A Pastor’s Heart in Heart-wrenching Times

With you, I watched a mob breach the most cherished of our national monuments on January 6, sparked and spurred, and by some accounts, enjoyed by the sitting President of the United States. I have been mourning and angry beyond what I would have expected. I’m sadder and angrier than I was on 9/11 [see footnote below].* Maybe because I was 20 then and I’m 40 now, maybe because of the weight of the last year. This was one of the most tragic events in our nation in my lifetime.

It hurts even more deeply that many who claim the same Name that I claim as Lord, Jesus Christ, God the Son, incarnate, have centered themselves around this movement to “stop the steal.” Without any actual evidence of fraud on the scale needed to overturn the elections of multiple states, Christians seem to believe the word of a man with blind fidelity.

For two days, I have mourned and raged, more than I could have ever expected. Apparently, I love our dear nation even more than I realized.

I saw cowardly men beclowned like circus performers sitting in the seat reserved for the Senate’s Presiding officer, the Vice-President of these United States.

I saw a man with his feet kicked up on the desk of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in a way I wouldn’t allow my children to do in their rooms.

I saw the Confederate flag that thousands died to prevent from overrunning our Capitol paraded through the cherished halls of that Capitol in the name of American patriotism.

As a pastor and theologian, I have struggled with my role in all of this. I have written and deleted many Tweets and drafts of Tweets, many Facebook posts and drafts of Facebook posts. In any of this, if I have sinned, I beg the forgiveness of God and anyone who might have been aggrieved.

Part of me thinks, I need to put my head down, just finish my sermon for Sunday, record it on Fridays like I typically do, and do the normal work I do as a local church pastor and theologian.

Part of me wonders if that’s enough. Should I speak out on social media platforms? Should I make more videos?

I am not quite sure what is the course of Christian and pastoral faithfulness here. I will do my best to honor my Lord and Savior as befits my role as a pastor in his church and as a theologian for his church. I will do my best to shepherd our beautiful congregation, Cross United Church, in these days. I will do my best to affirm above and beyond all else the first political principle of Christian confession, “Jesus is Lord.”

May God bless and heal our beautiful and special nation. More importantly, may Jesus build his church against which the gates of hell will not prevail.

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Let me talk about the line: “I’m sadder and angrier than I was on 9/11.” I almost deleted it (it was written in the emotion of the moment.) In fact I didn’t post it a year ago because of that line. But a year later I wanted to remember my raw response. Ultimately, the question isn’t whether 1/6 was worse than 9/11. It’s a category error., because they are two different types of moments in history. 9/11 was a horrible attack. 1/6 was a horrible betrayal. The better question: we will remember the horror of 1/6 accurately?

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