As I turned off the lights on Tuesday night, I could feel myself shutting down—walling myself off out of fear that the rage and hatred that fueled Trump’s campaign would come pounding through my door in the night to take me or my beloveds away.
Between battling exhaustion and reeling with anxieties, our fear tells us to close our doors and build walls to protect ourselves. In anticipation of coming disasters, many of us are picturing ourselves tucked away in bunkers, warming ourselves around campfires fed by our privilege to tune our neighbors and the rest of the world out.
While this might be a comforting thought for a moment, hiding out is not an answer for ourselves or our families. One of the greatest strengths in our community is when we choose to be vulnerable, to no longer hide in closets. It is the source of our power and fear’s grip no longer has a hold on us. As I wept and prayed Wednesday morning, I found greater comfort in the resilient hope that we are stronger together. The questions Trump’s victory raise for our communities must be answered in the ways we now choose to take care of each other.
Many of us have felt in our own lives examples of the racism, misogyny, homo- and xenophobia that are firmly embedded in our culture. We can now expect them to become more entrenched in our national laws and policies. The results of this election should serve as a wake up call that the world needs us to do our work. We must keep showing up with an expansive vision of the world God is calling us to.
I believe, our community is as resilient and committed as it was before the election. Our opponents have never made a secret of their agenda, and we are prepared to answer it. However, even in times of desolation, like the persistent widow, my faith compels me to wake up in the morning and keep working for justice. This election result has only strengthened my resolve.
I place my belief in a God of abundance, not a god of scarcity, not a god of binaries and boundaries of us vs. them. I believe in a God who has called us and this movement to be a source of abundant inclusion, particularly in a world where division and fear reign. The source of this abundant inclusion begins within ourselves as we refuse to segment parts of our own identity. Let no comma separate what God has brought together. I am a white and middle class and educated and a transgender man and living in North Carolina. I can’t ignore one part of my identity, even if I want to distance myself from the painful realities of that identity. If we give in to fear, we risk building walls up in our own minds, around our own hearts, in our churches and safe spaces which limits any possibilities of transformation. If we build these walls in ourselves, then fear and hate truly have trumped love. As Christians, we believe in a God where death does not have the final say. We must walk to the tomb of our fear and roll away the stone to let the light of resurrection and new life in.
Thankfully, we have not lost the vision of a world we want to live in. We carry it in our hearts. Rather than place that hope on one leader, one political party or system, it is up to us now to carry that charge forward. We must roll up our sleeves, open our hearts and allow our lights to shine in a world that feels bleak.
As faithful people called to radical inclusion, we have practice with this kind of resilience. For the last 40 years, More Light has existed in places where no one expected light to shine, when few believed the church could or should change. We have been a persistent unshakable hope in bleak times. We cannot dim that light now.
In such a time as this, we are continuing to expand the work of More Light to be even more intersectional as we continue to build a church that reflects God’s heart. Here are some of the ways we step forward, not back:
- Investing in a Racial Justice Teach-In series. In the last week of October we laid the groundwork in our first teach-in for understanding how white supremacy underpins much of the “isms” we work against. Our next teach-in is on white privilege, white supremacy, and internalized dominance. I believe we MUST learn to confront and engage around white supremacy and privilege in the ways it shows up in ourselves and in our faith communities to truly lay the groundwork for abundant inclusion.
- Graceful Engagement Conversation trainings: We need to be practitioners of moral courage now more than ever. For years we have trained people in ways to engage in tough conversations rooted in love and grace, as a path towards building an inclusive church.
- Will you make room video series: Next week, we are launching a video project that invites us to consider our call to make room, during the season of Advent. How are we making room for Christ in our midst? We will follow up with more details soon.
Together we will continue to bring forward More Light.
Sending you love,
Alex Patchin McNeill