If you have ever weaned off any kind of SSRI (Lexapro, Prozac, etc.), you’re familiar with the body “shocks” that occur. They are unpredictable and incredibly uncomfortable; like an out-of-body experience that lasts .3 seconds. Eventually, the shocks fade and the body finds its balance. The time it takes to find balance, though, can feel defeating and a little confusing. But you also know your body is figuring itself out, and you have to trust that.
Right now, I feel like the Church is in this process. For far too long, we have been wrapped in the palms of capitalism and its effects (wealth, power, individual recognition, to name a few), and now it’s time to be weaned off. The Church is in the crux of what could be incredible healing, but we first have to face the damage of what surrounds us.
Based off the Pew Research Poll, I think Jen Hatmaker is on the right path in calling for us to “burn everything down.” Really, all of it has been on fire for some time. We are just now waking up to the smoke and the shocks. It is time we recognize our own roles in what we have allowed to play out within the Church:
- Implicit and Explicit Racism
- White Privilege
- Sexual Assault/Harassment
- Obsession: Power, Recognition, Money
- Avoidance of Politics
- Embrace and Affirmation of the LGBTQ+ Community
- Seeker-friendly > Depth
- Refugee Crisis
These are only a few on the top of my head. When we begin to acknowledge these can no longer be ignored, we wake up to realize:
- White folks don’t have ownership of Christianity.
- White privilege exists both on the pulpit/stage and in the room.
- Women and children cannot and will no longer be silenced.
- We went to the mountain and took the bait from the Devil himself when asked if we wanted it all — Power, Recognition, Money — if we just follow him.
- “Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics.” – Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle. Hiding behind the veil of “do and say nothing” will fail you and your congregation.
- Our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, who sought to have wounds healed, only had them opened further.
- Seeker-friendly churches cultivate “me-focused” mentalities and rarely understand what it means to Love God and Love Others in a tangible way.
- The Refugee Crisis: Please see above.
My hunch is this does not surprise anyone who has belonged to a church or denomination that is already doing these things. Or, at the very least, a part of a marginalized community.
If you can’t tell, Jen basically preached on Twitter, and I was in the audience. Again, she has a point. Where do we even start? First, asking for forgiveness. Lamenting yours and my role in this, and asking the Spirit to awaken us. Then, we need to really open our eyes and ears to who we are listening to, what we are reading, and how we are actively engaging in our communities. Healing begins here.
Burning it all down can look like the above … or like an episode of The Handmaids Tale. That’s up to you and me. Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, there are those who are already in the middle of the flames and are not going to wait. And we shouldn’t expect them to; they’re living out the Gospel firsthand.