I was in a conversation last week with some amazing brave and wise friends, talking about Faith Shift stuff. One of them said something that has stuck with me ever since and has been rolling around in my head and heart.
The problem that a lot of us have as we grow in passion for justice and equality and change in the world as part of our shifting faith is “when people are the casualty of belief.”
When people are the casualty of belief.
Yes, there are a lot of people right now who are the casualty of belief.
Flesh and blood and dreams and glory and hearts and souls and stories–people!
These are people, people!
Casualties of belief.
Being talked about in blog after blog, book after book, sermon after sermon, conference after conference.
This isn’t just the LGBQT community but all those who are somehow on the other side of what many systems say is required to believe to belong.
To be a real Christian.
To be an insider.
To be able to minister.
Goodness gracious, it’s so sad and so wrong to me.
And unfortunately the place and time we are living in now.
All the talk about “them.”
All the talk about “the what about’s…”
All the talk about “but the scriptures say…”
The fighting, the splitting, the on-and-on-and-on-and-on conversations.
Honestly, I think it’s all a great distraction.
The forces of evil are smiling.
The world is crying out for hope and we’re talking about theology.
So many are outraged about doctrinal issues when there are people in desperate need of housing, food, education, community, God’s love, dignity, and hope.
Oh, it’s time to keep making our tables bigger, to pull in more chairs.
Our theology more spacious (thanks, Ben Edwards).
Our hearts more open.
The kingdom of God is not small (and oh how Jesus warned the religious leaders against making it impossible for people to enter).
And it certainly not marked by fear and separation and self-protection.
Today my heart is reminded that while the wider church is fighting and spending gobs of energy in all kinds of weird and sad directions, the good that is emerging is freedom.
That’s the stirring these days.
That’s what people are fighting for, calling for, longing for.
Freedom across race & gender & identity & class.
And that’s a beautiful thing. As hard as these times are right now, it’s also pointing to what I think is a holy stirring, a desire for something far better than ever before.
A refusal to live in fear and shame anymore.
A desire to live out a life of justice and mercy.
A life-guiding-no-exceptions passion for equality.
But oh, it will be so messy getting there.
Freedom always has a cost.
And I just am so sad at the amount of casualties along the way.
But I do know we can each play a part in picking up people from the side of the road, the casualties of belief.
We can help tend wounds, walk with, restore dignity, listen, advocate, create safe & brave spaces, and remind each other–you are so much more than a belief.