first, Christians first.” He said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.” “Pick up your cross and follow me.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” and 4 books worth of challenges that are centered on sacrifice, humility, justice, and compassion.
Right now, one of the things that is giving me the most hope in the ever-changing landscape of United States policy is knowing how many people there are who have been and will continue to stand against injustice, who sacrifice on behalf of others day after day after day, who lead from weakness and vulnerability instead of power and might, who are advocating their guts out for people on the margins right now because they believe that’s what Jesus calls us to do, who aren’t afraid to partner with people from other faiths because they know that despite our differences we can still come together on behalf of justice and peace locally, nationally, globally.
We’re realizing in new ways that we really are tangled up together.
We can’t go this one alone.
We can’t spend our energy on bickering about theological technicalities while the world is crying out for hope.
We can’t bury our heads in the sand and wait it out.
We can’t go back to sleep.
No, on this one, we really are tangled up together.
It’s time for us to come together in ways that will stretch us all. That means Bible lovers and Bible strugglers alike. That means pro-life and pro-choice people (I can’t stand how misrepresenting these common-everyone-uses-them terms are but you know what I mean) at the same protests. That means people who voted differently or not at all won’t stand by and watch unchecked power dismantle democracy. That means men and women, young and old, rich and poor, black and white, educated and uneducated, side by side.
Standing together against unchecked unhealthy destructive political power.
Against policies that greatly damage those without power and resource.
Against the discrimination and racism and sexism and classism that have been revealed through this election cycle in ways that are terrifying.
Yeah, we are all tangled up on this one.
My hope, my prayer, is that we’ll realize that and work together in ways that will not only surprise us but help heal us as well.
Someone in Faith Circus-ing shared a recent quote from Dr. Eboo Patel that I think we need to deeply consider–He says, “I will disagree with you on this set of things and continue to work on this other set of things.”
We disagree on a lot of things and some will not be able to put those disagreements aside.
I’m focusing on those who can.
I’m hoping this other set of things will be what we set our hearts and actions on.
God, show us the way. There’s a lot to work on these days.
I’m glad to be tangled up with all of you in it.
Take good care of yourselves, friends. It’s a long road ahead, and we’ve all got a lot to learn.
Love from Colorado, Kathy