I’ve written here, on and off, about my explorations with God and faith.
I’m very lucky that the minister I grew up with, Father Tom, explained to me that faith is not always blind- that we can question it. It is in questioning our faith that we grow stronger in it. Kind of like working out in a gym, you have to exercise muscles and sometimes break them down in order to be stronger.
There have been several instances in my life, several moments of trauma, that have brought me closer to God. This is not to say that people should endure what I did, they shouldn’t, but in MY story… in what I did live through… it allowed me to become stronger. I truly believe that my strength has allowed me to develop greater empathy for others- and to better advocate for them. As a friend recently posted Brene Brown said: “One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.”
Ever since I was 16 years old, I have been a licensed lay reader in the Episcopal church. I enjoyed being a part of a worship service that gave glory to God. I learned that in being an acolyte, which I started when I was in 3rd grade, we are meant not to be seen in the service but to lead the service quietly.
However, over the past few years, when I would get up in the lectern- I would look out and see people who I had watched on social media make statements that seemed to be in discord with what Jesus teaches us. It was incredibly frustrating to me. The sermons were good, they addressed matters at hand, and yet… still I would see these posts. Sometimes I would even get direct messages.
Once I was even told by a church leader that I embarrassed the church in my own social media posts.
All of these things have been in my mind as I explore a closer relationship with God and Jesus and what exactly that means.
You see, the more I have studied it… the more the Bible seems clear. We’re just supposed to love each other. And protect those among us who are weak. And fight for equality.
I don’t recall the Bible saying it’s going to be easy. In fact, being a good cradle Episcopalian- I don’t have many Bible verses memorized so I would have to go to Google to reference any.
Now, how can local politics connect to this? In a few ways, actually.
One- I’ve expected an apology for the trauma inflicted upon my children and my family. But maybe this is wrong? Maybe… I need to first make it clear that I am open to the apology. If I were to put myself in the shoes of another, if I knew that I had hurt someone and wanted to apologize but was afraid of rebuke, then this might making the apology difficult. The budding potential theologian in me has to wonder out loud if we must be receptive to the person asking forgiveness.
Two- You see, I’ve done a LOT of leadership trainings. Leadership Macon, Middle Georgia Regional Champions, Georgia Forward Young GameChangers, Alpha Delta Pi Advisor… and so forth. I’ve never been told that a leader, a true SERVANT leader demands… well… anything of the people they are leading. That’s what a boss makes demands, not a leader. And I want a leader in my mayor. I want someone who is in it because they care about us- all of us. Even those that don’t vote for them. Even for their opponent.
Three- I am exahusted from the ugly. I’m exhuasted from the pandemic, from economic uncertanty, from preparing for my kids to go to school and the children coming to the school where I work. From 401 years of racism and violence and rape against Black Americans and so many of us just seeing it. And I am tired of the vitriol in local politicians when all I want is for their better angels to reach them somehow, someway.
But it’s not too late for redemption, it’s never too late. God is all about love- even of those we might hate.
I’d really like to see the men who say they want to be our mayor make a public pledge to that effect. Help me and others believe in the good of politicians who want to be true servant leaders, true public leaders again. For me, that’s the sign of a good leader. Not someone who expects the loser to concede to them, but the winner who pulls the loser in and says “join me, brother, in healing OUR community”. Let’s get better about giving grace to one another, in every way- every day. And, maybe, y’all can giv e me your grace and prayers as I go on a journey of faith myself.
Love to all y’all,