Two weeks ago, Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon broke from their characters as presidential candidates on Saturday Night Live and spoke directly to their audience saying, “We cannot tell you how to cast your vote, but we can ask you: What kind of country do you want to live in?” That question has stuck with me for days as I realized too much of my hope sits in the powers and principalities of this world. And so, in these days after the election, I have posed my own questions: What kind of world do you want to live in? What kind of church do you want to help create? What kind of life do you want to live?
I don’t want to dwell on the one who is going to be the next president and the one who is not. Those conversations are happening enough already, and I’m sure you are as fatigued by them right now as I am. In fact, I’m barely reading anyone’s ramblings about the next president or hand-wringings about who most of us thought would be president because it all reminds me of the new 95 Theses I’m privately working on. Instead of festering and obsessing, in these days when the news is still fresh and even raw, I want for us to harness the energy of this present transition and poignancy of this cultural moment to ask better questions about our world, our nation, our church, our neighbors, and our lives. Let’s use this time for good.
We need to ask better questions of what comes next because this is our work as the church. Participating in the creation of a world as it should be is the partnership work to which we are called. And maybe the questions we ask about what we are doing in our churches will challenge our understanding of what church is in some uncomfortable ways.
Something old is dying while something new is being birthed, and we are feeling the realities of that process. How will we respond? How will we participate in God’s holy imagination? How will we use our lives to stand witness to the values of the kingdom of God over any kingdom of this earth? How will we stand together as allies and advocates and prophets of justice?
Friends, consider the passions, projects, causes and relationships that are helping draw you more fully into the kind of person you were created to be. Now, how might you more fully embrace these life-giving ways as your contribution to the kind of church you are called to shape, the kind of nation in which you want to live, and the kind of world that reflects what you know to be true of God’s best dreams for every one of us? Ask these questions and then act on the answers.
Last week I extended an invitation to clergy peers via social media, and I want to expand the platform of that same invitation today. Clergy friends, let’s get together with this stack of questions I am throwing out and turn them into better ones. And then let’s turn our best questions into some action steps. What comes next? I want to meet with you around a real table with real eye contact and real conversation. And I happen to live in a tremendously fantastic town for gathering. What if we put together a gathering event here in New Orleans for early January? Maybe Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 12-14, 2017? Who would be interested in getting together soon to talk, plot, reflect, share? I am ready to welcome you as we prepare for a new day together.