Grief: Day 2

16 11 2016


On day two of this national tragedy, my anger has become very real! I have felt it bubbling up inside of me over night! And as it does, I remember that a pastor’s job goes way beyond caring for and provide comfort to those who hurt and fear.

It was in seminary where I first heard the saying “The Gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable!” Which is perhaps why, today, yesterday’s thoughts and feelings – many of which were too deep for words – are now exploding in lines and phrases that are not very comforting. Rather, they are sharp and prickly, painful to write. They are words that afflict, and so they will no doubt be painful for some to read!

A friend recently shared a Tony Morrison quote with me, about times like these being the times when artists get to work. Morrison says, “There is no time for despair. No place for self-pity. No need for silence. No room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

I smiled when I read it, because that’s all I’ve wanted to do for the past two days – write . . . to let the anger out, and allow the Light in! So that’s what I’ve been doing; and on day two, affliction has taken a seat beside comfort.

As a ‘liberal’, listening to others and attempting to understand different perspectives is what I do. So to those in this country and in my church who are fearful and resisting change, know this: I, and many like me, will listen to your story, we will try to see your perspective; and we will comfort you when we can. But we are also going to allow the Gospel to afflict you a little bit. Because God is God, and this God’s world. And the changes that you are fighting, and resisting, are changes coming about as a direct movement of God’s Spirit. And friends . . . dear friends . . . we are not going back! So the sooner you accept that, the healthier you, and our nation, will be!

Whether we like it or not, white men no longer get to make all the rules! Women can and will do more than clean our toilets and cook our dinners! Brown and Black people DO have lives that matter, and LGBTQ people have marriages that are just as valid as any other marriage! Muslim Americans have the same religious rights as Christian Americans, and pro-choice people can be just as moral as anti-abortion people.

But of all the changing realizations taking place in our world today, the most important one for me, by far, is this: American Evangelicalism no longer speaks for American Christianity! We have finally come to the point where it should be apparent to all, that white, conservative Christians no longer speak for the majority of Christ-followers in this country; and therefore they will no longer be permitted to inflict their malevolent and malicious brand of Christianity upon the American people unchallenged!

So without being trite, or simplistic, or offensive, I say to you who are so terribly fearful, of everything – from transgender people using your restrooms, to vaccines, to Black people wearing hoodies, to someone trying to take away your guns – do yourself a favor. Please! Get some help! Talk to someone! Find a good therapist, address all the irrational fears that are terrifying your soul, and stop forcing the rest of us to deal with all of your ‘issues’!

And to all of you supposed ‘Christians’ out there – you 82+% of white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump because you believe that was “God’s desire” – you who somehow managed to twist the Gospel in a manner that enabled you to rationalize electing Donald Trump to highest office in our land – you who clearly appear to have put your own political agendas before God’s agendas – to you I say find a new church, reread the Gospels, and stop forcing the rest of us to have to endure your misguided understanding of God, faith, mission, and spirituality.

Finally, if you do not fall into either of the above categories, then hear again these powerful words from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Let the words of Ellen (who was actually quoting Eleanor Roosevelt!), seep into your soul: “You can either curse the darkness, or light a candle!”

Friends, we cannot remain silent, and we should never stop lighting candles. So go ahead and be angry, but only for a while. There’s too much work yet to be done!



One response

16 11 2016

Bob, I am sharing your blog on my FB account. Your words are energizing for my soul. Thank you. I am so grief-stricken and fearful by the election of a demagogue. Praying.

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