The Unsilent Church:

Reclaiming the church as a great social justice movement maker

Reflections on January 6, 2021

Dear friends—

If you are like me, you are having a hard time focusing on anything other than what transpired yesterday in DC (and in several state capitols).  In just the last 72 hours, we have been on an intense roller coaster ride, first witnessing some incredibly powerful results from the GA runoff elections where we saw the sheer power of the vote (particularly of our siblings of color facing decades of voter suppression), and then watching in horror as domestic terrorists stormed the People’s House in Washington DC.  Four people died yesterday…and that is a national tragedy.  My head hurts from fatigue and worry, and I imagine that many of you are as weary as I am.

All of this has happened on the heels of an incredibly volatile five years of divisive and mean-spirited political rhetoric that has unapologetically been rooted in white supremacy and xenophobia.   Oh yeah, we are also living through the third wave of a deadly pandemic.  If you are tired or hopeless or anxious or scared, you have good reason to feel all those feels. 

I will not try to offer comfort through lofty words rooted in a trite version of American exceptionalism like we heard last night.  What we have witnessed yesterday and in the years prior is America.  It is not the exception.  What we have seen in the last 12 years was always boiling below the surface of polite (white) society.  It is what our country was built on…and it will never change if we don’t look it in the face, name it, and fight it. 

But with all this said, we also know that when we see the worst in humanity, we always see a profound response of good people who rise up to meet it.  While our national history is filled with genocide and enslavement and cruelty, it is also filled with prophets and resistors.  It is filled with people like Sojourner Truth, Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony, and Rosa Parks.  It is filled with people like Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, and John Lewis.  Filled with people like Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.  And countless others…some names we know, and so many that we don’t know.

Our present is filled with prophets and resistors too, ordinary people fighting day in and day out.  Movimiento Cosecha, Black Lives Matter, The Dream Defenders, Fair Fight Action, the Sunrise Movement, LBTGQIA+ groups and allies, the Sanctuary Movement, March for Our Lives, and so much more.  We have local organizations like WeROC, ICPJ, Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary…  There are prophets and resistors everywhere we look, even in our own little church.  And we find the ultimate prophet and resistor in our mentor, friend, and redeemer, Jesus.

When we see the worst in humanity, we always, always see the best as well.  We have to look hard sometimes, and even when we do see, it doesn’t make things easier.  But it does remind us that we are not alone in this struggle for justice and love and kindness.  We are not alone.

Be well, people of faith.  Trust in God and in one another.  Hold out hope for those who are hopeless.  Show love in all you do, fierce, justice-seeking, unrelenting love.  Be community.







One response to “Reflections on January 6, 2021”

  1. Rev.Diane White Avatar
    Rev.Diane White

    Thank you for this Deb. You are always inspiring and one of the prophets.


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