A Nation Waits: What Faithfulness Looks Like

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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 José Humphreys, pastor of Metro Hope Covenant Church.

“What’s next for our nation?”

As a citizen of this great country that I love, I write with great sobriety knowing how for many BIPOC, our ballot fell into two spheres of choice. For one, in Joe Biden, we settle for the status quo—and for the exhausted, civility and decency would go a long way right now. A move in this direction would perhaps give large portions of America a chance to catch their collective breath.

In contrast, a vote for Donald Trump represents more chaos, division, and discord fomented daily; democracy lit aflame with Twitter with an enabling Congress served as the wick. Howard Thurman once wrote, “Ill will, when dramatized in a human being, becomes hatred walking on the earth.” Theologically, Thurman was also highlighting the inverse of the incarnation of Christ, how Christ moved through the world in very distinct ways than our current leader, always having a concern for those whose backs were against the wall.

I confess I would right now settle for some romantic return to decency and respectability, as love is perhaps too high a bar for our country and our politics. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. soberly wrote one time from a Birmingham jail, “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that is pretty important.”

I confess I would right now settle for some romantic return to decency and respectability, as love is perhaps too high a bar for our country and our politics. Click To Tweet

But Dr. King’s bar for the church was always higher than it was for the country. Therefore the church cannot settle for some ethereal form of American Christianity that is disembodied from the world or sentimental in its approaches. Meaning, we can no longer settle for a gospel in which Jesus somehow comes into “people’s hearts.” Meanwhile, these hearts, for centuries, continue to inherit a racialized faith that will continually stymie any path toward being a reconciled, beloved community.

We can no longer settle for a gospel that is still enamored with cowboys conquering new frontiers, without following the Spirit into humbly joining us to others for a radical re-imagination of what being in communion looks like. Rather, we need a gospel that will lead us to pray with our feet and follow Christ into places of disinheritance, where Christ’s shalom can reign and repair the breaches only the kin-dom of Christ can.

The gift of Trump is that many of us cannot unsee what we have seen over the last four years. It has truly been for many of us, who have eyes to see, an apocalyptic unveiling. The question for the church is what does faithfulness look like in a world where we cannot unsee what we have seen?

And yet the gates of ill will shall not prevail over the church.

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