I told the pastors this morning I was still sorting through my emotions after Trump’s victory last week. I range from being angry to sad to hopeful. It’s a complicated time for most Americans, it seems. In fact, it seems like less Americans voted this time than in recent elections, which some think is a showcase of their own disillusionment with the candidates and the process.
To be sure, some people are infuriated that people would abstain from voting when doing so could stop the most unqualified person to hold the office of the President of the United States. I think people are turning their anger toward blame. They’re blaming Americans who didn’t vote, Hillary Clinton for her bad campaign, Bernie Bros. who voted third-party, they’re blaming the Electoral College itself. Now, I share in some of those frustrations, but I think the truth is that people are discerning how they can resist a system that’s decidedly against them. For some people, a vote for Trump was a vote of no confidence in American liberalism (and I meant that in a classic sense). Naomi Klein called it a rejection of neo-liberalism. I say, good riddance! People are disenchanted and frustrated; they are afraid and nervous; and they don’t know what to do.
The power of the American myth and its promise to bring us hope and safety is falling apart. I think it’s a good time to be a Christian. We find our hope in the Lord, his Kingdom, and as my friend Rachel put it, “the Commonwealth of Christ.” My friend David, in the middle of a conversation about the blame game, said that it matters more what we do next, than it does what we did in the past. I appreciate that. As frightening as the Trump Presidency is for me, I think it is also an opportunity to show the world another way.
But I will be honest. It won’t be easy. I told this story on Sunday, and it may bear repeating. While putting my eldest to bed on Thursday night, I heard an unusual knock at my door. Kristen was at work. And it was just me at home. I wasn’t expecting a package and the election was over (they were knocking on my door too). I ran downstairs and unlocked the door because that’s just what I do. But then I got worried. For the first time in my life in Philly, I thought someone on the opposite end of the door might hurt me. Brown skin, beard. Two brown kids. A brown wife. I can’t believe it. I felt weak for being afraid. I felt like a bad Christian for not trusting God.
It is a scary time for a lot of people. Because of this, I want to emphasize the importance of finding a safe place. That phrase, “safe place,” is often used to describe organizations these days. For Circle of Hope, it is elemental to what we are doing and to the Gospel. For a long time, we called ourselves “A safe place to explore and express God’s love.” Our Cell Plan is filled with similar language. Our Sunday meetings are decidedly non-coercive, and our leaders are committed to meeting you where you are at.
A lot of Christians, in particular, feel disillusioned. Articles like this that tell us how thrilled some believers are at our new President add to that feeling. I think we provide a safe place for people who feel that way. And truly, we have for years, and for me, it saved my faith. I hope we can take advantage of the opportunity that we have today. Christians are going to get a bad reputation for supporting the Breitbart president, whose chief adviser is a white nationalist, even according to Glenn Bleck.
I’m thankful that our talk of a “safe place,” isn’t just cute rhetoric or a catchy jingle, but that it actually is real. This was confirmed again on Sunday when one family came all the way for Delaware to worship with us. They needed to be in a safe place and they wanted to worship God. They made the drive for the sake of the connection. How encouraging it was! I felt affirmed and hopeful. I want to keep sharing that safety with those who need it. That’s why I’m wearing a safety pin. In an era where Christians just aren’t guaranteed to be safe, I want the world to know that we are. We aren’t safe from Jesus, but we are safe because of him. He first loved us, so we love back. The world needs that love; not judgement, not hatred, they need love. And hope beyond the President, even if it weren’t Donald Trump.
So, I’ll offer you the same thing I offered my Facebook friends: If you’re feeling isolated as a Christian after the last week, let me know, I may have a place for you.