Mourning, Healing, Disrupting, Living:
Post-Election Thoughts From A Minister
I posted the following on my Facebook page near midnight on Tuesday, November 8:
Tonight… Racism won. Homophobism won. Misogynism won. Religious Imperialism won.
Republicans lost. Democrats lost. 3rd party voters lost. But most importantly… Equality lost. Humanity lost. America lost.
But I won’t be numb for long. I will fight. I will scream. For this is not the America that I believe in and I will do what I can to fight and scream for THAT America.
And now, 40 hours later, I still feel the same sentiment.
I spent most of my Wednesday feeling numb. I felt vulnerable. I felt dead inside. At times, I literally felt weak. Like I could just collapse where I was. I was constantly on the verge of tears, though never actually shed one. I was confused. Dumbfounded. In shock. Could this really be happening in the country I love? Could my fellow Americans really vote in a guy who stood for everything that I stand against? Wednesday was about mourning.
I am not mourning because my candidate lost. I am mourning because of the candidate who won and the values that candidate promotes. I am mourning alongside so many others who feel very vulnerable in our culture right now. Those who are afraid. I mourn for those who aren’t heterosexual white Christian males. I mourn for those who will be judged, and possibly harmed, because of their skin color.
Let me be clear. I do not believe that Republican voters automatically promote the kind of hatred that I am talking about here. I am well that there are many who voted for Trump because they don’t like or trust Clinton and/or because the values that the Republican Party seeks to promote is more than just its candidate. That it is the party platform that they wanted to support. I still have questions and concerns about all that but on some level, I get it. But to be clear, the 2016 election cycle became about so much more than political party affiliation.
But let me also be clear about something else. Trump says, does, and promotes those things. He is misogynistic. He is promoting heteronormativity while inciting the spirit of homophobia. He is racist. He is the epidemy about what is darkest in America’s past and also our present. And with that, people who also have misogynistic, heteronormative/homophobic, and/or racist values came out to vote for him. This can’t be ignored. It doesn’t say that all of his voters share these values but those that do, voted for him. But what’s even more worrisome than this is that he has used his platform as a candidate to normalize hate speech in America again and he did so on the highest platform that there is. That is, someone seeking the Presidency. And it worked. Oh my, how did it work!?
When kids of color, as well those who are female or identify as LGBT, go to school the day after the election only to be face intensified bullying from classmates, that is the normalization of hate speech being lived out. When a gay man gets attacked outside a bar and the attackers allegedly shout: “We got a new president you fu**ing faggots” that is the normalization of hate speech being lived out. That is not okay! As a minister who primarily works with invitational and youth ministries, these values are everything against what I spend so much energy working towards. They do not promote the Worth of all Persons. They do not resemble the message of Christ. You can’t authentically hold up the values of the New Testament while also holding up the values of Trump. I am a proud American but right now, this isn’t looking like an America that I’m proud of. We are better than this.
And with that, it is now Thursday and the healing process has started to begin. I’m still experiencing grief but I woke up feeling rested. I’m still mourning. Just not as numb, not as weak. I am still having those moments where I feel like I could break down in tears but those moments are no longer constant.
Trump is personifying the darkest of what is the United States of America’s past and present but we mustn’t let that be lived out in the normalization of our future. I am a Christian. I seek to follow the message of Christ. It is a message of inclusivity. It is a message of equity. It was a message of hope. It was the antithesis to what is out there right now. We must continue to fight and live for that message. We must continue to proclaim Jesus Christ while building communities of Joy, Hope, Love, and Peace. We must remember Community of Christ holy text which states that “For in their welfare resides your welfare.” (D&C 163:4a). We must seek to live out Christ’s mission statement as found in the biblical book of Luke: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Understandably so, there are protests that have marched since our president-elect was announced. They are mostly peaceful but, as with most peaceful protests, there have been people who participated who have acted out in ways that are not. I am reminded of a quote that I have used in many sermons and posted on Facebook yesterday. From all places, it is from the movie Step-Brothers. Towards the end of the movie, this is said: “Your actions have consequences! When you oppress people, they rise up in a fiery anger!”. Rather than get angry with protesters, may we seek to understand what drives them to protest. May we seek to change the culture that causes people to feel the need to protest. May we offer peaceful alternatives for how protesting can take place. But most of all, may we understand that sometimes streets need to be taken over by people on foot crying out for change. May we let our lives be disrupted because the reality is, the lives of marginalized already are and that’s why they have taken their message to the streets in the first place.
Last weekend I attended the annual conference for the Community of Christ Greater Pacific Northwest Mission Center. Our theme was “Christ Leads”. At this conference, I addressed the body to share how the message of Christ was still relevant and needed in our world today. I am more sure of that on this day than ever before. I am more sure than ever before that the values lifted up by Community of Christ are what this nation yearns for. In a spirit of hope, reconciliation, and love that values the worth of everyone, may Christ lead us forward in bringing healing and change to this country. Not the change that takes us back to a place of comfort. But the radical change that Christ was hung on the cross for. The change that disrupts our lives so that a new culture of sacred community can be birthed. A community where all can truly live as they were created.
May our mourning turn into healing where the disrupting presence of God can lead us into a new way of living.
Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.
As Christ’s body, lovingly and patiently bear the weight of criticism from those who hesitate to respond to the divine vision of human worth and equality in Christ. This burden and blessing is yours for divine purposes.
And, always remember, the way of suffering love that leads to the cross also leads to resurrection and everlasting life in Christ’s eternal community of oneness and peace. Trust in this promise. – Doctrine & Covenants 165:6
Note: Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) is a collection of
modern day holy text used in Community of Christ.