DISTORTED CULTURE, DISORDERED IDENTITY
Sometimes it's hard to talk about American culture, or Christian culture for that matter, because those things include a wide diversity of peoples and histories and ways of being. Something in us, though, knows that there's something meaningfully distorted, something harmful and inconsistent with the ideals of America and Christianity in our culture.
In the political world, it seems that “the right” is unwilling to name the inconsistencies in the culture, and “the left” seems unable to name the ideals separate from the culture. So we have this fight over loving America or not, respecting Christianity or not, instead of having a conversation about the inconsistencies within our culture. The real problem is we're talking about the wrong things, the wrong influences on American culture and Christian culture.
As American Christians, we should be developing our ability to talk about the influence of global market capitalism and white supremacy on our culture. The aggregation of extreme wealth into the hands of a few, which has generational roots in the exploitation of black bodies and indigenous lands, has polluted and distorted American Christianity since the beginning. Our faith and our nation have been complicit in exploitation, theft, murder, and slavery, but our past does not have to define our future. It's time to start articulating a radical American Christianity, one that meaningfully rejects capitalism and white supremacy as organizing principles.
I know this sounds both lofty and heavy, but it doesn't need to be. Rejecting white supremacy and capitalism means embracing joy and collective identity. It means being in authentic community with others, sharing power and resources to build a shared future. The Congregational Church is uniquely equipped as an institution to do this. We prioritize collective decision making, we prioritize an allegiance to love and inclusion, and we are organized around the principles of autonomy and covenant. Our theology embraces the belovedness of all people and the willingness of God to forgive all harms that we are willing to admit and repair.
The Congregational Church can be a place to experiment with an alternative culture, a radical American Christian culture. In fact, we are already doing this. We collect our resources together and together we decide how we're going to use them, both our monetary gifts and our property. Admiral Church has the potential to do radical and disruptive work, not just for people who are disenfranchised, but for all of us who are suffering under this broken and distorted culture. All of our lives are being made smaller by capitalism and white supremacy, and there is a freedom that we can all have in a radical American Christian future. So yes, let's focus on joy, let's focus on freedom and peace, let's build something that calls for the best of America and the best of Christian community. Let's learn to play beyond the fences and walls of power and control. Join our Imagining Beyond Empire spiritual practices class to learn strategies for liberation in Christ.
In Peace and With Love, Pastor Andrew