Dear alumni/ae and friends,
I have grown weary of listening to excuses and rationales for creating and maintaining silos for our existence that only encourage sideshows of annihilation or promote faith statements that are useless in bringing in the kingdom, the realm, the kindom of God. I discovered years ago that the new Jerusalem is not ushered in by compartmentalized people who disdain one another and think they are the only ones who hold the market on righteousness.
A full-bodied faith knows how to critique suspect calls for unity that fail to do the hard work of living into our differences, move an image of salvation into place in the midst of despair, plot rebellion against the outrageous and dangerous public policies of insult and belittlement. A robust faith is dangerous because it does not mind reading the times and calling out injustice, suspect spirituality, and dubious intellectual gibberish—and we don’t teach our students how to reproduce these forms of false witness in their lives and ministries. It’s simply not good to live our lives in shreds if we can help it. We need each other to help make this world a better place.
The alarming amount of hate speech that is seen as normal or a First Amendment right bends like a demonic Slinky toy into far too many of our daily interactions. And I have been trying to understand this kind of hatred since I was a little girl. I could not (and still can’t) understand why anyone would hate me or anyone because of the color of their skin, the region of the country I come from, who I love, or my gender. And it made absolutely no sense to me that if you said you were a Christian, that you could also belong to any hate group. The two just didn’t (and don’t) go together. Yet, here we are. It feels as though hatred has become an acceptable synonym for patriotism and neglecting to welcome the stranger at the gate by building walls and calling up troops is now considered a sign of God’s grace and mercy.
This must not be the fast that we choose.