Over the past few years I have taught on and laid out some thoughts on the subject I call “Living in Babylon.” Over the past few years there has been a testing of what I have called “culturalized Christianity.” If this is something that is new to you, I suggest looking at my podcast page and listening to some episodes with the “Living in Babylon” title in it to get the idea of what I am laying out.
Basically, I felt a few years ago the white conservative American church was more “culturalized” than it wanted to admit and there was a window of opportunity for repentance and renewal. If we didn’t take that opportunity, we would be moved into a spiritual Babylonian captivity of our own making.
In the past five years, and I fully understand what that represents in time and certain people that will go nameless, we’ve seen an unleashing of spiritual destruction. Decay is not strong enough as a description. The utter rottenness of white conservative Christianity has been exposed over and over. Instead of repenting, there has been a constant doubling down of Christian Nationalism, racism, and misogyny.
It is not “hating America” to acknowledge this is part of our story. It is not unpatriotic to understand that much of our present reality exists because the legacy of past atrocities does not fade as quickly as their memory.
A year ago there was hope. The shock of Ahmaud Arbery’s mugging, then Breonna Taylor, and then George Floyd provided a time when there was hope that white evangelical America was actually listening. I loaned out books. I bought books for others. I invited folks into conversation.
Then… well, we got tired. White fatigue set back in.
How hard have we made it, as white evangelicals, for people of color to be in our supposed multi-ethnic spaces? How hard have we made it for black brothers and sisters to voice their concern, their pain, and even their joy in our spaces? Some examples:
Esau McCaulley gets to the core again as he unpacks the trial of Derek Chauvin, convicted yesterday in the murder of George Floyd.
The United States demands too much wisdom from Black parents. We must walk that fine line between telling the truth about how cruel America can be toward Black bodies and souls and the hope that our children can be their free Black selves. America requires too much of its clerics, who must minister, console, lead and organize a people weary of Black death.
In a time when the American Church should have fallen to its knees in repentance before God, we chose to double down on our stiff-necked responses and tried to hold onto what little power that remained.