Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ways to Move Forward

With apologies and thanks to my friend Josh Hurst, whose words I am appropriating here. Everything below the line is his. Everything above the line is mine, and the views expressed should be attributed to me, not Josh.

To their credit, I HAVE seen a few instances of evangelical pastors and friends repudiating Trump’s hateful, divisive words over the past couple days. And I’m thankful for that. But Josh’s perspective – disbelief, sorrow, betrayal – is very real, and it is very common among the Evangelicals and ex-Evangelicals I encounter. If you’re living in your own little conservative political/theological bubble, you really cannot comprehend the carnage taking place among people who would like to be Christians, who used to consider themselves Christians, but who cannot possibly agree with what they are being asked to support, and who know without a doubt that what they are being asked to support is profoundly out of alignment with God’s will and purpose in the world.

To the rest of the American Christian world that sits back in silence, there IS a way forward, but it involves, as it always does from a Christian perspective, acknowledgement of wrong, and repentance; commitment to doing right. In the face of continued tacit or overt support of blatant racism from some portions of the American Christian church, now might be a good time to move forward. Please do it, I beg of you.

I do not think we will ever have a full accounting of everything we've lost through the marriage of white American evangelicalism and the desperately wicked movement of explicit racism and white nationalism personified by the 45th President.
Last night I watched in horror as he incited violence against a sitting U.S. Congresswoman, inviting real bodily peril on her and her children, and for a moment thought of all the Christian moralists, evangelists, pastor-teachers, and quasi-celebrities who I was raised to admire; men who taught me that character matters and integrity is paramount. I believed it, and still do; it's a shame they didn't. One whiff of real political power was all it took for them to goose-step along with a political agenda that is demonstrably evil; that wishes injury and death upon divine image-bearers; that rejects the teachings of Jesus Christ at every turn.
I am not alone. I hear from others every day who were raised in conservative, white evangelicalism, and who now see all the absolute truths of our childhood going up in smoke. The trauma is real. The betrayal is real. The tears are real. So it was bullshit all along, you say? But I trusted you, and now feel like a fool.
There are not enough Supreme Court seats, not enough chances to embarrass the libtards, not enough courthouses in which to erect the Ten Commandments; there is nothing to justify the erosion of Christian witness and the complete collapse of evangelical moral authority in our country, now left with a paucity of gospel values, all the goodness we espouse smothered under the weight of white nationalism.
It is Antichrist. It is accommodation for sin. It is killing us, just like the Bible said it would.
I think of my own denomination, reformed Presbyterian. We have documented evidence that white nationalists are bred and catechized in our pews, yet still so many of us are fools enough to hem and haw about whether racism and white supremacy are truly "gospel issues"-- as if there's anything that isn't! Still so many of our churches lift up prayers against abortion, as rightly we should, but will never utter a word to protect Congresswoman Omar, nor to call POTUS 45 to repentance.
This is not seriousness about sin. We're letting it devour us. We leave our children with ruins and waste -- a hollow space where authoritative Christian witness used to be. And we leave our Savior still darting from tree to tree, somewhere far from the halls of power-- his invitation the same as ever; but so many of us, I fear, choosing far lesser.

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