Let’s say it loud and clear: racism, homophobia, anti-Asian discrimination, sexism, and misogyny are not Christian values. Equity, inclusion, justice and belonging are values that follow in the way of Jesus.
This has been a cruel and painful week — the jury selection for George Floyd’s killer, the misogynistic and racially fueled murder of eight Asian women in Atlanta by a white man, hate crimes legislation in South Carolina that one day has LGBTQ+ protections stripped and the next added back in but yet still other protections removed. Trans youth and children are targeted with intentionally harmful bills in the statehouse. Loved ones and friends are still dying of COVID or persevering through long haul effects. Children — traumatized children — are streaming into our country from across Latin America seeking safety and stability.
If this past year has shown us anything, it’s that white supremacy and its siblings homophobia and sexism have a grip on this country that is iron clad. All oppression is connected and intersectional. The powers of death seem so strong.
Which also means, then, that the power of life and hope must be stronger. If the modes of death dealing power are connected, then our power of life, liberation, and freedom, are also connected to each other. As this past year has also show us, we have power together, especially when that power is used to center those on the margins, make room for their voices and leadership, and slowly start to loosen the grip that white supremacy holds.
As a follower of Jesus, I see his life as one that brings the power of equity, inclusion, justice and belonging to all people. Jesus is the embodiment of God — God who makes all of creation, who looks upon it and calls it good, who came to us — willingly and intentionally — as a marginalized person. Jesus suffered the death of an enemy of the state, fully committed to experiencing the life of those most vulnerable. And in his resurrection, God said to the world, “Love wins. Hope wins. All of the world belongs here —- in the power of life over death.”
The values of the Christian life, then, are always on the side of the marginalized, the vulnerable and the suffering. Always. Don’t let anyone tell you or show you differently. Even when our world seems like it’s in the grip of death, Jesus reminds us that when we are together, centering the people he embodied and loved, that we are participating in the power of life. A life that will overturn death. One step at a time. Together. Thanks be to God.