For a number of years now, I have been on a spiritual and emotional journey of learning what I was never taught about racism by building personal relationships with African American pastors in my town and about “liberalism” by listening to people tell me what they think, why they think it, and what they’ve been through in their lives. As a result when 2020 came around, I was seeing many things in my life through completely different lenses than many of my peers or many people in my congregation, but nothing could have prepared me for the combination of factors that 2020 brought into our world. Pandemic, protests, and politics combined to give me a new passion for the potential of the church. I was thrilled that the church was getting an opportunity to show itself for what it truly is, a self-sacrificial family that imitates Christ and loves others.
But when I started trying to call my fellow Christians to live out that Christ-imitating life, I found myself alone. It wasn’t the isolation of COVID lockdowns, it was the abandonment of people who thought I had become too “political” for them. I feel the pain and loss of that abandonment to this day.
But for the past two years, I’ve been trying to decipher what it all means. I’ve been trying to figure out why I have been of such a different mind from people I used to have unity with. I’ve been trying to figure out what is at the core of our belief systems and experiences that moved me to new ways of thinking but hardened them in their old ways of thinking. I’ve been wrestling with the burden of thinking I’m right and they are wrong while also understanding how arrogant that must sound to them and others.
Through years of introspection, Scripture reading, book reading, conversations with people who agree and others who disagree, and prayer, I’ve written down seven chapters and an introduction of my thoughts on the matter. Part catharsis, part confusion, this book is mostly my first attempt at bringing some important issues to the surface so that I can figure out a better way of expressing them and so that I might possibly have some influence on others who need to hear them, and also so that I might be challenged by people who disagree with them.
I have no idea if this book is valuable or not. I have no idea if I’m the person to write such a book as this or not. I don’t even know if I’m right in my assessment of these issues or not. I just know I can’t handle seeing the church I love go down a path I can’t follow, and I need to talk about it somehow.
And so… I offer it here. One section per week. Posted to this blog. And maybe published at the end. May God do with it whatever is best.