Christian faith is as much revolution as it is religion, and movement as much as it is sacrament. I cannot get beyond this truth. Sure, we live in a culture that would like to believe there is a real and distinct line that separates our faith from the politics we embrace, but reality disproves this impossible ideal.
See, not only is everything in this life spiritual, everything is political.
If you embrace the Christian faith, you embrace a movement that begins with a God that liberates a wayward creation. This God is, and has always been, long-suffering, compassionate, slow to anger, constantly willing to forgive and desiring that all should return to their rightful place as children of the Creator.
If you embrace the Christian faith, you embrace a movement that fundamentally shifted the way we think about societal division.
And if you embrace the Christian faith, you have at least heard of the revolutionary teaching that has called us away from judgment and towards love for everyone, including our enemies.
But if this past few years has taught us anything, it is that so many of us would prefer to go back to the “good old days”. You know, the days when people knew where they stood. The days when Africans were ripped from their homes and families in order provide free labor in the New World. The days when a black man couldn’t look at a white woman without the threat of being lynched. The days when we had separate water fountains, bathrooms and schools. You know, back when America was a “Christian” nation.
Just this week, many of us saw a picture of a crowd of white nationalists that was reminiscent of KKK and lynch mob photos from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. You might feel the urge to dismiss this image as a fringe group of people that are out of their minds. But you would be wrong to do that. This is a movement my friends. It is a religion that embraces racial and ethnic identity as a prerequisite for participation. It is revolution that seeks to pull us back towards jealousy, envy, strife, hatred and division.
Is it a reactionary movement? Sure it is. But it’s also not reactionary in the very real sense that the spirit of this movement already existed in the hearts of many. It has simply been ignited in response to a movement that asks us to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.
One movement is crying out to be noticed and affirmed as human beings. The other screams out, “I see you, but get back in your place!”
One movement has felt the sting of constant scapegoating. The other believes those who have been scapegoated in the past to be the source of all our problems today.
One movement is being told that their pain and suffering is imagined. The other is worried about upholding statues and flags that are a symbol of slavery and oppression.
I ask you, in all sincerity…where do Christians find themselves in the midst of all this?
Truth is, most of us are just trying to get through this life. We’re trying to work hard, take care of our families and have some time left over to enjoy ourselves. Believe me, I understand. I’d love to turn down the volume on all the noise out there. But that’s not gonna happen. This has been going on for a very long time, and trying to avoid it or yelling at our friends/social media feeds isn’t going to make it go away.
You know, there was a movement that opposed the full inclusion of Gentile believers in Jesus. This is one of the main reasons we have Paul’s letters in the New Testament. Paul actually spends more time on this topic than anything else.
I suggest we evangelicals go back to our Scriptures in order to remember from where we’ve come. Let’s take a fresh look at letters like Galatians and Romans. Let’s read the Gospels in a way that compels us to listen and understand the struggle of those that have found themselves pushed to the margins over and over again.
May we put an end to beginning our sentences with “I’m not racist, but…”. May we be as loud, if not louder, in our condemnation of racism and bigotry as we are against riots that have been associated with Black Lives Matter protests. And pray that God would have mercy on us for refusing to have ears that hear and eyes that see.
I want to be part of the Jesus movement. In him, there is a New Creation that we actually get to experience here an now. It’s time, once again, that we believed in the Spirit’s power to lead us in the Way of our Messiah.