Editor’s Note: as we have been awaiting an answer to the question of who will become our next president, we have asked a number of key voices to offer brief reflections and reactions to our national election this week. Today, our final entry in this series is from Lisa Rodriguez-Watson, national director of Missio Alliance.
We’ve made it to the end of election week. Current indications point to the strong possibility of our having made it to the end of the Trump presidency as well. How peaceful the transition of power may or may not be remains to be seen. But what is certain is that these last four years have been long and hard. We’ve witnessed the devolving of our society and a stark decrease in civility. We’ve seen a rise in polarization like no other time in recent history. We’ve experienced the insidious effects of rampant and pervasive white supremacy. All of this troubles me. However, what troubles me most is that I see these realities mirrored in the church.
If the church is rise to her calling and be her truest self, the result will be that Christians will recognize the real, everyday, in-the-trenches work ahead of us. We cannot simply relegate our values to the government via the voting booth and wash our hands of responsibility. To be sure, voting is important. However, it is the inception of the work, not the consummation of it.Voting is important. However, it is the inception of the work, not the consummation of it. Click To Tweet
The work ahead will require a steadfast commitment to healing and reparation, both of which are predicated on personal and communal repentance. Without an unwavering dependence on the Holy Spirit, this work will be shallow and short-lived. We must continue to pursue justice no matter how costly. It will cost time; it will cost money; it will cost personal comfort and ease of relationships. It will be messy. It will make us tired, but it will be the good kind of tired. You may already be tired, as am I, but perhaps we need to be tired about new and better things:
I’m tired of lazy theology that leads to single-issue voting.
I’m tired of pro-life rhetoric being limited to pro-birth definitions.
I’m tired of Christians claiming that it’s the church’s role, rather than the government’s, to care for the poor, widow, immigrant, and the orphan, but then employing toxic charity models for addressing long-term needs with short-term solutions. It is the role of the government and the church to care for the common good of all the people and to care for those on the margins with special attention.
I’m tired of Christians who want to “reach the nations” but who really only want to reach those who live in faraway places, rather than truly being open to welcoming new immigrants and “the nations” that already live here.
I’m tired of the relentless racism and colonization that holds our churches, our theology, and society captive.
I’m tired, but I’m not giving up.
The counting continues, but we will in all likelihood see a new president in the White House for the next four years. That change would be very welcome.
What doesn’t change is the work that is ahead in holding our politicians accountable for using their power to do justice and care for the common good.We will see a new president in the White House for the next four years...What doesn’t change is the work that is ahead in holding our politicians accountable for using their power to do justice and care for the common good. Click To Tweet
What doesn’t change is how we pursue justice and righteousness in loving God and loving our neighbor each and every day.
What doesn’t change is the call to love our enemy and hold in tension what the pursuit of justice and righteousness means in light of that call.
What doesn’t change is the role of the church to live in light of the kingdom that has come and is coming, that is ushering in the renewal of all things. The strategies will be different if we have a Biden presidency, but the work is ahead of us one way or the other.
May we faithfully do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
Missio Alliance Comment Policy
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. From our Leading Voices to our regular Writing Team and those invited to publish with us as Community Voices, we are creating a space for thoughtful engagement of critical issues and questions facing the North American Church in God’s mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles.
Unfortunately, because of the relational distance introduced by online communication, “thoughtful engagement” and “comment sections” seldom go hand in hand. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse. As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:
1. Seek to understand the author’s intent.
If you disagree with something the an author said, consider framing your response as, “I hear you as saying _________. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, here’s why I disagree. _____________.
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We deeply desire and value the voice and perspective of our readers. However you may react to an article we publish or a fellow commenter, we encourage you to set forth that reaction is the most constructive way possible. Use your voice and perspective to move conversation forward rather than shut it down.
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One of our favorite tenants is that “an enemy is someone whose story we haven’t heard.” Very often disagreements and rants are the result of people talking past rather than to one another. Everyone’s perspective is intimately bound up with their own stories – their contexts and experiences. We encourage you to couch your comments in whatever aspect of your own story might help others understand where you are coming from.
In view of those suggestions for shaping conversation on our site and in an effort to curate a hospitable space of open conversation, Missio Alliance may delete comments and/or ban users who show no regard for constructive engagement, especially those whose comments are easily construed as trolling, threatening, or abusive.