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BY MIGUEL PETROSKY

October 10, 2020


Just Faith: Reclaiming Progressive Christianity, the new book by The Resistance Prays founder Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, is out now! Learn more here.
Trump and supporters had a "Law and Order" rally at the White House - a clear violation of actual law and order.
Photo credit: Alex Brandon | AP Photo
President Trump made his first public appearance outside the White House since returning from the hospital for COVID-19, and spoke from the White House balcony in an event called “a peaceful protest for law & order.” –via Reuters
 
Meanwhile, the Swedish teen climate-activist, Greta Thunberg, tweeted in support of the Biden campaign - urging her followers to vote. “I never engage in party politics.” she tweeted. “But the upcoming US elections is above and beyond all that.”  –via The Hill
“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 
 
“When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” -Matthew 10:16-22
This election is by far the most consequential election of our lifetimes, as well as the most politically polarizing among American voters. We’ve all had to cut ties or limit our physical and online interactions with relatives and friends whom we once respected, even with political differences. But because of the rapid radicalization from conspiracy theories and fake news, it’s almost as if we’re not sure who they really are – as if they’ve all become different people. 
 
It’s possible that many of them have metamorphosed and are not who they always were in the past, but this election, along with the past 4 years of Trumpian politics, antics and rhetoric, have also unveiled the underlying values of many people within our lives, as well as uncovering who they have always been. By far, this is one of the most difficult things for us to accept – that the attitudes and beliefs that lifted Trump to presidential power were always within our families, our neighborhoods, and including our churches. The factors that made Trump president were always with us.  
 
Just as their fellow Jewish peers, communities and families consistently rejected and persecuted Jesus and the disciples (including the period following Jesus’ resurrection and the birth of the Church), so now our faith-based politics make many of us feel isolated from the people we once thought we knew. What Jesus tells his disciples, in a nutshell, is to, “Expect this to happen often.” 
 
Yet, Jesus advises His disciples (and us, too) to be wise yet innocent – wise in discerning both where our energies best lie in advocating for social-issues that utilizes our whole and authentic beings, and who and when to have difficult political conversations without “casting our pearls to swine” and wasting precious emotional labor and psychological health to those we know, deep down, aren’t going to engage in a fruitful dialogue in good faith. Our innocence comes from a childlike, stubborn hope that perhaps the talk with a QAnon-believing uncle or with a hardcore Trumpvangelical friend might be fruitful after all; it’s the hope that people aren’t too far away from God’s kingdom to be brought back. It’s the hope that, ultimately, something good is gonna come. 
 
It’s childish and futile, but that’s exactly the inner naivety and stubborn hope that keeps us following the radical, crazy, absurd yet world-changing person that is Jesus of Nazareth. We don’t know how this election is going to end, and there are many factors that we don’t have full control over. But as resurrection people, we do know that when there is death, there is resurrection. Along with the work that many of us are doing to remove Trumpism once and for all, we look onward to a better world – with a silly, innocent, stubborn hope to keep us walking along a path toward a better America.
Not everyone is able (or should) discuss hot-button political issues with friends and family, and that’s okay! If you feel able and are led to do so, read this helpful article about practical steps that make a difficult election conversation more likely to be fruitful and engaging.
A Prayer to Heal a Divided Nation
by Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton
 
Dear God,
 
This new day has dawned with this country more divided than it has been since the days of the Civil War. Half of your people are rejoicing while the other half are stunned and sore afraid.
 
What divided us then continues to tear at the seams of the fabric of this nation.
 
We are a United Divided States.
 
Help us to remember that the experiment called democracy is not over; it is still being tested. After 240 years of existence, the final results are not yet in. We still have work to do. It stretches out before us, across wheat fields and deserts, from the mountains to the prairies, from sea to shining sea.
 
In the midst of our sense of victory, help us to remember your call to us to love one another as you love us.
 
In the midst of our sense of defeat, help us to remember that you still reign; you alone are worshiped; you alone are God.
 
Help us to put aside our own feelings – jumbled and confused as they may be at the moment – in service of others, our families and friends and neighbors – here and around the world.
 
Help us remember your high calling to us to be agents of forgiveness and reconciliation, love and peace, healing and hope in a world made dark by fear and hatred and brokenness.
 
Help us to rebuild this nation by seeking out your image in the face of others, finding the best in us to serve those who are the least, the lost and the lonely.
 
Help us to remember the words of one of your servants of old who reminded us that ‘perfect love casts out fear’. Help us perfect our love.
 
We are your people. You know us by many names. You are our God. We know you by many names.
 
May we find strength in our diversity and seek the courage to live into what is written on every piece of currency in this nation: In God we Trust. In God. We Trust.
 
For only in you can we live in safety. Only in you will we find justice. Only in you will we know the peace that passes all human understanding.
 
Amen.
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