Do you hear that?
It’s a thunderclap of emotion, a seismic reverberation of anger and sadness that beats like a holy staff on sacred ground. It’s a Christian cattle call in divided lines, a warfront on either side of the parted Red Sea. It’s a tongue lashing and burning, spitting fire in the name of the Most High, name-dropping Old Testament verses without context to affirm bigoted, anti-Jesus rhetoric. It’s hate, dripping from our pores like venom, eager to blame everyone but ourselves for the plights in which we live.
It’s Christianity in America.
And it doesn’t just need an alignment. It needs a full-on shattering and rebuilding — a demolition and a resurrection.
Instead, what we have are emotional tirades from people all across the Christian spectrum. Tirades that trivialize human tragedy for the sake of personal and political agendas. Tirades that berate and demoralize anyone who interprets Scripture differently, as if the Bible is a concrete list of if/then statements.
“You’re not a Christian if…”
“You’re going to hell if…”
“We love you but not your lifestyle…”
We should be ashamed of ourselves.
Much of the blame for Christian division falls on human emotional response. We’re quick-triggered. It’s natural to lament the atrocities we have recently been faced with: the Orlando shootings; the Brock Turner rape case (which should have become as landmark as Roe v. Wade); the rampant shootings in public schools, churches, movie theaters; white cops who shoot unarmed black kids and return to work unscathed; ISIS; the ritualistic beheading of Syrian and Ethiopian Christians; racism that hearkens back to the Prohibition era. The list goes on and on.
Human atrocities masked as pop culture phenomenon. Social media soapboxes. Rainmakers for the likes of Buzzfeed and Headline News.
We need to stop the hate.
We need to stop grieving for things that are still very much alive.
Grief is an emotional byproduct of things once beloved that no longer exist. It doesn’t matter if they were tangible or abstract. The only requirement for grief is absence. So if we grieve something abstract, like sociocultural fallacies, then we assume the preexistence of sociocultural truths.
These assumptions are dangerous and dead wrong.
If we grieve over the pervasiveness and prevalence of American ‘rape culture’, then we must assume American culture was once devoid of rape. If we grieve over terrorism, then we must assume that peace once reigned. And if we grieve over injustice and hatred toward minority groups, then we must assume that America once embraced equality without condition.
No one is foolish enough to believe any of these to be true.
This is why we cannot yet grieve.
This is why we must continue to fight.
This is why we must stand firm as one collective body of Christ and reject the notion that this world is beyond repair. This is why we need to shoulder our share of the blame for how things have come to be and make unified efforts to love as Jesus called us to love. It doesn’t matter what ignites the fire, just that something provides the spark to start the burn.
So fight back. Send letters. Sign petitions. Start rallies. Do something.
A world predicated on hatred and injustice is a world absent of love. But a world predicated on love blossoms with righteousness.
Christianity isn’t a club. It’s a way of life.
Imagine a society where Christians banded together to fight injustice instead of bickering about Biblical interpretations. Imagine a society where Christians loved unconditionally instead of judging the fates of others. Imagine a society where the Evangelical right and Progressive left broke free from the shackles of labels and just called themselves ‘Christians’ – no more, no less. Imagine a society where Christians hoisted their individual crosses for the collective good instead of the pride of being right.