Liberal Clergy: It’s Good We Are Here

I’m sitting here on Christmas Eve trying to get all jazzed for Service tonight, and Christmas tomorrow and I keep thinking about President Trump and the current set of Republicans in Congress and all the damage to God’s world and God’s people that they have done. I’m thinking, “If it’s hard for me to get past, and I’m clergy, it’s got to be a killer for those who aren’t”. Those with no faith, a faith that hates them, or discourages them from becoming their best self, it’s got to be worse.

We have let a fox into the henhouse and he/they are making a real mess of things, destroying the hope symbolized by the eggs that are lying around. The administration seems bent on hiring people who either hate the organization they run or are incompetent to run it. Every day brings a new choice between neglect and abuse of our people and the people around the world — all of whom God created.

Into this we walk, as we always have– seeing the people that Trump would rather we forget — the immigrant, the poor, the female, the intelligent, Black people, Puerto Rican people, South and North Korean people, the mentally ill, the physically ill, Palestinians, Muslims, the elderly and children. Did I miss anyone? They’ll be “up” tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure the male, the super-rich, and the fascists have a government that takes care of them. Everybody else will look to us. OK, they will look to God for relief, as they always have. But the gates to God will seem to be blocked by the Religious Right. That’s where we come in. After years of caring more about who people sleep with than they get to sleep at all, the Religious Right has shown its stripes. When they sign up with the Nazis and the swindlers, the corporate masquerading as the Just, they point the way to very different Jesus than the times call for… the same Jesus the times have always called for. That Jesus — the One with compassion, the One who redeems instead of remaining angry, the One who seeks mercy, not sacrifice — that Jesus is ours. As a therapist, I feel the same way that I do as clergy: I will never run out of work. Even if I like my job, I’d rather be out of business. If I ever doubted my job security, Mr. Trump and his cohort have certainly given me that.

It’s not that we’re better people at our core than the Right, but I’m more likely to trust a Right-Wing congregant than a massive-church-with-a-TV-ministry that always needs money. For all of our lack of Pronounced Piety, we never lack for pronounced (or, better yet, unseen) compassion.

The little baby from out-of-town, his unwed mother, and their father who “lets” them live in a barn don’t stand a chance in Trump’s world. Neither will the homeless preacher who dares heal anyone without asking to be paid for it. Since God has the final word on the itinerant preacher, it’s up to us to protect the baby and it’s family. It helps that we would be looking amongst the dregs Caesar wouldn’t even contemplate living with.

So, once again, we have have what the world needs. There are those who will argue about Jesus’ call to charity vs. Jesus’ call to justice. The Jesus that the Left knows is — and should be — both. Martin Luther King is our kind of radical. St. Francis and Audre Lorde are too, just like the little old lady that shows kindness in a soup kitchen.

There will — and in some places, there already are — a lot of people who will need help simply to exist under this government. It’s good that we are here. But because of that we need to take care of ourselves, empower others, and develop long-term strategies for coping– including prayer, exercise and spending time in nature — after we take care of the immediate needs of people our government doesn’t think should exist, or — if they do — should have no rights.

Lots of people will come to our God if things don’t change soon. We need to be ready to let them into the waiting room until the Cosmic Physician can get to them. It’s a good thing we’re here.

Peace,

John

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