I confess that I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. I confess that I have started and then not finished at least three dozen blog posts in the past few months. Usually I write to explore my own thoughts. Lately, however, I don’t seem to finish articles the way I used to.
I confess that the reason I don’t finish many articles, is that I’m afraid to post what I’m thinking. I’m afraid it will hurt people close to me. I’m trying to live peaceably with those I love. From one perspective, this is a failure of nerve–I’m trying to be a writer. Bothering people is what writers do. From another perspective this is an act of hospitality and friendship–I’m trying to be a pastor. Friendship is what pastors do. This quandary has kept me pretty quiet.
I confess that my revival of the Monday Morning Confessional is my attempt to try to explore some of these topics in a more personal, and hopefully less threatening way.
I confess that I have become so deeply unsettled by what I see happening in our society, that I find it impossible to keep silent anymore. In particular, I am troubled by the general lack of virtue in our country’s leadership, in all three branches of government, and on both sides of the aisle. I am appalled that leaders from both parties have not joined together to reject the lawlessness, corruption, and self-dealing of the Trump administration, especially the Trump family. I understand the “wrecking ball” analogy, and the desire to shake things up in Washington. I just never thought I’d see the day where so many would choose to look past things like corruption, incompetence, porn-star payoffs, and intentional cruelty to children. It’s extremely unsettling to me, personally. I thought we were better than this. I can’t believe how low we’ve set the bar in terms of what we collectively require of the person sitting in the oval office, and I think this will prove to be a costly mistake.
I confess that it feels like America is slowly but surely relinquishing its place of leadership in the world, refusing to leverage its influence for the common good, throwing its lot in with strongmen and mafia states. It feels like we’re watching the decline of America in real time.
I confess that I do not wish to be identified by a political party. I confess that I am doing my best to reject the tribalism that pits us against one another, foments hatred and contempt, and blinds us to reality. My commitment to the church remains so much stronger than any other commitments I might have. My friend Tim Gaines wrote this on Twitter this morning: “The Church is the community that redemptively confounds the categories imposed upon it. Right/left, conservative/liberal choices are crucified as the body of Christ is resurrected. To adopt a given ideology decapitates Christ as the head of the church.” It’s a pretty strong metaphor, but indicative of the violence done to the body of Christ when we bow down to rival ideological lords. I confess that I hope to confound all other categories that try to impose themselves on me.
I confess that I am profoundly disturbed that it has become the official policy of the American government to willfully and wantonly inflict horrible trauma on children of parents who are seeking asylum. I confess that if I were a father in Honduras, and my two boys were facing the kind of future most Honduran families at my pay-grade face, I would leave as well. I would do whatever it takes to come to America. The whole thing feels connected to racism. I confess that our inability to own the racism component is a big part of our problem.
I confess that I am always aware much of the reason Central American nations are such a mess is due to rampant illegal drug use in America.
I confess that when separating kids from their parents, our government does irreversible damage to innocent children, and they do this in your name and mine. Reports indicate that agents sometimes tell parents they are going to let the kids take a shower. Slowly it dawns on the parents that their children are not coming back. Can you imagine the desperation? Can you imagine the soul-wracking agony of that moment? When America has been your hope and your dream? Now imagine you are a 4 year old girl who has just been ripped from the arms of your mother. Can you imagine the fear?
I confess that I do not want to be complicit in this kind of blatant injustice. Psychologists tell us that the sort of trauma this can cause in a young child (2-4 years old) can produce a life-long attachment issues, maladaptive behaviors, PTSD… this is wrong. We are supposed to be better than this as a society. We have to be better than this. I’m not a big fan of blaming, but the proximate cause of this injustice is clear: the Trump administration and Jeff Sessions have directed this course of action. It’s a policy decision, and a directive to law enforcement. They can overturn this with nothing more than an internal memo.
I confess that I’m disgusted that what Jeff Sessions did instead, was to go on TV and use the bible to support the injustice he has personally ordered: zero tolerance. Zero Tolerance means no mercy, no grace. Nobody should want to live in a world like that. Asylum seekers and refugees from drug violence need mercy and grace, not cruelty and trauma. Sessions laughed as he distorted the bible, claiming it gives him permission to rip children from the arms of their parents. Their behavior isn’t funny, or cute. What they are imposing is not law and order, but human tragedy. The actions of our government constitute a clear moral evil, and they have nothing to do with Jesus. To invoke the bible to support actions that are so obviously evil? That is how you lose your soul…
That’s my confession… now you make yours: