The last couple of weeks have been kind of intense, a rollercoaster of emotions. Now we are witnessing the backlash. Those who see their worlds crumbling with the removal of symbols of racism and the elation of others as they take a step toward equality are determined to fight back. They ask, “How far is too far?” And the answer is always a ways back up the road to the place where they live. There is still work to do, but I confess I am often at a loss as to how to do it.
I can testify to my own internal backlash, the valley that must be faced after the peak. Righteous anger is good space for me. I know what the world should look like and I’m not afraid to ask for it. I don’t mind a good fight. But after the yelling is over, the bitter words have ceased, and everyone has gone back to their corners, it always feels like a loss. Things didn’t change much, everyone is retrenched, and I feel like we’ll never get anywhere, like it was all for nothing.
In part, this is just how I’m built – Enneagram 4 for those keeping score at home. My best self knows the right thing, but I have trouble living in the day-to-day. Unfortunately, it’s the day-to-day that we really need. It’s the every day grind of making small changes, practicing justice in every little choice. It’s hard, it’s slow, and it’s kind of boring. There are no clever memes to guides us. Maybe we could just watch TV instead. Or…
We could read the Bible! (Yay, Bible!) The lectionary this week gives us Paul and Jesus, both dealing with the struggles and frustrations of sustaining a movement. Paul’s writing is a little cryptic. However, it is clear that he is frustrated because he knows about Paradise, but is confined to live in this world. Somehow, he finds a way to draw strength from that. Jesus, too, is giving the world some wisdom, but he is amazed at how poorly it is received. He does what he can, educates people, and gets some help. Something must have worked or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing about Paul and Jesus.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Church in the Cliff, as we talk about how we continue the momentum in the face of frustrating opposition and how we might shape our work for transformation rather than conflict. This will certainly be one of those weeks where I learn more than I teach.
Grace & Peace,