The new semester is just a few days away, and present Marie is really questioning past Marie. Why did she decide it would be a good idea to take a class that starts at 7:00 a.m. on Thursdays?
I see very large cups of coffee in my future.
Kate says: fresh.
The living God is a God of justice and mercy and [God] will be satisfied with nothing less than a people in whom [God’s] justice and mercy are alive.
– Lesslie Newbigin
We live in a pagan society.
This is a near-impossible truth to grasp for those of us living in a Western context, particularly the United States of America. Church buildings are all over the place. Religious language pops up in advertisements, campaign speeches, and in the caption of the post you saw on Instagram this morning.
I repeat, we live in a pagan society.
Or pre-Christian, if you prefer.
I am not a nationalist. I don’t believe that the patch of dirt upon which I set my feet is somehow better or more significant than another patch of dirt somewhere else on the globe. I am not a Christian nationalist. There is nothing in Scripture or orthodox church tradition that tells me that this landmass is meant to be controlled by God’s people (which, in this context, generally means white people, and particularly white men. This is not a slap at all white men. This is me telling you what Christian nationalism is. I shouldn’t even have to issue this disclaimer. If it doesn’t apply to you, if these aren’t your views, then I am not addressing you). I am a Christian who happens to live in the United States.
The society around me is not Christian.
It never was.
Again, I am not a Christian nationalist. I have no aim to “Christianize” society. In fact, I believe that the Gospel is always going to be an affront to society, always going to be impossible to mesh the message of Kingdom living with consumerism, fear, greed, racism, misogyny, and whatever else you can think of that we cling to here where we live but don’t want to talk about. To be a Christian is to adopt an ethic, a mode of living, that is wholly other. Alien.
Instead, people slap the “Christian” label on QAnon – cult.
White supremacy – sin.
Blind, slavish devotion to a particular political figure – idolatry.
The spreading of disinformation on social media – lying.
Refusal to admit when caught in a lie – hard heartedness.
Advocating for the murder of your perceived enemies – already murder, according to the Lord who knows our thoughts and sees every social media post.
I’ve had to do my own repenting over the last week, and will continue to do so. Always slightly out of sync with my emotions, rage over all that has been happening hits me in unexpected moments. I have felt hate for others – this is wrong. This is not Christlike. And so, again and again, I beg the Lord to create within me a clean heart, to renew my spirit, to transform my mind, to help me see others the way God sees them, to give me wisdom and compassion.
The good news is that sincere repentance is always met with forgiveness.
We do not have to keep going down this path.
There is a new beginning, a fresh start.
GRACE AND PEACE ALONG THE WAY,
1/15/21 Addition: My friend Andrew reached out to me via email. We had a productive, kind exchange. He and I don’t have the exact same views on every issue, but we are both able to see what is most important. Our conversation moved me to modify a sentence in this post, in which I spoke out of inappropriate anger. Sharing here my reply to him:
I know that we’re all wrestling with the way out world is right now. And I know there’s a spectrum of thought. My intention in what I wrote was to call out extremism, not average conservatism. There’s a big difference between the two, just as there is between extremism and average liberalism. At least, as I understand it all. And ultimately, I don’t really care about someone’s political persuasion. I’m disturbed by what I see happening in the church.