Donald Trump may have lost the election, but it looks like Trumpism is here to stay. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a well-defined ideology characterized by nativism, white supremacy, and conspiracy theories, embraced by American Evangelical leaders.
Our journey together ended with a question: What is the connection between the small acts of neighborly love that most Christians don’t think twice about in our everyday lives—stopping by the road to help a stranded traveler, stocking the local food pantry, helping an elderly neighbor take out her trash—and the larger, necessary acts of love that look like public policy?
We need a more robust theology of a God who suffers with us—who was born on the margins and executed on the cross, who knows what it feels like to say “I can’t breathe”—as thousands of folks are saying throughout the streets of America. God is with us.
The conspiracy theory maintains the fear that fuels white supremacy. It grants power to those who have craved it all their lives. It maintains power for those who had always had it. It protects money. It creates divisions. It discourages investigation. It denies that all people were created in the Image of God. It gives people permission to believe in ungodly means to a possible God-endorsed end. Even though Jesus himself reminded his followers that demonic forces do not promote God’s goodness.
I continue to be challenged by the ongoing need for reconstruction, for the building of a society not based on the evils of systemic racism and environmental degradation; it’s big, overdue work. I feel helpless and lost, I am not sure how to help. It’s a lot, and I am discouraged and overwhelmed. Yet, I am singing.
These days, my emotions are not a reliable source. They are up and down and back and forth and all over the place, telling me stories and lies and leading me down all sorts of rabbit holes. I don’t need emotional authenticity—I need something solid. I need a touchstone to ground me. I don’t need high-energy, emotional worship; I need liturgy.
But this little plot of land, where my son swings from oak branches beside the bayou . . . where we make mashed potatoes for three instead of twenty-three . . . where I call home . . . is much more than just a settler's trophy. We live in Caddo territory, or so it was before the Treaty of Cession of 1835.
Calls to use sensible public health measures to stop the spread of COVID are not persecution, they are simply measures to protect our society and those around us. If we cast any infringement on our religious life as persecution, we do a disservice to the Gospel, and to those around us.