Classes, Current Events, Lament

When Church Colludes with Empire, Take a Walk

If you read the post I wrote the day after January 6, 2021 (that would have been January 7, 2021), you may have caught me when I said, For better or for worse…I am a White Jesus-lover who, until yesterday, was not ready to relinquish the term evangelical to those who are bent on twisting it beyond recognition.

I’m pretty sure I have at least one post in me regarding labels, and another one regarding grief around the Current State of Affairs in the Less and Less United States of America, but neither of those are this one. I just want to point out that when it comes to ditching the label Evangelical, I’m late to the party. Part of that is because I’m stubborn, and in my case although I hold my theological convictions much differently as I push fifty than I did in my thirties or even early forties, I feel like it was more that the label’s meaning changed than that mine did.

But the fact is, lots of people have been jettisoning the term evangelical for a good long time now, whether they moved or it did. Some are throwing out baby Jesus with the bathwater, but a lot more, it seems to me, are struggling to find Him and hang onto Him in a sea of really grimy suds which are at least obscuring and confusing, and at worst deadly toxic. The time is coming and is probably now here when there must be a day of reckoning for the sins of Empire in the Church which include but are not limited to racism and in this particular iteration, specifically White supremacy.

But I’d just like to throw out the possibility that historically Church colludes with Empire most when a robust sense of spiritual formation–of engaging with the triune God with openness to transformation by the Spirit into the likeness of Jesus Christ–is missing, ignored, or unheard of. Which, in turn I suspect, happens when power and expediency become more important that Christ Himself. I believe there are always pockets of real spiritual formation happening in all streams of the Church (otherwise the Church would never have survived this long), but it is by nature not grandiose, not flashy, not expedient. It’s not surprising so many people stare blankly when they hear the term, since the process itself is so quiet, gradual, and unassuming–sort of like a mustard seed growing, or yeast rising, or…taking a walk.

So I’d like to invite you to take The Walk with me. I’m 100% certain Jesus has already invited you to take the real Walk with Him. The one I’m inviting you to is more of a reflection on that one, I guess–an 8-week real-time zoom course intended to provide some spiritual formation context for what might actually be happening, and where we might go next, if we’re feeling spiritually adrift or homeless. Many of us are. Many of us also feel a deep loss of community right now. It can be helpful to join a few other companions on the journey, at least for this particular bend in the road. The next round of The Walk starts on April 21. It’s not too late to join us on the road. May we find Jesus there and discover He’s been with us all along. He is the Way, after all. And He is our true Home.

2 thoughts on “When Church Colludes with Empire, Take a Walk”

  1. Good post. Here is an article that you may have seen (MAM posted it). It is really good (and really distressing), written by a Wheaton grad and a good friend of MAM’s (her Mom was Shelley’s roommate at Wheaton). So hard to know where we fit in anymore…. Except to keep trying to look like Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

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