Culture

A Nation Waits: It’s Time to Name the Context

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Editor’s Note: as we all await an answer to the question of who will become our next president, we have asked a number of key voices to offer brief day-after reflections and reactions, which we will release throughout the day. The entry that follows comes from Leeann Younger, pastor of Cityview Church in Pittsburgh, PA.


We don’t know who won the election last night.

But we do know who lost. It’s the same group of people who have been on the losing end of the American story since colonization. For the last four years, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color have endured an aggressive devaluing of our humanity through policies (remember the immigrant children taken from their parents?) and outright verbal assault from the President’s bully pulpit (remember “kung flu”?).

As a Black woman, I am acutely aware of what it means to live life in a body marked for membership in America’s designated losers club. Our deep polarization, represented in the reds and blues of the electoral map, isn’t simply a disagreement over theoretical ideals. Some of us woke up today with an understanding that at least half of our neighbors gave a “thumbs up” to the pain we’ve experienced over the last four years. We have always historically been physically and emotionally vulnerable to the whims of injustice, and last night was a nationally-televised reminder.

What is the role of a spiritual leader when those who live with these vulnerabilities, and those who don’t, show up in the same congregation? The time for slushy sermons, rooted in the “theology of both sides,” is past. Dare I say it was always a dead end?

The time for slushy sermons, rooted in the “theology of both sides,” is past. Dare I say it was always a dead end? Click To Tweet

The prophetic traditions of Amos and Jeremiah, and of course, Jesus, call us to courage. We must name our idols and bring them out from the cloak of social acceptability we’ve been using to convince ourselves of our own righteousness. We cannot truly live life “on Earth as it is in heaven” while our imaginations remain captive to a truncated, gospel-lite story that teaches us to abandon our neighbors to their own self-sufficiency while we protect our 401Ks, cling to our sanitized vision of the nation we call home, and believe that a president (regardless of who wins) can heal our troubled world.

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