No One Is Comfortable
I know I’m late to the game. It’s been a long time since I sat down and just read books, and I’m finally at the point in quarantine where I’ve relaxed enough to lie down on the couch with my Kindle and not care what my kids are doing. So I finally read Rachel Held Evans’ Searching for Sunday last week, and laughed and cried over it, and mourned Rachel’s death, and thought about what church and our larger society should look like.
Evans writes about starting a small church called The Refuge, whose mission statement includes,
“We’re all hurt and hungry in our own ways . . . .
We find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts.
We find dignity as God’s image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another.
We all receive, we all give.
We are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberal, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, overeducated, undereducated, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving.
Yet Christ’s love binds our differences together in unity.
At The Refuge, everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about “everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable” and how it applies to the protests surrounding George Floyd’s murder. It seems to me that the people who are safest–I’m a white suburban-dweller who has generally had positive encounters with police officers–are very uncomfortable at this point. And that’s the way we should be.
I think we might be not strictly safer (tear gas and rubber bullets are no joke, and should never be used on our own citizens) but more comfortable in our own souls if we joined the protests, if we spent more time demanding police reform (a tweet I saw today said, “What if the police stopped recruiting discharged members of the military and started recruiting female social workers?”) and government accountability, if we acknowledged that the system we live in is radically unfair and that maintaining it is un-Christian. If we are going to truly follow Jesus, we need to honestly wrestle with our questions. We need to recognize the dignity in each other. We need to recognize that “we” isn’t just “my affluent ward” or “Mormons” in general. We are all hurting and hungry. We are all homeless, children, the elderly, the struggling. We are black and brown and white, cis- and trans and non-binary, able-bodied and disabled, and we are all mistreated by the police when one of us is mistreated.
I’m heartened by the progress we’re beginning to see and the changes that we’re beginning to make. We have a long way to go. We are all part of the family of God. Let’s act like it.