I’ve found myself wondering if this is how families felt right before the beginning of our national civil war. Division seems to be inescapable.
I’m waiting for our nation to be the subject of mass sanctions that cut off our supply of cheap clothing (made under unjust systems) and so the government tries to sell us all on thrift shopping, even to the point of stealing the use of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop as propaganda to encourage us to go.
We have gotten to the point that when I wear a pink hat with cat ears, I feel rebellious, and just a little unsafe. Will someone run me and my daughter off the road if I wear it on my walk? How can it be that I feel like I am challenging a community with a pink hat?
For the last three months I’ve woken up wondering what bad news will meet me in the morning, and over the past week, it seems as if our greatest fears have been confirmed.
But see. That’s the crux of it. We are in this current situation because of the mass proliferation of fear. As a nation, we were told we should be afraid, and so using the structure of the current electoral system, this nation elected someone who told us we should be afraid and that he had the answer for our fears.
I’ll give him one thing: he tapped into something and was very persuasive about it.
Because the world does look different. Power is shifting. Freedom is spreading.
But let us not think that freedom is spreading thin. Freedom is not a limited resource. At least, it doesn’t have to be. It is not as if we are spreading freedom thinner and thinner as butter on a piece of bread.
Freedom is the bread itself, rising with the yeast inside it, growing and doubling and tripling in size.
I’ve not talked with enough people in person who do not agree with me. I’ve seen the angry fights on social media, where we are too easily drawn into conclusions without lending dignity to the other.
I want to scream and shout, but shouting is not how to understand someone else.
More people who have done more work with freedom have written better things about liberation than I can. But I wonder if they are hard to hear. I wonder if my words will have a difference when we have been told that the truth and facts are up for debate.
You know, I suppose even I voted based on my fears. I don’t really think I’d considered it before. I knew why the election went the way it did, and I knew that I had a pit in my stomach that only has grown since November 9th, but I never really thought I was voting based on fear.
I woke up that morning with the realization that the nation was not the nation I thought it was. I wonder how many had woken up in the years leading up to November 8th thinking the same thing.
I grieve that we were unable to communicate that freedom does not have to be limited. That freedom is not a resource to be used up, rather it is something that becomes more powerful the more that it expands.
Freedom doesn’t get used up.
We’ve been lied to. Diversity strengthens freedom.
If you are afraid, whether it is because your memories of your childhood are different than what you see today, or because you know that this administration will work to limit your freedom, then know that I am praying for you. I truly am.
And yeah, I don’t want to Jesus Juke this post, but for me, a lot of this is about prayer, and where I need to be praying and marching and standing as we see changes come. I’ve written here about freedom in this nation, but my sole allegiance is to Christ. In the coming months, we are going to see many different people use their faith to say a host of different things that will undoubtedly conflict. We do an incredible job at making our Savior agree exactly with us. That’s called sin. Our goal should be the opposite.
I’m looking for ways that God challenges me and convicts me and creates new spaces in my heart. It can be too easy to pick my favorite bible passage and just use it for the next four years. God’s freedom calls me to something better than that.
God’s freedom invites me to extend welcome and hospitality to people who don’t agree with me, don’t look like me, don’t talk like me, and don’t have the same privilege as me. As a Christian who lives in the United States of America, I’m called to work to extend this radical kind of freedom to everyone, regardless of whether they were born here or believe in the same God as I do.
I have hope that we can be better together. I’m holding on to that hope.