Quiet and Loud
And even though it all went wrong, I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.
- Leonard Cohen
Millions of people woke up in shock on Wednesday morning. Millions of people woke up in fear.
It's a new world.
As a privileged white male, I have been struggling this week to synthesize thoughts that could do even a shred of justice to the authentic fear of a soon-approaching uncertain reality that has been enthusiastically promised to threaten LGBT lives, black lives, female lives, disabled lives, immigrant lives, refugee lives, Native American lives, and the lives of future generations left to live in a damaged climate.
It may be a new world, but as Christians, our mission does not change. In all of the cynicism and partisan politics, we are called to engage on behalf of those threatened or marginalized in society. We must be fiercely pro-life on behalf of people now considered by many in positions of influence to be "other" or inadequate based on their religion, country of origin, race, or sexual orientation. The reality is that this hatred of the other has been emboldened by the president-elect. In the past two days alone, there have been multiple assaults, white-supremacist demonstrations, and racial slurs painted on cars and the sides of buildings, all in recognition of the president-elect.
We must vehemently oppose all forms of hateful rhetoric and action. This is not politics as usual. This is not conservative values versus progressive values. This political movement, created by the president-elect, is a license for the normalization of hate, both implicit and explicit.
I admit that it's difficult to live in the tension of patiently listening and serving people while also refusing to be silent and inattentive to people who are at this moment justifiably fearful about their futures. I am reminded of the words of Holocaust survivor and writer, Elie Wiesel, who wrote, "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
It is our careful task as Christians not to be trapped in the unending tennis match of polarized political rhetoric. Rather, we must prove by our actions and our speech that we are serving in love and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ that every single person is welcome, loved, equal, and safe without any distinction. This radical inclusiveness is how we are to demonstrate compassion in our personal interactions, and this is how we are to develop in our understanding of how our decisions today affect our shared life with everyone, which for many is now at risk.
I certainly don't have all the answers, but may we be quiet enough to listen to those who are mourning, fearful, and in pain in the months to come. May we be loud enough to stand in solidarity with these sisters and brothers in Christ. May we may create art that inspires life. And may we take this opportunity to be renewed with fortitude and hope by the call of Jesus' ministry in Luke 4:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed,
and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
Grace and Peace,