Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice despite his long history of sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and his current inability to maintain even a fraction of the emotional stability required of his female colleagues.
For me as a woman, the expected confirmation was like a replay of the morning of November 9, 2016: I knew it was coming, that the whole debacle wasn’t a nightmare but the beginning of a deep dive into dark places.
But I still feel sicker than I expected.
The news came through as husband and I are on the road to Kansas City, talking deep theology. And the conversation’s reminders feel timely.
We talk a lot in classes and with each other about a couple overriding, guiding beliefs.
First, “Original Sin” is belief in the lie that we are separated from God. We aren’t. We never were. Separation is a lie that keeps us striving and fighting for something we already have: Connection with the Creator in and by whom we have our being, and by extension, connection with each other.
Second, salvation is collective and is happening now. It’s easy (and convenient!) to forget in our hyper-individualistic culture that the biblical notion of salvation is not about some afterlife or about securing for ourselves heaven or avoiding hell.
Salvation is about how and who we are collectively as humans and whether or not we choose to abide in Connection or cut-off and exclude ourselves.
We either are or are not the Body of Christ.
We are either actively building the Kingdom of God right now, by feeding the hungry, upholding the humanity of the prisoner, clothing the naked, protecting the bodies of the exploited, welcoming the immigrant and refugee, stewarding the Earth, and gathering those on the margins into the Fold.
Or we are building Hell.
Hell on earth where black bodies are gunned down and their killers praised for a job well-done.
Hell on earth where women are treated as broodmares whose bodies and organs belong to and are traded between men, and where the attacks we survive are dismissed, disbelieved, and turned into jokes by those in highest office.
Hell on earth where Trans women are beaten and killed by men whose own self-hatred explodes in rage against bodies they don’t understand.
Hell on earth where immigrant children are caged and used as sex toys by those charged with their protection.
Hell on earth where school children and their teachers have to endure the ongoing trauma of worrying about whether they’ll be sprayed with bullets by madmen because our lawmakers cannot find it in themselves to stand up to lobbyists who whose god is the gun.
Hell on earth where Christian LGBTQIA youth are more likely than any other subset of youth to attempt or commit suicide because their faith families refuse to acknowledge the Imago Dei so brightly shining in their queer selves.
The Western Christian Evangelical Church sold its soul for this day: For the hope of a deeply partisan political pawn appointed to the SCOTUS who would undermine women’s rights, queer rights, civil rights, and uphold white male power over and against and in destruction of the rights of all others. Today is the day they cash it in. For them, it’s a celebration.
For the rest of us, it’s a call to action.
To be Kingdom Builders who do the work, brick by brick by brick, even as Hell bringers follow behind us with bulldozers.
We won’t see the Promised Land in our life time. But with any hope, our kids and theirs will complete the work our ancestors started, which we labor to advance against all odds.
Brick by brick.
This is who we are and choose to be.