Thursday, July 21, 2016
Most days I wake up and say, “It’s time to say something.” Then I acquiesce to the reality that so many words are taking over and so few are listening, so why bother saying something in written fashion? My friend, David Forney, says, “don’t write for an abstracted audience; write for you.” I write for me today and invite you to join or ignore me.
I remember confronting every Sunday during my pastoral years wondering how to say something meaningful and impactful based on the last six days and the next six days. I always had the laity in mind as I prepared for Sunday. I entered knowing that my dad went to worship for decades as a restaurant manager or salesmen. I now view Sundays through his eyes and wonder, “What is good news for this man?”
We are tired, America. Our politics, police, and population are filled with anxiety and everyone feels like a victim at some level. Black lives have always been a victim in US democracy; this is not debatable, which creates an uncontestable hashtag. Now that the demographics and power lines give less favor to whites. White and middle-class folks feel like victims. Single moms and abused women need protection similar to the Hellenistic widows. This is hard to believe so long after the Acts of the Apostles. Worse yet, anyone who questions another’s “victim status” is labeled as oppressive, which breeds hatred not justice. Cornel West helpfully says, "Justice is what love looks like in public.” It’s beyond complex and often goes beyond empathy. The possibility of hearing is all but eroded when we are exhausted, tired, anxious, fearful, and angry (which we are).
Some months ago when Trump was about to secure the Republican nomination, and the Democratic contest was between Sanders and Clinton, I wrote the following on a piece of scratch paper, “The contest between these candidates is not about voting FOR anyone. It is about voting AGAINST the worst of evils. What is a Christian to do? What is good news for my father? We pray, ‘deliver us from evil for you are the Kingdom, power, and glory forever….’”
I’m curious about “for you are…” these days.
Are YOU the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever? Are you? Trump, Cruz, Anti-Semites, Racists, and Homophobes seem to have more power and authority this week. Clinton and her crew will next week. The Democrats are equally demogogues - anti-Jesus, anti-Bible, anti-church, anti-life, and anti-truth; they uphold “everyone’s a victim” and propose that no one is free. Business loses. Church loses. People are losing. Politics gone personality is a losing of the American possibility. No one wants either one, but one over the other is our dream???? Idolatry as Ideology seems to rue the day, and the majority in the middle seem to be stuck with a Golden Calf.
But Sunday is coming. What is a pastor or Christian leader to do? For the salesman? The teacher? The lawyer? The CEO-gone-NYSE? What is your good news now? Is it “some trust in Chariots”; “Listen to them and give them a King”; “everyone did what was right in their own eyes”? What will you have us to do, Lord?