The coronavirus pandemic, like the handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5, has interrupted our nation’s imperialist and idolatrous banquet of materialism, racism, white religious nationalism and militarism that Martin Luther King Jr. prophetically identified as lethal threats to the country and the world.
The point is not what we fear, but what a life ruled by fear can do to us.
Whatever else, Lent is the church’s reminder that we are ever improvising, seizing the half-baked idea or the unexpected moment of irony, tragedy or failure as an occasion for grace.
The Creator’s cosmic design encourages me as a white pastor to lead my church into the terrifying, life-altering work of racial justice.
American culture is patriarchal to the core. As author Leslie Dorrough Smith argues, the ideal male identity remains white, heterosexual and given to “family values” (even while their behavior contradicts this supposed conviction).
We cannot continue to pretend that time will heal the deep wounds that divide us. Generation after generation, we bring our gifts to the altar without stopping first to do the work of reconciliation to which Jesus calls us.
This moment does not call for cheap unity, but for a clarified division.
Truth-telling is a moral imperative no matter who may resent hearing the truth, no matter who may refuse to believe the truth and no matter what people who oppose the truth may do to truth-tellers.
The story of our struggle is a story of resilience, resistance and triumph-in-the-midst-of-tragedy that actually has the power to redeem this nation from the sins of the fathers and the privilege of the few that has come at the expense of the many.