I feel encouraged to discover that many people share my sense of what has happened in 2020 and what we need to do about it. I wrote about it last week.
My friend, Michiko, wrote this on her Facebook page
Don’t be lulled. 70 million people still voted for racism, homophobia and white terror. The work is only now begun. We must heal the spiritual wounds wrought by genocide and slavery, which as Dave Chappelle likes to say “was only 3 people ago” or we will repeat this process. [SNL this week] I like this message [below] because it’s been resonating with what I believe God is saying to me which is…throw spiritual water on the fire, speak the history back to the earth, let her absorb it and reconfigure it and put out the flames of hatred, human classification and human division. This is the work I feel called to do.
I think all of us probably have some variation on her calling. Can we all agree to:
- Throw spiritual water on the fire?
- Live in creation and not in our classifications and divisions?
Michiko’s friend, Spencer Clayton, spoke a creative sermon after the election that was on a similar wavelength: When your faith is misplaced –1 Samuel 4:1-11. He says:
Stay vigilant. Our actions add up.
Three things that can happen as a result of misplaced faith.
1) If our faith is not in God, we are putting ourselves in danger.
- Jeffrey Epstein put his faith in money and political connections, but it did not save him.
- Young people put their faith in their health but Covid-19 kills people as a result.
- Symbols are not God. Applying your ignorant ways harder in hope of a better result could be deadly.
2) Premature celebration can attract attention that invites even more challenges.
- Trump declared victory before the votes were counted. He stirred up opposition.
- Democrats advertised some radical plans and invited opposition.
- Moving in silence is often better. Let your character and actions speak, not just your advertising.
3) Results of our misapplied faith are often much worse than we needed faith to address.
- Plenty of pastors asserted that Trump would win easily. Paula White, one of the president’s spiritual advisors, has become famous for her televised prayer for Trump’s God-ordained victory. The parodies of it abound. As a result, the church becomes a joke and evangelism becomes very difficult. People feel like Christians are crazy.
- Be careful in public.
I think it is a good time in the history of Eurocentric Christianity to finally listen to historically marginalized people and hear what they have been saying all along. Now that mostly a bunch of old “white” men have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an inconclusive election it is time for the church to return to Jesus. We can get over Donald Trump, Paula White and our lust for power (from political conservatives clear to revolutionaries) and come up with what Jesus wants to come up with.
It is still all there in the Bible:
- It is living water poured on the fires of hatred.
- It is the stones crying out for the restoration of shalom in creation.
- It is faith in God and not all the others things empire-lovers cherish.
Like Michiko and Spencer say, the work is beginning. Let’s get reoriented now that the results of all our societal nonsense are becoming clear. The church will survive and we will carry the seeds of transformation into the new territory we are entering. The Spirit of God will not abandon us.