I’ve gnawed on that grief this summer, mourning Eugene Peterson and raging at the Nashville Statement. I’ve processed the loss of trust, the hypocrisy of a Church that told me that only the Gospel mattered, and then snuck in a bunch of fine-print clauses at the end. I’ve wrestled with being betrayed by a community that talked a big talk about saved-by-grace-alone, and then tacked sloppy works-righteousness on to their statements of faith.
What the gatekeepers of evangelicalism always seem to miss is that we wouldn’t care about being “left out” if we didn’t still love the same things they love. We are not clamoring to return to our old ways of thinking, but we’re also not trying to infiltrate and corrupt people with mind games.
You made us look foolish, Eugene. You made the lives of hope that we lead look foolish. God grant me the courage to not let my cynicism win. God grant me the courage to look foolish, again and again, because I haven’t stopped hoping.
Why would anyone ask questions and express doubts—in a church—if a Christian is likely to tell them they are wrong for questioning or doubting? Who wants that? No sane person. And certainly not Jesus, either.
If we continue to choose silence and submission in lieu for purpose and mission, we lose God's hope and we destroy our calling to perfection.
We have all been raised in environments with prejudices that have rubbed off on us. Do NOT become paralyzed with guilt. Give yourself some grace for being human.
This Lent, I'm taking up a #BlackLivesMatter reading list. I'm doing this, because as a white Christian, I need to repent of my own complicity in a culture of white supremacy and listen to the stories of my black brothers and sisters long ignored and neglected by our society.
We were all born to be better. We were made to receive the love of God and to be with other people. There is no limit to the goodness you and I are meant to behold and to reflect, no end to the joy and love we can spread.
If the Women's March does not become intersectional, it will merely be a continuation of what feminism was in the beginning: catering to the needs of white women and ignoring racism, LGBTQ discrimination, transphobia, the exploitation of indigenous people, and so on.
I sat in my car outside the building I worked in, and cried, and prayed, and looked at my watch because I had to walk into that building in 45 minutes to preach a sermon to my broken hearted and oppressed and racist and lonely congregation.
Do we wear diversity as a badge, patting ourselves on the back for being racially diverse without actually entering into any relationships with people of other races and cultures?
Tears, rage and joy are part of humanity. We will see this as we enter life with someone who is different from us and perhaps begin to empathize. Sometimes we must open our eyes even when we may prefer blindness.
After we left, the tension we had felt erupted, and the city burned. And from suburbia, we judged harshly.
Every day I become more and more aware of the little ways that I excuse my own prejudicial thoughts and behaviors—while protecting my privilege. And I’m haunted by the times that I didn’t speak up.
And maybe that is how you fight hellfire. Not with more hellfire, but with embodied solidarity. With protests. With makeshift signage. With fierce compassion and bravery in the face of the depths of human ignorance and depravity.
Stop trying to use shame and blame to change people. It’s not working and it will never work. Been there, done that. I’m done. I want for us to do everything from a place of love, but this takes work. I know it begins with me, and it begins with you.