I tweeted, and then I deleted – you ever do that? There were approximately 4 hours between when I posted, and when I deleted the post and its accompanying comments.
Here’s my story:
Like many of us, I read the Washington Post article concerning comments made by our President that insulted countries (and the people who live there) by calling them “shithole places.”
I read the article in shock. I instantly had two impulses. One was to close the Google Chrome tab, and sit at my desk silently fuming, until I had prayed through it a bit, and was ready to move on with my day. This was the impulse that was reminding me that no good can come from commenting on this. No good can come from posting anything about this. This is the impulse that sounds a lot like my wife’s voice in my head reminding me that I’m a Pastor in a small community.
I had been alerted to this article/news story by a friend of mine on Facebook who earlier this morning had posted, “All you right-wing so called Christians still cool with Trump?”
When I read his post, I thought, “Huh, wonder what that’s about.” So I investigated, found the Washington Post article and the continued story with President Trump denying that he had used this language.
As I sat at my desk mystified by what I was reading (“Is this real life? This didn’t really happen, right?”) I, again – had the impulse to walk away. The impulse to stay silent, and move on – and then I had another impulse – one that was propelled by my friend’s post.
This impulse told me to post.
To speak up.
To stand up and say, “This isn’t okay.”
This impulse is propelled by very real concern that we’re losing the next generation of Jesus followers.
We’re losing them.
Millennials, Generation Z….we’re losing them.
We’re losing them with things like the 2016 election – where politics and some skewed form of Christianity are so entangled that it becomes convoluted, confusing, and so opposite from Jesus and the Kingdom of which He spoke.
We’re losing them when the church stays silent in the midst of the current #MeToo culture.
We’re losing them because we’ve become the “Empire.” And when you’re the Empire, it becomes difficult to make sense of a message that was written by those on the underside of power.
We’re losing them.
And so this morning I went with the impulse to post. And then four hours later, I deleted it.
I deleted my post because it had become hijacked and trolled, and like many of you I was simply watching the comments as a form of entertainment.
I deleted the post because I believe I had set out what I intended to do: tell those who have become disillusioned with Jesus, church, God, Bible, etc… that the Gospel is still good news, Jesus cares about the marginalized and the outcast, and that I think he’d have some things to say to anyone who is dehumanizing entire people groups.
I set out to speak word to the millennials in my community – the young adults who are starting families and opening businesses and who are sincerely questioning Christianity and what it has become in 2018 American culture.
I set out to speak a word to “Generation Z” the students I work with each week. It was a prophetic word to not give up on this big beautiful dynamic inclusive faith called Christianity.
I set out to speak another word to my children – because I’m still so scared that they will look at the narrative in the world today, and the response of the Church (or lack thereof) and they’ll bail.
I listened to the impulse that told me to speak up – and I will continue to do so, because I believe that if we’re truly following Jesus – we can’t afford not to.
For the record: My original post is still on Twitter @zfleming01