We Need to Stop Lying and Repent

The arc of the universe is long and it doesn't bend towards justice. It bends toward slavery, exploitation and abuse. It bends towards anger and retaliation and the powerful oppressing the powerless. We like to tell ourselves that it's getting better and that things will eventually work out, but if we are honest with ourselves, we are not getting better. Things are as divided as they have ever been and even worse since we won't even acknowledge the depths of the separation. So we are a people with a gaping head wound denying care and even the notion that we need stitches.

Sunday morning is still the most segregated day of the week, and the enduring reality is that we proclaim all are made in the image of God but if given the choice, we will separate based on race, gender, status, class and preference. This is not the way of Jesus and these problems are not new. The new Christians in Acts wrestled with racism and exclusion and Stephen died for it in Acts 7. We like to forget it was the religious people who stoned him; and we pretend as if we have it all together.

To admit we are hurt and have wounded others would be too painful. To admit that we feel woefully inadequate, hopelessly ill-equipped and overwhelmed by the enormity of the task would be excruciatingly difficult so we do the opposite and just keep trying and hurting -- and hurting one another in the process.

We need to stop lying and repent. We are the epitome of hypocrites, saying one day that we believe in free speech and censoring comics and bloggers the next. We stand in the morning at unity rallies and at dinner pass on hate to the next generation. We parade a Pope that is to prioritize the poor and we cage up street children to keep them from view of our television cameras. We are a stiff-necked, double-minded, two-faced people refusing to acknowledge our own prejudice and bias but so quick to call it out in others.

The arc of the universe is long, but it does not bend towards justice. We are all guilty; no one is innocent. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked above all things, we are prone to wander, and we violate our identity as people made in the image of God to flourish, work, rule and create far more than we actually live into it. I believe that this arc of injustice must be bent back towards the good things that God intended and the first step is admitting that we can't do it. I am not the Messiah, and neither are you. Next, we must proclaim that only Savior is Jesus, bend our knees, and ask for forgiveness for the way that we've harmed one another, creation and Our Just and Holy God.

Until there is confession for the ways that the Native people of this country were raped, abused and forced onto reservations, nothing will change. Until we acknowledge the deep wounds of 450 years of slavery of Black Americans, it will remain the same. Until we repent of the unbridled capitalism that leads to exploitation of people and the planet, we will continue to witness police brutality, the running of government by lobbyists and an epidemic of poverty and mass incarceration. Until we turn away from the greed, pride and selfishness that perpetuates the hoarding and pursuit of wealth, power and possessions at the cost of the environment and the poor, we will still lose animals we have yet to discover to extinction to oil spills and deforestation and clothing factories will collapse on poor sewing mothers.

The weight of this painful reality would be crushing if bore by us; but praise be to God that it is not. The weight of rape and misogyny is on the shoulders of Jesus. He was wounded for our transgressions -- the Rape of Nanking, the concentration camps of North Korea and every man, woman and child who was lynched by the KKK. He was crushed for our iniquities -- every rape and assault on college campuses, every abuse of military power, every life taken by Pinochet, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin and Hitler. The love of God overcomes the horror of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and every atrocity horribly mistaken to be in the Glorious, Compassionate name of Jesus. He is acquainted with the grief of every inmate, orphan, widow and bedridden patient, all those left alone and unwanted. Jesus entered into that suffering, pain and death and overcame. He is alive, we sing Alleluia for in Him, we have life today and forever.

Marching down the streets of NYC in remembrance of MLK, I thought not of the anger swarming around me, but of the King that Dr. King followed. There is no freedom apart from Jesus, no victory that does not include His name. No man, woman or manmade ideology can liberate humanity from the depths of the personal, relational and systemic brokenness that invades every corner of inhabited space. Jesus is and has always been, the Way, the Truth and the Life and until there is a personal and collective acknowledgement of that reality, we will reap what we sow. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life; so when we look at the world around us today, we are only receiving what we have paid for.