My husband Michael wrote the following poem describing his experience working within a group of bright software engineers.  In his Netscape management days, I frequently heard the term “herding cats” spoken with frustration. As he has grown older and wiser, Michael can now approach these issues with more patience, kindness and a lot of humor:

 

there will always be someone

 

there will always be someone

who thinks things are going too fast

and believes more attention to process

is the only way to win

 

there will always be someone

who thinks things are going too slow

and thinks that increased procedural precision

is killing us

 

there will always be someone

demanding to know

  who is in charge?

with the certainty that if the chain of command were clear

things would get done

 

there will always be someone

who wishes everyone would just get out of the way

and let the goodness emerge and grow

naturally

 

there will always be someone

describing the lack of regular, scheduled, communication

and the ensuing chaos,

as the root of all evil

 

there will always be someone

who starts to mime ritual suicide

at the suggestion of a meeting

just to make sure everyone is on the same page

 

for each person who believes in small incremental change

there exists a newtonian equal and opposite force

demanding that anything less than revolution

is a waste of time

 

i work with

and love

all of these crazy people

these dreamers who know

deep deep deep in their bones

that they are right

and i

am wrong

 

there will always be

great stuff happening

when we have these very arguments

because amazing things happen

when you are laughing

and when someone is really pissed off

they can be really, hilariously, funny

 

Except for the final two stanzas, Michael’s description sounds fairly similar to the political arguments I have witnessed this year.  Conservatives frustrated with feeling alienated or forced to concede issues they haven’t yet explored.  Progressives equally frustrated, feeling stymied by the lack of cooperation. Too fast, too slow, authoritarian, permissive, revelation, revolution….disagreements devolving into name-calling, entrenched politics exploding into violence.

The absence of those stanzas is key.  Even in moments of impasse, at the base of everything, Michael encounters his co-workers with respect and love…and the disarmament of shared humor.

 

As November 3 draws closer, the anxiety growing around us is nearly palpable.  No poll can predict what may engulf our country following this election.  Perhaps it will be like Y2K, all hype and little substance.  Perhaps not.  But as we hold our collective breath, as the intensity continues to build, it helps to remember we all have held as our ideal “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We the people hold the power of that indivisibility, no matter who is in the White House or Congress.

How we treat one another is more important than election results.

 

I love The Message translation of Michah 6:8 — “But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.”

 

Take God seriously. Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5-7 gives some clear direction on God’s expectations for our behavior and attitudes.  Reading these words, hearing them in a lifetime of sermons, means little if we are not truly humbled by them, if we are not desperate to work them into our lives.

 

I’m reminded of two incidents that occurred concurrently, almost four hundred years ago. Two interpretations of Scripture, gripped and preached with iron certainty, sometimes with lethal consequences:

In 1616, Galileo was ordered to desist from teaching the “heresy” of heliocentrism (the theory that the Earth orbits the Sun). An Inquisition council insisted the theory contradicted Scripture which they believed clearly taught geocentrism (the theory that the Earth is the center of the universe, that the Sun and other planets orbit us.) Galileo wasn’t the first person to suggest heliocentrism. Nearly a century before Copernicus’ mathematical model, expanding upon an ancient Greek theory, brought the theory forward into the Renaissance.  Kepler, Newton and a host of other scientists continued to add further proof, despite the consequences – a very real precedent of dissenters being beheaded or burned at the stake. 

Because of the church’s (both Protestant and Catholic) insistence on geocentrism, both theories were taught in schools throughout the 1700’s.  With massive evidence piled upon the side of heliocentrism, however, most schools had already dropped geocentric teaching by 1800. Except in the church. In 1822, the Catholic church finally permitted the inclusion of heliocentric teaching in their college of cardinals. In 1835, the ban on Copernicus’ and Galileo’s books was lifted, but it wasn’t until 1992 that Pope John Paul II officially acknowledged Galileo’s contribution to the scientific world. 

 

It’s difficult to admit that our opinions may be wrong.  It seems especially difficult for us as Christians, perhaps because our opinions are interwoven with our faith.  For some Christians in my generation, the call to arms against secular humanism has sometimes superseded the words of Jesus. It has been ingrained in our theology and our psyches. “Worldliness” is our enemy and “churchiness” is our comfort zone.

 

Four hundred years ago, in 1619, a group of Africans were sold to some Virginia colonists.  Thus began a series of atrocities that have continued throughout four centuries into this year’s headlines. From colonial slavery to George Floyd’s murder, white people who name themselves as Christian continue to use the Bible and the American legal system to justify outright persecution and apathy toward our black and brown brothers and sisters.  In my youth, I can remember hearing both Nixon and Reagan speeches about our desperate need for law and order. I didn’t see the Wild West outside my door but I did hear my dad and uncles talking about how awful it would be if colored people moved into our neighborhood, destroying property values and bringing in crime and drugs.

A couple states away, in Chicago, Michelle Obama was growing up at the same time. In her book, Becoming, Michelle talks about visiting older white people’s homes during campaigns and noticing familiar cotton-lace doilies on Midwest tables. The same kind of doilies that used to cover tables in her own relatives’ homes. The connection she recognized in that moment was about what we all share as Americans, as humans.

My family had those doilies, too. 

Michelle probably heard frightening things about white people at her family gatherings, too.

 

Conservative and progressive politics often involve two sides of the same coin. We all want safe environments and good education for our children. We all want reliable healthcare and financial security. We all want the freedom to walk our streets without fear. We all want access to nutritious food, clean air and water that is safe to drink.  Some Americans have never felt a lack of these “basics.”  Some of these privileged ones have believed lies designed by those in power – that the people who don’t enjoy these basics have only themselves to blame. Lies designed to separate, so the haves can congratulate themselves on their own virtuousness and distance themselves from the have-not’s.  So the roots of the lies are never exposed. Racism, greed, exploitation for political and economic gain have lain hidden for decades, for centuries. But God has always seen. Luke 8: 17 claims, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

2020 has been a year of revelation. Not just the political and societal cracks. The pandemic has leveled us to our shared vulnerabilities. How will we respond to what has been revealed?  When the threat of Covid-19 is lessened, will we all return to the same prejudices and platitudes? Have we learned anything about compassion? About our shared humanity?

 

Michael says the manager’s job is to get out of the way, to provide what the engineers need to accomplish the job –  the communication, tools and resources, environment and encouragement to be successful.  Michael sincerely believes most people want to do a good job; if they’re not, it’s usually because the manager hasn’t provided what they need.  

What do our elected officials need to do a good job? Do they have a co-operative work environment? Are we encouraging them to be successful in meeting the needs of all Americans or just the ones who share our opinions? Are they more concerned about keeping their jobs or doing them? 

 

If we, as Americans, continue our in-fighting on social media, if we continue to click on inflammatory headlines and listen to provocative podcasts designed to fuel our outrage at each other, we are merely inviting more of the same.  News media and advertising rates are based on market share.  The more we gobble up, the more there will be.

I, for one, am tired of arguments that do little more than entrench both sides.  We are not victims of marketing, we are consumers.  If we stop eating, they will stop cooking.  

 

There is a place for reasoned discourse.  We face serious issues that need serious contemplation. Listening to each other, working together to find acceptable solutions, can lead to (in Michael’s words) “great stuff happening.”  If we can laugh together as we do it, even better.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia were a Supreme example of close friends who did not allow their disagreements to affect their relationship.

 

Whatever the election results, I don’t anticipate any of the current rancor to suddenly cease.  While we can hope that those we elect will lead us toward greater cooperation, this has not been true in recent years.  Perhaps you, like me, now regret having abdicated civic responsibility in previous years, leaving politics to the politicians.  Common decency has been hijacked, turned into wedge issues that are held hostage for political gain. Things are a mess right now, and the fractious obstinance displayed by our leaders (on both sides of the aisle) is a reflection of us. 

We must stop treating one another as enemies.   

Jesus said “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” (Luke 11:17)  Patrick Henry echoed these words, as did Abraham Lincoln.  It’s time to be reminded again that only American enemies gain anything by our division. There are those who advocate for another American civil war, who want to tear it all down and remake a country in their own image. Like before, they use inflammatory rhetoric, fear, even Scripture to justify their hatred for those whose differences offend them.

Did we learn nothing from the Crusades? from the Spanish Inquisition? These dark periods in church history emphasize a lesson we seem doomed to repeat – it’s not our job to force others to submit to our own convictions.  

Jesus taught us a better way. Love can conquer fear. Kindness can conquer hate. True spiritual fruit evokes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Obvious, perhaps, but not easy.  It feels risky to trust a person who you’ve been told wants to take advantage of you.  It feels riskier to trust someone who looks and sounds like the people who want to kill you.

 

We can make our country stronger together. Systemic change is not nearly as complicated as those in power want us to believe. Let’s follow Jesus’ lead.  He spoke the “house divided” words to religious leaders who accused Him of working with Satan. Instead of constantly trying to name the Antichrist and determine who’s in and who’s outside of God’s kingdom, what if we Christians worked together to do what Jesus did? What if we were encouragers instead of accusers?  What if we actually were known for our love, instead of for our judgmentalism and hypocrisy? 

We the people can choose to lead from behind.  We can show our elected officials that we will not support them with our votes until they prioritize the people Jesus prioritized. The people pushed to the margins of our society – the poor, the stranger, born and unborn children. If you identify as pro-life, your Congressional representatives need to understand we can’t make a society safe for babies until it is safe for the women who carry them. (thank you, Vanessa RyerseToo many of those representatives spout Bible verses to win your vote, and then endorse policies that are the opposite of what Jesus advocated.  

If you have not already voted, pray for God’s Spirit to give you discernment. Don’t assume ticking all Republican boxes is affirming God’s team.  Are you voting for your own security at the expense of others’? Are you voting for corporations to be enriched and single mothers to struggle, unable to afford childcare or healthcare? Do you fear corrections of social and racial inequality will mean you will have less?

Do you cross the Jericho road to avoid the victim, fearing inconvenience or being robbed yourself? Or are you the good Samaritan, taking care of a fellow human even if you disagree on religious issues?

If we only vote to protect people like us, as Jesus said , what credit is that to us? What will it cost us to give others what we want for ourselves? To give generously and graciously, trusting God to be our provider?

Do your elected representatives truly represent your values?   Do you represent Jesus’ values?

Daniel Dietrich sings it best in his “Hymn for the 81%”.

Come home.

 

 

One of the not-so-terrible things about this year’s isolation for me has been the brainspace.  Right now I have the time and space to consider if I’m living the kind of life I want to be living. I pause to note that I’m acutely aware how privileged I am; I realize very many people do not have the luxury of choice that I enjoy.  

 

However, the thinking to which I’m referring crosses the lines of privilege.  Everyone can ask themselves, “What do I like about my life?  What is working? What isn’t working?  What would I like to do / be / enjoy? What would have to change to see that happen?”

 

Every life contains challenges.  Every life has the potential to know joy.  While economics, systemic racism and social hierarchies dictate many challenges, only our souls can choose between bitterness and strength.  It would be easy at this point to acknowledge I know little of true suffering and therefore should slink away in shame for even having the audacity to speak.  Indeed, my finger remained poised above the delete key for quite a while.  After all, I’ve been poor but I’ve never been black and poor.  I’ve held loved ones’ lifeless bodies but never as the result of violent hatred.  I’ve known the utter darkness of clinical depression, my own body’s chemical imbalances and failing health but I’ve always had options in medical care. 

 

Comparing hardship is a battle no one wins.  However, sixty years on this planet has taught me a few things.  One is that every life matters. Not in the sense of the Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter controversy (BLM wins that one, hands down.)  I believe God has created each soul to learn and teach, grow and nurture, to depend on one another and live together, becoming more ourselves as we share with each other.  

 

We really do need each other.  As an extreme introvert, my appreciation for the peace of solitude would’ve made me a great monk.  But even monks live in community.  There are many worthy things we cannot achieve alone.  God invites us into the fellowship of the Trinity; it is an active, loving, ever-expanding fellowship.  

 

And, as C.S. Lewis wrote, Aslan is not a tame lion.  We cannot control God, just as we cannot control others.  Despite our (badly limited) ideas of perfection, we cannot make anyone in our own image (even ourselves). God made us in the image of the Trinity.  What that means exactly takes a lifetime of individual learning and communal working out.

 

For me, it has meant: I do not stand alone.  Perfection is the enemy of good.  Love is what you do. I deserve honor, as one lovingly woven by an attentive Creator.  And I am always a member of a larger body.  My marriage. My family. My social community. My city, state, nation. 

 

In the United States, as in many so-called “developed” nations, the emphasis on individualism has gradually eroded our sense of community.  “I, me and mine” have replaced “we, us and our.”  Many people in third-world communities recognize their lives depend on each other for survival.  I think we’ve lost something vital in our development.  Paul (from a less “civilized” society) compared the church to a body – when one member feels pain, all suffer.  Humanity is God’s body on earth; we all bear His image.  We are connected.  We feel one another’s pain, even if we refuse to acknowledge it.  We were created to be in community.  Unfortunately, in the American church, we continue to narrow our definition of “who is my neighbor?” 

 

In the following poll results, conducted by evangelical Christians, two things strike me:

  1. The evangelical Christianity in which I was raised reflects American individualism more than it reflects Jesus.
  2. Jesus’ words in Luke 6 – 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.

https://lifewayresearch.com/2020/09/29/most-evangelicals-choose-trump-over-biden-but-clear-divides exist/ fbclid=IwAR1QcI_eo_LkFw7oarmKIrue3n5jqAowqofXDsdvsAepWuVjiEsljmoLJko 

Compare how you believe Jesus would answer these questions to how today’s evangelicals answered them.

Still in the midst of reading Jesus and John Wayne, I can already highly recommend it. For those who have felt the flickers of cognitive dissonance between the words of Jesus and those of evangelical leaders, Kristin Kobes Du Mez does a wonderful job parsing both the history and practices of the white evangelical movement.  For people who can see so clearly the fallacy of Islamic extremists who take out of context a verse in the Qu’ran to “kill the infidels,” we are loath to look at our own extremism in “Christian nationalism” (was there ever a greater oxymoron?)

 

When one grows up with a distortion taught as intertwined with faith, it can be disorienting to see that distortion revealed.  It can feel like your very faith is being threatened. It can feel like you are tumbling in a continually-breaking surf and you can’t get a breath of air before the next wave hits.  A lot of people are having that experience this year.  

 

For me, it has been well over 15 years since that first tug began unraveling my faith.  That’s how it felt – unraveling.  Or perhaps threshing, with the chaff flying into the wind.  Recognizing one distortion led to another…and another…until it was just me and Jesus.  It has been a refiner’s fire experience – all the impurities being melted away until only pure gold remained.  There were a lot of impurities, a lot of manipulation masquerading as truth, a lot of my own self-interest being revealed.  The fire is still burning, especially this year as I’ve had to face my own apathy toward others’ suffering.  

 

At this point, however, I have to say I’ve never felt more free.  The burdens of guilt and shame, of feeling “never enough” are gone.  The impurities that had attached themselves to my faith through teachings on purity culture, Biblical patriarchy, family values, racist practices in fundamentalism, the re-branding of patriotism with faith, the self-segregating justification for Christian marketing — all these and more God has extracted, examined with me in love and tossed into the flames.  At times, I felt like there was nothing left.  I despaired that I had spent my life in dross.  But the things that have remained — faith, hope, love — are solid.  The fear is gone.  The doubt is gone.  I am no longer burdened by self-doubt or self-certainty; I have God-certainty.  If I get it wrong, I trust Him to set me right.  He is faithful that way.

If you are beginning this journey in exploring your own cognitive dissonance, know you are not alone.  There is freedom on the other side.  There is a stronger faith than you’ve ever known.  I think of my favorite allegory when I was a young Christian – Hind’s Feet on High Places. Much-Afraid had to take the hands of Sorrow and Suffering to reach her journey’s end.  Only there did she discover them to be Joy and Peace.  It is not easy to trust when it feels like everything you’ve always believed is being stripped away.  But if that still small voice is whispering to you, I encourage you to keep listening.  Don’t be afraid to see what’s behind the curtain.  Love is waiting there; a greater love than you’ve ever experienced.

     “Strike the rock, and water will come out of it,

              so that the people may drink.”

                                                                    —Exodus 17.6

Awful journey. Barren place. 

Deep thirst. Despair, looking back.

 

Imagining this is where the journey ends.

Dry rock. Hard place.

 

Yes, and this: there’s no water in it—yet.

But there will be, if you strike the rock.

 

You don’t have to believe. Just swing. It’s not

the rock. It’s God’s grace and your willingness:

 

not knowing, foolish as can be,

only trusting. Courage.

 

There will be water.

Strike the rock. 

Unfolding Light, September 25, 2020

 

This poem by Steve Garnaas-Holmes spoke to me today. It wasn’t the staff, or the rock, but Moses’ belief in God’s provision that God imbued with power.  

Years ago, I had the privilege to spend a few hours in that Israel wilderness, among those rocks.  Our guide said that with the extremely limited rainfall, the bedrock absorbs the moisture and stores it.  It was no less a miracle that God led Moses to the exact place of stored water (and I suspect some loaves-and-fishes multiplication was happening to provide enough water for all those people.)

 

In America right now, it feels like there is a dearth of faith, hope and love.  My friends at  Vote Common Good are striking rocks this month in the last leg of the bus tour they began in January. Today, as I listened to Vanessa Ryerse’s passionate speech (#votelikeamother), I was reminded that God has pockets of water in the bedrock throughout this nation.  These people don’t make a lot of headlines, but they have a fierce belief. They love with all that is in them.  They proclaim hope for us all because they trust that God’s promises are based on His character, not our behavior.

 

Hope might seem foolish right now, in the midst of grief, civil chaos, entrenched hatred.  But now is when we need hope.  Not a tenuous “I wish things were better.” Not a denial or avoidance of problems.  We need the solid hope Jesus provides.  The hope that sees things clearly, without hype or agenda.

 

A friend recently remarked how surprised she has been to see the depth of hatred expressed by people she has known for years to be pleasant and polite.  The permission, modeled by our president, to mock and ridicule others has unleashed public ugliness. “Has it always been there?” my friend wondered aloud. “That much animosity?”

I can remember eye-rolling comments about “political correctness” from my conservative friends in the past twenty years. They felt frustrated to not be able to say in public what they thought because it could be considered offensive.  

Not anymore.

 

Faith, hope and love are touchstones God has provided for us.  In such a time as this, we can base our actions and words on these criteria.  No human is perfect; we all have darkness within. But God has provided us all with the will to choose how to behave.  In every moment, we can choose.

 

As a country, will we choose four more years of ugliness? I think this presidential election will reveal the heart of our country.  It is no longer about just wanting change.  That is no longer a valid excuse; we know what to expect from this president.  It is not about stacking a conservative Supreme Court to overturn Roe. Despite what some evangelical leaders are saying, it is certainly not about choosing God’s side.  Jesus is not honored by this man. 

A Trump election, at its heart, is about protecting a system of exclusive power. Historically, Americans have divided themselves into separate classes using false constructs of race or ethnicity, affluence, etc..  Correction: the ones with the most power (usually rich white men) did the dividing.  The others knew the divisions were false, knew their inherent worth, knew that all people are created equal (even if the person writing that Declaration didn’t really believe it) because all carry God’s image.

 

The Lie started in colonial America because of greed (any surprise there?)  Because we didn’t learn from Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant.  In 1600’s America, persecuted Puritans and defeated royalists, still resentful from their own mistreatment, subsequently mistreated others.  Africans, captured from their villages, sold and stolen and sold again into an unknown world, didn’t know to insist on contracts like the white indentured servants from England.  The first indentured Africans worked frantically to buy out their freedom as they saw their human rights gradually, inexorably disintegrating.  It began with Africans being given harsher sentences than their fellow white servants for the same offense.  (sound familiar?)  Female Africans (but not white females) had to pay a tithe (tax) to the government that declared their children property.

African workers were in high demand for farming tobacco because, unlike the impoverished English city-bred immigrants, the Africans had field experience and a strong work ethic.   Plantation owners calculated with greed the advantage of lifetime indenture, soon turning the African ignorance of contract negotiation into slavery laws. Interracial marriage was banned, couples separated or driven from the colonies if they were already free.  The Lies – that Africans are less than human and that whites are created to rule over them – wormed their way into our legislation, our churches, our families, our entire social structure. 

From the beginning of American slavery, God’s name was invoked by the very people who cheated, abused and legislated to continue the abuse. God’s name was proclaimed, even used as a twisted missionary justification for enslavement.  It is a testament to the actual Truth of Jesus that Christianity could flourish in black culture given its introduction.

 

I am mortified when I hear Christian evangelists proclaim God’s judgement on America for its abortion practices and then stand silent or condemning of social justice issues.  Do they really believe God hears the cries of the unborn and does not hear 400 years of tears from black men, women and children?  Do they think God, who created beautiful Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery, did not hear their cries for help when they were being hunted down on suburban streets? If the blood of Cain’s brother cried out from the ground, how can the blood spilled on American streets fail to move our Father?

 

White American Christians — we who stand silently as families are separated, confused women are sterilized, black and brown lives are repeatedly abused and protesters are prosecuted while people who threaten deadly force are hailed as heroes — our silence is the rope we have taken to hang ourselves.  The hypocrisy is our own.  If we don’t repent now, when it is all so obvious, what excuse can we offer in a time of judgement? 

 We’d all like to believe we wouldn’t have participated in the egregious actions during colonial slavery or Nazi Germany. Some of those slave owners or German citizens wholeheartedly perpetrated those horrors, but I believe most were people like us.  People who suspected, perhaps even acknowledged, the wrong in their hearts but didn’t speak up.  Perhaps they didn’t want to encounter the censure of their neighbors; they didn’t want to become a target themselves.  Perhaps they felt powerless against the wave of certainty being proclaimed. Perhaps they wanted to believe their pastors and leaders who assured them it was God’s righteousness being manifested.  

I can’t imagine Jesus wielding a whip across a slave’s back.  I can’t imagine Jesus raising his fist to hail Hitler. And I can’t imagine Jesus waving a flag at a Trump rally.  

 

I write this with tears in my eyes because I don’t want to offend anyone, least of all my friends or family.  I don’t want to damage our relationship. But I cannot stay silent.

 

 As a nation, we are in transition. It is painful.  There is fear.  The fear mongering is stoked by a nationalist agenda, by alarmists claiming we must protect what we have or it will be torn from us.  Some white Americans panic at the thought of no longer being the majority, believing the stories that hoards of brown people are teeming outside our borders, scheming to overtake our country.  These stories have been designed to agitate and they accomplish their purpose.  In reality, the truth is the divisions between races and ethnicities are finally beginning to relax. Biracial and multiracial families are developing from once-separated Americans who have lived here for generations. The statistics of a surpassed white majority are simply reflecting those choices. All the white grandparents I know who dote on their little brown grandbabies do not fear those grandchildren.  They do fear what might happen to them in their own grandparents’ neighborhood. 

 

As a nation, our saving grace has been a policy of welcoming refugees (even if we do take advantage of their labor when they get here.)  This year I discovered my Angolan (many greats-) grandmother had been in Virginia for almost 20 years when she welcomed my Cornish (many greats-) grandfather in 1637.  They met when he was indentured on the plantation where she worked. The African woman and blonde, blue-eyed Englishman lived on the property she had earned with her freedom from extended indenture. They continued working on the plantation to earn their children’s freedom as well.  I got the blonde hair and blue eyes and until this year, never hesitated to check “white” on survey boxes.  Today I wonder about my relatives who retained more melanin in their skin.  After 400 years, there must be a lot of us. And I have a pretty good idea of how our lives have diverged.

Learning this history has helped my perspective this year. I stand a little taller, knowing I’m as American as it gets. Before the Mayflower, my grandmother was here. Black, white and native American, my tri-racial ancestors have fought for our freedom in every American conflict from the American Revolution to Vietnam.  One grandfather fought under Washington, was at Valley Forge that winter. All this history has reminded me that although the battles between men continue, Jesus has won the real war. Jesus has defeated death.  Jesus has defeated fear and hatred through faith, hope and love.  

 

Jesus has bedrock people across this nation. People who have not been swayed by Fox News, by Russian subversion; people who may just be beginning to question The Lies.  Some people are turning to Him in the midst of the current chaos and comparing what Jesus says to what others in their churches may be saying.  Some people have been fighting these battles for years; they are weary and can use some encouragement today.  

 

This morning, Jesus let me taste some of that rock water.  I was feeling discouraged, grieving death and personal loss. I was also feeling deeply the sadness of having people I love clinging to the lies we all used to share, not yet recognizing them as lies. The mental gymnastics necessary to justify mistreatment of asylum seekers reminds me of the twisted missionary approach to slavery.   

But today, I listened to others coming out of the desert.  I listened to people who are experiencing relief in their discovery that being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to vote Republican all down the ballot.  People who admit to that disconnect in their spirit every time Trump speaks. 

Today, Jesus reminded me He has bedrock people everywhere and no election results will change that.  Truth stands, whether it’s among slaves on a plantation or in a nation that has abandoned its call to kindness.  Truth stands with Jesus.  It is not the property of any political party or any church. Truth can be twisted, counterfeited, even crucified,  but it will get back up and stand with Jesus.

That, my friends, is hope.  That is solid rock water.