For those who have eyes too see: Religious Conservatism and repentance.
The church. Long ago, American Christendom became the defining illustration of civic religion. More importantly, we are the primary interpretative lens through which one can make sense of the Laodicean error of Revelation 4:14-22. America has produced a church that worships wealth and stability rather than Jesus of the cross and resurrection. The American church has rejected the cross.
Nowhere have we as a people violated the gospel so intentionally as we have by choosing wealth, political powered, and racial purity over the message of the cross and the gospels as our guiding light of faith. Our sin, as a people and as a church – a white church of privilege, is rejecting the cross in favor of maintaining and in fact worshipping white supremacy.
One litmus test might be to ask different white churches when they last read the Bible together with racial realities in mind, or to ask when a congregation last read MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail together. But we as a church are in fact submersed in a state of such denial, or outright preference for racial privilege that we may not be competent to read the literature in any meaningful way. We are, as a church and a people, in flat denial of our privilege, our corporate sin, and in fact, we are in denial about the messages contained in the Bible. God is not a liar. WE are. We lie to ourselves and the rest of the world about the reality of white privilege and racism in our country.
This is no longer a matter of debate in my mind. I will certainly discuss the issue with anyone, but the time for voting, managing, or manipulating outcomes of racial privilege without firmly denying to accept the benefits of privilege is done. The murderers in our midst, the lynchers and gassers and bakers of human flesh, the antitheses to Paul’s baptismal hymn of Galatians; the antichrist: is not only mainstream as we’ve always known, but are now being defended as the good Americans. There are no good Americans, no-one is good, not one, as Paul would say. We are all complicit in benefitting from the racist institutions, slavery, and lynching, Jim Crow and Willie Horton political ads.
We are equally guilty of violating the basic humanity of our poor white brethren, driving them toward competition for valuable resources that are often hoarded by the very church that quietly blames poor whites for their impoverished status. The church has become a brood of vipers, believing they are save by their status as good Americans, and not repentant Christians. Stand judged all ye, stand before the Lord God and claim thine innocence. You all will claim sin of some sort, but you deny the murderous gluttony that is white supremacy. A white supremacy that rejects poor whites and women as much as it does persons of color.
This judgment is not for those outside the church. They must manage their own moral quandary. For the body of Christ, there is no quandary. We are racist to our core in our support for the American nation state and its politics of racial hatred, separation, and degradation. The non-believers have their own ethics, but ours should not be complicated. Our sin is evident, as is our total resistance to embracing the other as God and the messiah Jesus command us (not failure- resistance to such an embrace). The fact that a vast majority of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump or even for Clinton) is nothing more than evidence against us. God will judge, and judgment will fall squarely upon our heads. Blood will be found crusted on our hands. We will stain the golden bricks of the New Jerusalem with blood not of the lamb, but of bodies swaying from the poplar tree. Repent, and sin no more says the messiah, Take up your cross, and follow me, he says.
This is the end of an age. The church is an end-of-ages institution. The world is not coming to an end, but a reign of terror is upon us, and our command as a church is to usher in the kingdom of God which denies violence and terror will win the day, but that God has provided the church as an alternative to the racist lake of fire known as white supremacy. Nothing new need be revealed, no special funding resource or grant money for outreach organizations. The God of rock and nurture commands us through Jesus – first seek ye the kingdom of God.
Do not store up your treasure on earth, where we invest more political capital in keeping our things safe and our rights to consume secure than we do sacrificing in a manner that reflects the kingdom. You have the right to shoot someone who breaks in and steals, but is your television worth more than the life of another criminal. Who was that executed as an enemy of the state on that cross. White kind of black men were executed – cursedly hung on a tree? Only those who challenged white supremacy. The church has blood on its hands, and rope burns as well. Repent ye sinners, for if thee did not hang a single one by the neck, you may indeed live of the benefits of what was kept from them. You benefit from white supremacy and your dependency upon poor whites to supply you with killing fields and mobs with torches.
The sin has been revealed, the apocalyptic nature of the church must be acknowledged and invited back into our children’s mind. The cross is the sacrifice of privilege, and we are called to sacrifice our privilege. The church should not support politicians, but new precedents for sacrificing privilege and bringing institutionalized racism to its knees, Repent, or face the wrath to come, ye brood of vipers. Even Americans cannot be saved without repentance, doing justice, and not taking more than what is needed. Franklin Graham and Liberty University do not reflect the truth, nor do they reflect the gospel. They are liars and false prophets, and they need be consumed by the lake of fire. Jesus will name names, he will judge and secure righteousness for all. How will thee be judged when Jesus asked thee, and who has thy neighbor been?