It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the United States of America feels like the Divided States of America. The sentiment is strong on all sides. Many defending Donald Trump, his cabinet picks, and the laws being changed, and many others pushing against what just happened in our country in a strong and significant way.
Christians are on all sides of the issues, some vehemently supporting the right, with others vehemently supporting the left, with others exiting all-things-faith to find community and connection in places outside “the church” because they’re just so done.
Americans are struggling with what it means to be “American.” Does that only mean white, with Christian values, and in support of God and guns? Or does it mean the America filled with black and brown and Muslim and Jew and everything in between?
Many people railing against the Women’s March as just a bunch of angry feminists and many others finding the hope and passion and sense of direction that they’ve been longing for since long before November.
This morning, I woke up with a weird mix of hope and dread.
I hate saying this because I don’t want it to sound trite or minimize the agony so many of us feel about this administration, but I truly believe this reality we’re living in will shape and form us in a way we need to be shaped and formed.
Complacency and powerlessness has caused us to give ourselves over to government, expecting them to take care of complex problems.
Racism and sexism has been bubbling under the surface forever, with activists and community organizers fighting against it since the beginning of our nation but most of us separated from actually having to confront it.
The church has existed for a long time now, fat and happy, sitting in hard lines, listening to white men speak week after week, immobilized, domesticated, disconnected from pain and oppression.
So many average people, disempowered, fragmented, lonely, feeling like their voice doesn’t matter anyway.
That’s all changing.
The hope I have is that we get to be part of the next chapter of our story together in a new way.
The dread I have is that it’s going to get uglier before it gets better.
I was thinking about what we need for this next season for our country, the church, our families, our neighborhoods.
We need more and more healers, bridge builders, table setters, storytellers, law-changers, community cultivators.
Healers, people who can bind up wounds, tend to the brokenness so many feel right now, create spaces for honesty and hope.
Bridge Builders, people who can work to build connection between those on different sides of hot topics and issues, bring people together for dignified dialogue (link) and finding common ground.
Table Setters, people who know how to get people in the room and create a space where voices are heard, guards are let down, bread is broken, dreams are created.
Storytellers, people who will tell the stories of the weak and the vulnerable and the oppressed, the raw stories of reality, the tender stories of healing and change, the true-stories of people.
Law Changers, people who will advocate against unjust laws that are bent against people on the margins. Not all legislation is bad, not all legislation is good. We need people working on both sides to create balanced laws that guide our cities, our states, our nation.
And my favorite, Community Cultivators, people who can nurture and create community and connection for people so we are connected to each other in ways that just working on a project won’t bring or just going to church won’t bring. A space where we’re alongside other people not like us but sharing common values and purpose, a place where we can gather and laugh and eat and be inspired by God and each other, where we can practice sacrifice and humility and submitting to one another, where we can use our gifts and passions and call out God’s image in one another, where we can belong and include.
There are many other possibilities.
These are just a few that are on my heart this morning.
Our future needs us all, across every divide we can think of.
Everyone’s got a part to play.
Everyone’s got something to contribute.
Everyone’s got skin in the game.
Everyone can be a light-bearer, in some way shape or form.
The question that I think we need to be asking ourselves in the weeks and months and years ahead, no matter where we are at politically or theologically or educationally or geographically or demographcially is: What do we want to contribute to our future?
What can we bring that will help heal, restore, strengthen, challenge, transform our future?
What is God stirring up that we each need to listen to?
What risks do we need to take?
Who can we link arms with so we’re not alone in it?
How can I play a part in being a healer, a bridge builder, a table setter, a storyteller, a law changer, a community cultivator?
Oh, we need more of them all right now!
ps: My friend Brandan Robertson is a bridge-builder, young and smart and gives me hope for the future. He was a guest on our latest episode of Faith Circus. I think a lot of you will really appreciate the conversation.