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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Permission to get off of the crazy train

I say it all the time, and it’s still just as true – I process through writing. I don’t think I have anything to say that hasn’t already been said (probably more eloquently), but for my own sanity I write, and I share my words on the off chance that they may help someone else.
This election has given me plenty to process. I am grieving, and I know many people think that is silly, but it’s my emotion and I don’t have to repress it. Yes, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to celebrate the election of our first woman as president. My daughter was so excited to see Hillary become president, and now we know that it will be at least four years before another woman has the chance.
More than that, I’m grieving my faith in humanity a little. (Melodramatic much there, Sarah?) When we continually heard hate speech coming from his campaign, I wasn’t surprised. When he found supporters, I wasn’t surprised. When he received just under half of the popular vote, and an estimated 80% of the evangelical vote, I was flabbergasted. I know that fear and ignorance fueled hate exist. I know that some people voted Republican for their own, reasonable reasons. I still cannot and will never approve of a candidate whose words condone and inspire discrimination, shame, and outright hatred.* Vulnerable people woke up truly afraid on the morning of November 9th, and I am grieving.
However, I am realizing something else this week. My husband and I have spent the last few years doing some major upheaving in our family, faith, lives and careers. As a result, we have found ourselves in a phenomenal group of people. Do we all agree about this election? Nope. But we respect one another. The conversations I’ve been having (in person, I avoid political conversations on social media) have shown me that love is the ruling factor for my faith family here. We didn’t vote to protect ourselves, we didn’t vote for the candidate we thought would make our lives easier. We voted for the candidate that we felt would best advocate for our values. For some, that meant Trump because he said he was against abortion, and they love children. I get that. I disagree with single issue voting, but I get it. For others, and I’ll admit it was the majority of us, we felt that Hillary was a better candidate for the well-being of the vulnerable people groups that we encounter on the daily basis – racial minorities, single parents, immigrants, and more. My people are the best people. Maybe this is why I have been so shocked by the general public during this campaign. I love my peers.
Another thing, perhaps the most important thing I’m realizing is this – there are a lot of people in this country right now who feel like faith orphans. The Church they have served, the faith they have loved, is looking less and less like Christ. As a seminary student and minister of the gospel, I feel an obligation to you to tell you this – you are not alone. You may feel homeless right now. You may be doubting your own faith. Let me tell you this – you have options. Somewhere along the way, the mainstream evangelical Church lost its way, but we are not all married to the Republican party. We are not all fueled by a desire to defend our own rights. When we read scripture, we have eyes to see a God who prioritizes justice, and a Christ who consistently validated the “untouchables” in society. We recognize our responsibility as stewards of this earth, and we value life. All life, not just the unborn. This means devoting ourselves to living simply, to sharing our extra with the under resourced, and using our voices to speak up for the silenced. You have permission to get off of that crazy train and you are invited to explore your faith in freedom. There are more of us out here than you realize.
I’m not writing to change anyone’s mind. I’m not looking to debate with anyone, but if you are genuinely interested in hearing more about this radically beautiful faith, please don’t hesitate to contact me privately. I can point you to some great authors, speakers, churches and organizations that I’ve found all over the country.

* I will, however, from this point onward, do my best to show respect for our new president and behave in a way that unifies, instead of divides. Please allow me this one final lament.

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