I belong. You belong. But…

These last few days have been a whirlwind of emotion for me as I’ve vacillated between feelings of anger, betrayal, disappointment, fear, cynicism, and resignation. More than the actual results of the election, I’ve been grieving what it has revealed about the American church. With white evangelicals overwhelmingly aligning themselves with a political platform that builds walls (literally) and feeds on fear and hate, so many of us feel like abandoning the Church that has apparently abandoned us.

Yet this is what I keep coming back to:

I belong. You belong.

White, Black

Republican, Democrat

Conservative, Progressive

Men, Women

Straight, Gay

Citizen, Refugee

And everything in between…

As the Church, we are all invited to the banqueting table. We are all welcome to partake of Divine Love. Although different and diverse, we cannot say to one another, “I have no need of you,” for we are all united under one Head.

And since we are one Body,

I will break bread with you.

I will pass the cup and say, “This is the blood of Christ, poured out for you.”

I will reach across the table and I will hold your hand.

I belong. You belong.

BUT…

If people come to the table and say, “I belong, but you don’t…”

If people come to the table and save seats for their buddies while others are left standing…

If people come to the table and hoard food while others are starving…

If people come to the table and dehumanize, demonize, abuse, or silence…

Then they are rejecting the Body that has destroyed the dividing wall of hostility.

They are renouncing the cup that makes us all acceptable before God by faith.

        And maybe, instead of reaching across the table…

I might need to start overturning some tables.

Because I will not stand idly by while those who bear the name of Christ exploit the weak for their own gain.

I will not prematurely call for unity and peace while the religious continue to hinder the marginalized from experiencing God.

I will not turn a blind eye while the church traffics in power and profit instead of offering refuge and solace.

I will not sit quietly while some defend the right to their precious traditions at the expense of another’s personhood.

I will not maintain the status quo while those who are made in God’s image are being desecrated and demeaned.

I will not pass on the other side of the road while the most vulnerable among us are dying.

Yes,

I belong. You belong.

But some things simply do not belong in a community that values belonging.

Racism

Xenophobia

Misogyny

Homophobia

Hate

Pride

Fear

Self-righteousness

Condemnation

I, too, want to see the Church come together in unity and reconciliation. I mourn over how we’re so divided,  racially and politically. I am saddened by how we’re villainizing each other as either baby-haters or bigots. I lament at how we’re looking at each other and thanking God that we’re not like them.

But instead of faking unity, I’m going to fight for it.

I’m going to fight using the “powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, MSG).

Because some things can’t be fixed with a quick handshake, hug, and a round of Kumbaya.

Sometimes peace comes by flipping tables, smashing ideologies, and tearing down barriers.

Sometimes the message of the gospel can only be communicated by cleansing the temple and driving out the religious gatekeepers so that the blind and the lame can draw near to be healed.

So especially to those who have felt locked out and excluded from the Church, Jesus has made a new and living way. The doors are open and His arms are welcoming.

I belong. You belong.

And nothing can separate us from that love and belonging in Christ.

Not a vote.

Not a president.

Not a wall.

Not even the church.

 

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