Monthly Message from Rev. Tony

 

“Belonging to a Congregation Fulfills a Civic Duty”

 

Dear Beloveds,

The singular most prevalent and powerful difference that divides America right now is the definition of heaven. Stay with me —— White Nationalist Christians, Christian Theocrats and Dominionists, Fundamentalists Christians all want to create their version of “The Kingdom of God.” They believe this Kingdom to be a real Kingdom – a monarchy where the rule of the king (God) is absolute. A place where civil law is replaced by their interpretation of Biblical law and where all religion except their particular version of Christianity is outlawed. A kingdom where God has foreordained white, cis-gendered, straight men to lead the people and where everyone else of any color, gender, sexuality, or religion is lesser person or even a non-person. This Kingdom of God is defined by assimilation. There is one and only one best way to be human and everyone and everything is valued in accordance with how much it aligns with this ideal model. This Kingdom seeks and demands sameness and commonality with the ideal version of being human. Being like-minded is prized, being like “us” is rewarded and being not like “us” is punished because sameness creates harmony and difference therefor can’t be tolerated or understood. The Kingdom is This model seeks to make earth perfect as Heaven is perfect. Because of this it prizes law and order.

The other idea of heaven is not a place but a condition of human relationship. This is the model of The Beloved Community. This model seeks to create a KIN-dom not a kingdom; a place where everyone isn’t ruled by a king (divine or human) but instead a place where everyone recognizes their human kinship with each other in the realization that we are all one human family, even the crazy uncles and out to lunch aunts and estranged children. The Beloved Community does not seek perfection or commonality. The Beloved Community does not ask us to be like-minded, but like-hearted. The Beloved Community is messy, imperfect, and often full of conflict because just going along to get along and not making waves and avoiding anything uncomfortable is the Kingdom model of paradise. Beloved Community understands that even paradise isn’t perfect, as we will always be learning how to better understand, accept, and love one another.

Building Beloved Community is an ongoing and ever-evolving process. It requires building relationships across difficult differences and therefore building trust and acceptance across the difference the separate us so that we can come to celebrate our differences instead of fearing them. Building Beloved Community requires vulnerability. It requires us to apologize for how we hurt others and it requires us to forgive others who admit their mistakes and try to do better. The most agonizingly difficult part of Beloved Community is that requires us to include those who would punish us, exclude us, and even kill us for not conforming to the sameness of this or that kingdom. We need to remember that we are all the person who gets in the way of building Beloved Community at times, as Henri Nouwen reminds us [Beloved] “Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives…That person is always in your community somewhere; in the eyes of others, you might be that person.” Because of this reality, Beloved Community prizes “grace and justice.”

I invite you to immerse yourselves in the idea of Beloved Community this month, not to seek perfection, but with the simple goal of growing just a bit in your ability to help create it.

With Love,

Rev Tony