This election season has reminded me of why I keep hesitating regarding getting involved in local church again.
It’s been hard to watch unfold on a national level, but it’s been closer to deeply disturbing and heartbreaking to me on a personal, local level. I struggle to relate to the Christians in my life who overlook racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, hate speech, hate crimes, and human rights issues. It’s hard for me to believe that our consciousness, ethics, and ideologies can be so vastly different when we claim the same faith.
I know that the “kind of Christian” that I am has been vilified and dismissed as not “real”, so I don’t mean to do that to anyone in my life who is not valuing the same things as me in the same way. It’s just, I don’t know where to go with it all. How can we have such wildly different standards, values, and ideals? Or do we? Are we just trying to go about the same things through different avenues? What is going on?
There are some nuanced discussions happening but not nearly enough.
I believe in better for the Church and the people of the Church. I ache for something better. Not merely for myself but for all the people who are watching from the outside, who are wondering if we mean it when we say we love and God loves. For the people hungry, thirsty, aching for grace and mercy and joy and rest (like all of us). For the people longing for justice, for someone to stand up for them, for someone to see them.
I’m so tired seeing people of the church participating in fear-mongering, shaming, persecution complex, and nit-picking. I’m tired of watching people quote verses at each other, throwing the term “biblical” around like a trump card. I’m tired of pro-life only meaning anti-abortion and that one single issue bearing more weight with people than all the other human and civil rights violations, poverty, homelessness, abuse, war, and anything else that affects the safety, well-being and dignity of human life. I’m tired of the religion of patriotism. I’m tired of the way feminist and egalitarian and liberal and progressive are treated as dirty words. I’m tired of purity culture. I’m tired of the church ignoring our responsibility to take care of the earth as well as each other. I’m tired of racism and homophobia and xenophobia and misogyny and the patriarchy. I’m tired of other religions being vilified by Christians. I’m tired of hearing about guns and bibles in the same breath. I’m tired of people being annoyed by people who are offended by offensive things simply because they don’t want to be more careful with their words or because they personally don’t find it offensive. I’m tired of tiptoeing around white privilege. I’m tired of people not thinking critically or for themselves. I’m tired. And kind of lonely. I know I’m not alone, but man I feel that way a lot lately in this respect.
I recognize that my personal convictions regarding a couple of issues have changed over time and I need to hold space for others on their own spiritual journeys. It’s hard to remember sometimes, the things we once held tightly to after we have released them. I know there’s room for differences along the faith spectrum, within the brotherhood and sisterhood of the faith, but I also know that we’ve got to share some priorities. We’ve got to have some common ground.
I’m wrestling with these things heavy on my heart and the election results won’t change what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard, what I’ve learned, what I know, what I believe.
Someone mentioned Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot quote tonight and it reminded me of a meditation by The Liturgists that references that quote. The meditation is one I’ve listened to over and over in the past two years and it helps my perspective shift to a better place when it’s losing sight of the light.
“It’s all going to flicker out at some point with everything else
vapor, a veil, meaningless
everything and everyone is a vapor…
So what are you so worried about?
What causes you stress because it’s going to the dirt
like everything and everyone else.
It is vapor, mist, smoke…
This doesn’t have to be depressing,
in fact in might even be liberating…
And it’s all magical and mysterious and beautiful
life on planet earth is a gift
and you get it as long as you get it
and then the match gets blown out
so set your hearts not on things of earth,
not on the vapor, but let go, fully open your heart to both the gift and the giver,
the mystery, the beauty…
that which we call God,
the oneness who holds the vapor together
who somehow brings meaning into the meaningless”
-Vapor Meditation by The Liturgists
There is a oneness. There is a light. There is a love large enough.
Love always wins.