Following Jesus is to be in constant resistance to the patterns of this world. It is to invite the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and God to sit on throne of our hearts. God Almighty is our love, peace, joy, peace, strength and identity at all times. Especially in times of violence, stress, abuse and dishonesty. Especially in times when White Supremacists march with lawn furniture turned hate symbol through campus grounds at night, past the marked and unmarked graves of slaves, chanting praise and worship to Whiteness. Especially when we see bodies flying through the air and laid out in the street after a car plows through them like a live obstacle course. That's what he probably thought "those people" were - obstacles. Those in this driver's path were opponents to a way of life more precious than the breath in their lungs and the working of their limbs. Especially when statues fall by political choice or by social force and those people rejoice and those other people mourn. Especially when Deandre Harris is beaten by a mob and Heather Heyer, Berke Bates and Jay Cullen are dead. Lord have mercy.
I am from Virginia, applied and was accepted to UVA and went to summer camps in Charlottesville on that campus. Close friends of mine are clergy, ministers and community members. My brother is a pastor there and his wife and 6 month old daughter live in the city limits. What does #PrayerfulResistance look like when I'm terrified, angry, and full of rage. What does Emotionally Healthy Activism that is spiritually mature look like when I feel invisible, disposable, weak, and hopeless more often than not. The powerlessness is paralyzing and I am on the verge of tears when I see someone with my skin color on the subway, go on Twitter, or hear the president speak.
I believe it looks the same as after Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Terence Crutcher, Martin Luther King, Jr, Emmet Till, Jesus Christ, and every other unnamed but deeply loved person made in the image of God crushed under the weight of oppression. I believe it looks the same the first time I learned about the Rape of Nanking, Mao & Stalin's violence, the Trail of Tears, and the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I believe it is the same as when look into the eyes of a former child soldier, sex slave and forced laborer.
I also believe it is the same as when I looked into the eyes of a white supremacist who called me a N-----, the soldier glad to kill "cockroaches" in Iraq, the business owner who exploits his workers, and the political leader who is corrupt. I believe it is the same as the young man who told me hit his girlfriend, the other who cheated on his wife, and the other who lost his virginity in a brothel; and went back more than once.
I am to live full of the spirit and wisdom, obedient to death, even death on a Cross in living testimony to the reconciliation and renewal of all things through Jesus Christ, by the power of Holy Spirit to the Glory of God the Father and for our eternal benefit. I am to be full of compassion as Christ abides even more deeply in me. I am to be angry and resist but not sin, forgive as I've been forgiven and be a messenger of Reconciliation through Christ, preaching first that He reconciled me. This is the peace that surpasses all understanding, a love that I comprehend and the freedom I long to bear witness to.
There are those of us who say "yes" to this death. This dying to self-interest, self-centering, self-everything and NO to striving for some sort of comfort, stability and security in the racism, materialism, militarism and sexuality to live in the light, love and lordship of Jesus. And those who say, "I will do this myself." There are those two sides today and there will be those two sides tomorrow. There are only sheep and goats.
Wherever you are today, I would ask - who is Your Shepherd? And if you want it to be Jesus, ask where you have been disobedient and confess. He is just to forgive us. Then, receive His love, grace and truth. He loves you and there is nothing you can do - good or bad - to change that. In Isaiah 6, we see that after confession there is always blessing.
If you are your own Shepherd, captain of your own ship, lord of your own life I invite you to do precisely the same thing.
We are to lament, confess, repent and reconcile in obedient love to Jesus - whether or not Trump is President, whoever is atop the racial hierarchy, wherever we are on the social ladder.
We can Pray, Purchase, Partner and influence Policy in a way that lines up with Jesus' teaching. And if we stop and listen, He will lead us.