Things that Must be Said

This week, many of us will sit down with our families and consume copious amounts of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pie. With the 2016 presidential election only 3 weeks behind us, there is a great likelihood that the Thanksgiving family gathering will be tense at best or, at worst, ridden with hateful words and divisive political talk. Maybe I should edit my previous post to be “On Thanksgiving Day, Hug a Family Member Who Voted Differently from You” and post that.

No. There are things that must be said.  If this post seems disjointed and disconnected, it is because each of these things deserve their own post.  Still, these things must be said.

First and foremost, it is contrary to the Reign and work of God for ANYONE to live in fear. Christians, regardless of political affiliation or whose box they checked on a ballot, are mandated to advocate for those who experience fear in the face of oppression. This is the case whether they be illegal immigrants, people of color, low-income anglos, LGTBQ individuals, adherents of a religion different than yours, or women. When we ignore the fear of our neighbor, we ignore Christ. According to the gospel writer of Matthew, our Lord said “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” (Matthew 25:45).

It must be said.

Rest assured, Church, the prospect of a US president being advised by Steve Bannon should fill us with unease. Gatherings held by the likes of the National Policy Institute with speeches like that of Richard Spender should set righteous anger in the heart of God’s Church. And when we look to our Muslim or Jewish neighbor and see their fear, we need to feel that. We need to empathize with that. We need to inhabit that fear with them, and then fight for hope. We should be advocating for the protection of our brothers and sisters of color. We should defend the dignity of advocate-notesthe LGBTQ community. We should stand firm in the face of rubber bullets and tear gas with those who protesting non-violently against the Dakota Access Pipe Line. When the cities are no longer sanctuary cities, our churches must be sanctuary churches. We should fight for the safety and equality of women. Pastors, how will the young women in your pews ever feel empowered to press into their gifts for pastoral leadership if you do not lift them up into leadership roles, including preaching and teaching?

It must be said.

Here I am drawing the line: If you believe that you have more in common with a non-Christian because of the color of their skin or the language they speak than with the dark-skinned brother or sister in Christ facing deportation, you have failed to grasp what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

It must be said.

If you are as puzzled, and at moments infuriated, as I am by the record turn-out of white evangelicals who voted for a man who is one court case shy of being a registered sex-offender, then lay aside your political ideology. Lay aside your political ideology and take up the Cross and the Incarnation. We are commissioned to be live in community and suffer along side all those who we call neighbor.

It must be said.

Make no mistake.

The desires and agenda of the Alt-Right is Anti-Christ: It is a movement whose rhetoric reflect that it is in opposition to the work of the God who, in Jesus Christ, entered into God’s own Creation, to be executed at the hands of a “superior” people, only to be resurrected on the third day.

IT MUST BE SAID.

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On November 9, Hug Somebody

Why, hello November. When did you show up? October feels like a blur. I’ve been busy. Work, school, and what not. My posts haven’t been as timely as I would have liked, but such is life. As many of you are aware, we are several days away from the infamous election day. Soon the mantras, chants, and verbal challenges of the season will come to an end. “Trump for President!” “Clinton for President!” “Never Trump!” “Never Clinton!” “Break the system with Johnson or Stein!” “A third party vote is a waste!” “Wait, who’s Evan McMullin?!”

So much to keep track of. So many divisive issues. So many scandals. A media mish-mash of he-said-she-said political debate and slander. Tis the season. I’m not here today to add my two cents to the political discussion. I’ll vote on Tuesday. I won’t share with you for who. Someone will be elected president. And life will continue on with challenges, old and new.

But I want to offer one very cheesy idea for November 9, 2016. Hug someone who did not vote as you did. Seriously. Once you’ve watched the poll results get broadcasted into the darkness of Tuesday night, have a good cheer, sigh, cry or what have you. Get some warm milk, hot tea, glass of wine or whatever suits your mood. Then go to bed. Do your best to get a good night’s rest. And on Wednesday November 9, hug someone who did not vote for the same candidate as you did. Do not apologize for the loss of his or her candidate (because you’re not sorry. Don’t be a disingenuous ass). Do not hug the person and whisper “You’ve doomed us all.” Just hug the person. Start with the hug. If you feel gutsy, maybe offer to buy him or her coffee, then ask how the family is, or how is working treating him or her. Maybe ask about their hopes and dreams. And leave the election out of it. Not forever. The political discussions have their place.

But on November 9, 2016, remember the humanity of those who did not vote as you did. That person is still bears the imago dei, the image of God. They are still people cherished by the Creator. They are not monsters, regardless of who they voted for.

Aren’t we all hurting? Aren’t we all concerned with the state of of world? Don’t we all vote according to our conscience? Let us remember that even if you find the voting decision of another person heinous and beyond logic, that person may think the same of you.

You have needs that you thought this candidate would meet in some fashion, whether directly or indirectly. And so does your neighbor. Because that “short-sighted fool who voted for [candidate]” is your neighbor. That person is my neighbor. What are your neighbor’s needs? How can you help? How can I help? But we need to bridge the divide. We need to heal the animosity and the hurt feelings. We need to share our fears. Because our fear is not “If Trump is elected,” or “If Clinton is elected.” Our fears our for family and friends. They are for our livelihood and provision. They are for the safety and security of ourselves and those we care for. What if we feared for the wellbeing of those who disagree with us? What if we had mercy?

Jesus was asked by an expert of the Law “Who is my neighbor?” There’s a great story there in Luke 10:25-37. Maybe read that with breakfast on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

Then go hug someone who voted differently than you.

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