I can’t imagine the tension you feel right now. So many of lead congregations that reflect our current society. Please know we are with you and what I think most of us need today is you being vulnerable courageously you…the human you.
If you’ve known me, you know I’ve spent the better part of my career seeking to bring disparate sides together: to bridge the gaps in relationships with self, partners, parents, community, and God. Common Ground could be my middle name. Or at least it was. So I write this with both empathy and my own reckoning and awakening.
Before you begin striving for quick unity in your congregation and in our nation, please take a moment to pause and ponder your intention. I do not mean to suggest that unity is not important. But I believe cotton candy unity could actually separate us further rather than bringing us together.
For some, there is dancing in the streets and relief. A sense that God’s will has prevailed and a highway will be made in this desert. For others, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. A belief that evil has triumphed with disbelief in this process and complete mistrust in the two people elected. At this moment, we’re not just talking about policy or political statements. We are talking about the very foundations here. Mistrust in the very foundation.
Although common ground remains my deepest desire and long-term vision, I fear our motivation to create unity springs more from anxiety that the call of the Spirit. I also fear that striving for faux unity or faux love may actually further polarize and perpetuate the problem. Perhaps the only thing ‘we’ can agree on is that we are a deeply divided ‘we.’ In fact, perhaps the pronoun ‘we’ needs to be utilized lightly. As much as it pains me to write this sentence, the space between us is seismic.
Before bridging anything, simply honoring and accepting this reality is important. As you lead in the coming weeks, know that I am lamenting and grieving so much right now, and I don’t expect you to fix it or solve. I simply seek being witnessed and affirmed in where I am–to have my grief honored. I am ok to hear your grief. To hear your lament, your heartbreak, your confusion. I can hear you wrestling with God, with God’s will, with the challenge of living and leading in the liminal space of 2020. What I can’t hear is pat answers with theological jargon or buzz words, patronizing “there-there’s” or self-righteous proclamation.
May the Spirit Bless, Guide you and Protect you in the coming weeks,