A Christian Response to Violence Celebrated


My sister sharing her prophetic voice in an evil world. (Full text follows):

Osama Bin Laden is dead and Americans danced in the streets. In the days that followed the announcement this week, I felt myself horrified by the responses of my fellow Americans. We celebrated, even reveled, in the death of another human being. There is no doubt that Bin Laden made some terrible choices that did violence to others, shattered lives and families, and fundamentally changed our lives. We are all his victims, to be sure. But what he did in no way absolves of the choices we have made in the face of his murder. Our violence is not justified because of his. Our means to the end is not justified by his means. And yet, we celebrated in the streets.

Ty and I came to the conclusion last night that we are in the minority. Our views that what we did was wrong and our grief over his murder is not a popular position. However, anytime I find myself following the lead of what is knee jerk or popular, I question whether I am really following Jesus’ subversive and status quo shattering message of peace and shalom. There is no doubt that Bin Laden should be held accountable. He should be confronted with the consequences of his actions. However, we have bypassed the opportunity for accountability by embracing murder. It was a cowardly move. Yes, I said it. We are all cowards. Now no victim of his actions will get to look him in the eye, share their grief and hear the answer to the question that haunts most victims of violence — “WHY.” In turn, Bin Laden will never have the chance for repentance or remorse. He will not be given the space to answer for his choices or to share his answer to the question — “WHY.” The opportunity for repentance and restoration have been taken. The opportunity for closure has been robbed.

How far must we be immersed in the theology of retributive violence to celebrate when a human life is taken? Where is their room for Christ’s call for restorative justice? Why do we feel no tug at our hearts when we read Matthew 5 in this context? This is not over — we have assured that there is no restoration here and like Christ said, those who live by the sword, die by the sword. We will reap what we have sown this week. We have not claimed victory over terror — we have conceded to it.  And I find no joy in the fact that the cycle of violence continues.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.