Mea Culpa

I really am sorry, folks.

It’s been a few months since I’ve written a blog post, but anyone who knows me knows that I didn’t all of a sudden lose my opinions.

I started a blog as catharsis therapy. I live a life that includes a lot of unnatural stress. It started out as a way to vent some of that. Writing about things that frustrate me helps.

But the reason I wanted to write was also to show cracks in the systems that frustrate me and expose them for what they are. I also have the all-too-human urge to be known. This was a way that I could do that:

I’ve always been a little bit of an angsty anarchist, but in my teens and early twenties I was especially so. One of my favorite songs was entitled “Calm Like a Bomb” by Rage Against the Machine. In that song there was a line that said “Hope lies in the smoldering rubble of empires,” and that thread has kind of permeated a lot of my thinking. In my faith, I have seen God the most when he is breaking into crappy situations, wrecked by structures of oppression and the idolatry of the empire, and allowing me to catch glimpses of hope. In my current context, I visualize a lot of this everyday –historically beautiful but dilapidated buildings, wrecked by 60 years of housing discrimination and absentee landlords, crumbling into piles of rubble, juxtaposed against glimpses of hope, like resilient kids who will be the first in their families to graduate high school, or a group of people from the church standing and marching in solidarity with people who have been victims of state violence. Hope rising out of the smoldering rubble of empires. The Kingdom of God breaking through the cracks of structures of oppression.

But toward the beginning of summer, I lost sight of some of that hope. I was still smoldering but was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems facing us. You probably saw it in my writing and some Facebook posts. I lost the light in the dark places, and so it became easier to point out all the problems and incite anger toward them, rather than being constructive. I was depressed and anxious, and I needed to step away for a little bit.

I preached this last weekend on the topic of remembering our long lineage as Christians. The voice from somewhere else that inspires our imagination and confronts the stone walls of the oppressive status quo, and how that voice shaped the many “heroes” of the text. The burning bush, the prophetic word, and the remembrance of all the ways that God had shown up and was present and active in the histories of his people – that is what I want to remember and cling to. That is where we get our hope – the still smoldering metaphorical rubble, smelling of divine intervention and the sweat of his peoples rather than the phosphorous and gunpowder that accompanies the violent destruction we are surrounded by.

That is what I want this blog to be. I want to tell you stories of hope. I want to tell you how I have been shaped by hope. I want you to learn how to hope when things seem hopeless, and imagine a voice from outside of the totality of the status quo that stretches your imagination.

So I hope you accept my apology. I hope you continue to contribute to my shaping and forming and wrestling with these topics. I know I don’t always get it perfect myself, so I need you to help me. Let’s spur one another on toward the good. Much love, peeps.

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