On Fighting

Of late, I have heard a number of people talking about Canada. I love Canada as much as the next American from a cold-winter state, but the most recent discussion regards moving there due to the state of our presidential election cycle. I’ll admit, I was one of those people that started to think about packing a bag when Trump started his landslide toward the Republican nomination. However, I came to a realization: that sentiment was short-sighted and selfish.

I turned thirty last weekend and I have been thinking a lot about my values, those I want to fully realize in the next thirty years and those I want to renew during that time. Part of my movement toward whole-life simplicity this year has forced me to read authors that challenge and strengthen these values. In C.S. Lewis’ sermons, The Weight of Glory and Learning in War-Time, he often alludes to the fact that we, as conscientious Christians, must be vigilant and stand for what we believe. We do these things not to glorify ourselves but to glorify God through our actions.

The movements of Bernie Sanders and DeRay McKesson, among others, are fantastic and necessary, but they are not enough if others, even their followers, are too timid to join the fight. I use the word timid not only to express fear, but the current climates of complacency and distaste for stepping outside our comfort zones. Often, Christians are just as bad about standing up for what they believe in as anyone else, perhaps more so. What does it tell you about the American church when the current frontrunner of the Republican party can basically spit on the teachings of Jesus and get applause from a predominantly Christian crowd? In short, nothing good.

Thankfully, there are many ways in which people can join the fight; you can donate money or volunteer time, of course, but no matter what donate your mindshare to the right causes. It is just as important to stand for housing equality and living wages as it is to fight against bigotry and idiocy. Don’t just tell your family and friends that you are angry about something; be the change you want to see in the world. What is the social epidemic in your home town? Are you doing anything about it? Voting for the president is important, but no matter who is in office, those problems will exist.

What type of person would I be, let alone a conscientious Christian, if I decided to leave America due to a single election? What would that convey to others who are not fortunate enough to have the option? We all need to stand together and fight for each other, fight for our collective and individual rights, and fight against the status quo.

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.