Saturday night I watched a few movies, ate popcorn and stayed up late with my best friends. Sunday morning I slept in and was awakened by my wife with news about something that had happened in Orlando. My heart sank. I wept, I was angry and I felt helpless. And I know what I was feeling so tragically pails compared to what the homosexual community and the friends and families of the deceased are feeling.
I've never been a victim of such viscous bigotry. I'm a apart of a tribe that is just now starting to get the sense that we might become the cultural minority. There is no mistaking that Christendom is on the fall, (Christendom, the official or unofficial partnership between the church and the governing powers and cultural power) and though this is good news for the church (the church has always thrived and looked most like Christ when is exists in the margins) many Christians have claimed that this means we are being persecuted. The truth is, this looks nothing like persecution, this looks like more people than not disagreeing with our beliefs, which is how we have treated the rest of the world for the last 200 years. And what happened in Orlando should serve as a sobering reminder of that.
I grew up reading the bible, and being taught that in the Old Testament, Israel was a picture of the church. That Egypt, Babylon and Rome were the evils of the world that sought to "enslave me" with their sin in a spiritual sense, the way those countries did to Israel in a physical sense. Now, thanks to the teachings of Brian Zahnd, Greg Boyd and a few friends, I've learned how much of a privileged, and misguided, mindset this is.
I am a white, Christian, male living in the US who has a full time job and was never denied work or education because of my skin color.
I've never been pulled over for something I didn't deserve; I've never been the subject of a random drug search and I've never been a part of a people group who has been consistently oppressed by systems.
I am not Israel. I am Rome. I am Babylon. I am Egypt.
My ancestors didn't come here on slave ships, they came here driving slave ships. My ancestors weren't slaughtered and intentionally diseased in order to have our land taken from us; my ancestors were the ones firing the guns and handing out the blankets of death. I don't have a history of being enslaved, oppressed or marginalized.
So what can I do in my position? As a person of privilege, I can advocate for the people in the margins. I can take a stand when I see or hear something homophobic, xenophobic or racist. I can love people I don't agree with without telling them I don't agree with them.
One thing I've seen a lot of on social medias from pastors, lay people and Christian celebrities is while sharing their sympathy for the 49 homosexuals slaughtered because of their life style, is "even if I don't agree with you, I'm sad for you." Almost as if that disclaimer needs to be said so we can maintain our tribes, so people don't forget that it's "us and them." Because God forbid we extend love to a homosexual and have a conservative friend think we affirm their choices.
Christ came and abolished tribalism, we are free to love without those disclaimers. We are free to advocate for the people in the margins.
I want to end this blog with a challenge: Christ extended love without any disclaimers other than we are to extend the same love to others. No disclaimers. No fine print. Just the agape (unconditional) love of our Daddy God. Go and do the same.