taking the words of Jesus seriously

The revolution of love is the work of creatives.

We were born for this. To be way-makers, to imagine streams in the deserts, to subvert the narrative and disarm the violent with beauty that humanizes and empowers. The prophetic artists are the ones willing to look longer and figure out how to get others to look longer. They are the ones who believe in another world so much so that they’re willing to bring it into being. They know the arch of the creative process is long, but it points toward connection and liberation. A good artist trusts the chaos to not be the end.

Who do we need when children are in cages at the boarders? Among others, we need people who create giant photographs of kids looking over the wall and seesaws joining two worlds. Who do we need when another Black life is stolen from us because melanin is still criminalized? Among others, we need the hymn writers who tell us to not look away. Who do we need when women still walk to their cars with their keys between their knuckles and the assaults of politicians are ignored? Among others, we need the storytellers to figure out a new way of how to say me too. Who do we need when disease infects our entire world? Among others, need someone, somewhere to start a song outside their window.

There is nothing gratuitous about the arts right now. They are not added, they are essential—like spirituals in the hell of cotton fields, anti-war songs of the 60s, AIDS blankets and inner city murals and poetry that says what everybody’s tired souls are feeling. We need the people who don’t trust the boxes they were told to stay in, the ones who do not care that it’s not been done before. We need people whose medium is hope.

That’s why Red Letter Christians has deemed it essential to prioritize the organization and amplification of the artists and musicians working at the intersection of Jesus and Justice. If that’s you, you’re needed. Here are a few things we’ve got underway:

READ: The Coalition for Praise and Protest Statement

1. If you haven’t seen our Red Letter Christians Artists and Musicians Collective page yet, give it a look! And if you know of someone who should be there but isn’t, let us know.

2. We are in the process of creating an RLC Songs for the Revolution playlist on Spotify! Check back in for updates. And in the meantime, go listen to the Praise and Protest playlist created by our friends at Common Hymnal!

3. Lastly, TODAY we’re launching what we’re calling an Inclusive Hymn Rewrite challenge. It’s simple. We’re inviting folx to take September and October to consider open-source hymns/worship songs/spirituals that don’t make as much room for as many of God’s people or God’s dreams as is possible in God’s Kin-dom. Rewrite them to be more inclusive, record yourself sharing the rewrite, and tag @ redletterchristians with the hashtag #MakeMusicMakeRoom by Nov 1. We look forward to sharing widely the pieces to both promote your good work as well as resource faith communities with music that speaks to Good News for all people. This challenge is open to everyone and not limited to the collective. (Holiday hymns welcomed, especially since this is likely to be a weary and charged Advent season.)

This is the time. This is the movement. You are the ones, and this is the work. Can’t wait to see what we create together.

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