Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.
-The Bible (lots of places)
In case we forget, church is counter-cultural. In the PNW, we are really outliers, as the 2020 Census of American Religion points out (religiously unaffiliated are 43% of King County; the nation’s highest is San Juan County at 49%). We are also counter-cultural because we are intergenerational. Think about what other public spaces have elders and kids, millennials and boomers and zoomers all together. It is rare.
Being a progressive Christian community is even more radical. We don’t fit the norms. Working to create a space that is decolonizing and anti-racist is as radical as… well, Jesus.
This radical work is not just about more education. White folks don’t simply
need to learn more about white supremacy to recognize its harmful history and ongoing impacts. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color certainly don’t need seminars to describe lived experiences. Our call to the total shifting of culture within our community requires our whole selves be engaged.
This brings us back to the scripture verse. The greatest command is to love God with heart, mind, soul, and strength. From that place we love our neighbor. This means we need every element of our being, and every expression of our community, to answer this calling.
When we are in a space of new perspective or hope or experiencing pain, where do we respond? What are the feelings and emotions that go with this, in your heart? Is it regret, is it shame, is it guilt, is it trauma, is it disgust or anger or yearning or hope, or joy?
In our soul work, where are our values changed? How do intent and impact align and where do they miss? How is our theology shaped by God’s liberating work to be in solidarity with those the dominant culture pushes to the margins?
How do we love with our strength — our call to action? What will we do, where will we show up, how will we be embodied in this work?
And in our mind, what are we called to learn? There is a place for education and learning, continuing to uncover the “hidden histories.” In a world where the dominant story is simply accepted as true, we must deconstruct so that we can re-construct our understandings to be in greater alignment with reality and with justice.
We are called as people of faith to broaden our focus to our whole self. Simply “thinking about” justice can lead us to keep love at a theoretical level. Strength without connection to soul is ripe for burnout or frenzied response lacking grounding. And feelings alone can trap us in a cycle of despair. We need all elements working together. The gift of community is that we use our collective gifts to live with love. Where you show up in strength, someone else shows up in heart. Together we learn, grow in areas that are not our natural response places, and shape a counter-cultural community. A Beloved Community.
The Kin-dom of God.