After the Election
By Benjamin Capps
If you're anything like me, this past election season felt like an assault on my sense of humanity. The constant fact checking, the chaotic social media culture, and the twenty-four hour news cycle barraged my senses and left me feeling disheveled, beaten down, and tired.
On the night of the election, before many votes had come in, I sat in a living room with a group of friends and wondered out loud together, what does tomorrow look like? Acknowledging that our hope is in Jesus Christ, not in any political party or system but also acknowledging what is at stake.
Pragmatically, we all now know what November 9th looked like. Donald Trump has been elected president – a clear finale to the reality show that has been this election season. Now what? What is our response as Christians, those people called to extend love and grace to all people, to care for creation, to extend radical hospitality to those that are on the margins? What is our response as parents of children, especially girls, who will grow into maturity with Donald Trump as president? What is our response as those people that believe in reconciliation through peace, not war – through unity, not division?
In the midst of what happened on election night, how do we, like Moses, dare to imagine a world that transcends the apparent injustices, embolden ourselves to speak the truth to power, and allow our prophetic imagination to implicate us towards action? What does that look like today?
My friends, for today, may we lament injustice, be kind to one another, and fear not.
Yes, Jesus is king and the kingdom is imminent, but we should also allow our hearts to break where injustice is clear.
This is not the time to conjure up some sort of okayness or a positive spin. Let's not ignore the deep fear and sorrow of many minority groups, in exchange for being able to sleep well at night. Reconciliation and peace-building are our clear goals as Christians, but when we go about these efforts without fully acknowledging the ways in which very real injustices have been perpetuated, we come at things with an ill-informed notion of what reconciliation and peace-building ought to look like.
Reconciliation and peace-building are our clear goals as Christians, but when we go about these efforts without fully acknowledging the ways in which very real injustices have been perpetuated, we come at things with an ill-informed notion of what reconciliation and peace-building ought to look like.
This is not the time to simply gloss over injustice. This is a time to stare injustice in the face and allow that deep sorrow to inform our reconciliation and peace-building efforts. To recognize the pain, oppression, and violence in our own culture and indeed recognize the ways in which we, in our ignorance and in our apathy, have participated in continuing these injustices.
And so we lament, we weep, and we repent.
Be kind to each other
Our country is tense – understandably so. My Facebook feed seems like a ping-pong match of inhospitable polemics. Remember to be kind. As an old piece of wisdom reminds us: Be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle.
Let's not stoop to the mindless and reckless rhetoric that has been all across our media and our collective consciousness as of late. Let's be a subversive force against the cultural milieu of hate and slander, and acknowledge the image of God imprinted upon all people.
Let's be a subversive force against the cultural milieu of hate and slander, and acknowledge the image of God imprinted upon all people.
Friends, the opposite side of lament is not fear, it is hope.
We will rise up. We will organize. We will fight against hate and injustice. We will advocate for the rights of all people, we will perpetuate hope in the midst of bleak despair and we will get creative in how we do this, because that's what we do.
We will stand as close as possible, arms linked, cheek to cheek with those who are different than us – with those whom we are being taught to hate and to fear. We will stand in solidarity with those who will be systematically oppressed and we will accept the pain of those who are oppressed as our own, and allow that pain to implicate us towards action.
We will transcend the divides of political parties, religious ideologies and constructed differences, and emerge as a people united.
We will continue to love our families and we will take responsibility for the forming of virtue in our children. We will teach them to love and respect all people; we will teach them about love for neighbor with our actions.
We will pray. We will imagine shalom and actively seek it. We will shed many tears.
But for today, we will lament injustice, be kind to each other, and fear not.
Benjamin Capps serves as Director of College and Young Adult Ministry at Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, Pennsylvania through a partnership with the Coalition for Christian Outreach. He is a graduate of Bethel Seminary (M.Div) and is a currently pursuing a post-masters certificate in spiritual formation at Boston College.