Stuart Stevens of the Lincoln Project has an excellent article out today about the electoral moment we are in. I’m not going to comment on whether I think he is correct in his reading of who will win on November 3, but his comments about the Republican party struck me as also applying to the American Church:
“There are many good men and women in the Republican party, but they have proven themselves to be smaller than the moment demanded. They stink of fear and desperation and it breaks my heart to watch them flail around trying to convince the world, and themselves, that they are not who they have proven to be. I feel sadness. I feel pity. But not remorse.
Today’s Republicans are not worthy of the great legacy they inherited. When grown men and women refuse to denounce a man who boasts he did not rape a woman because “she was not my type,” any semblance of public good has been lost. I can’t direct the Republican party to the lost and found where it might reclaim its soul, but I do know that defeat, while not sufficient, is necessary in order for it to embark on that journey.”
St. Francis, according to tradition, was told by God to “re-build my church.” He then spent the rest of his life doing just that, not only rebuilding the physical church of San Damiano, but also founding an order that inspires not only Franciscans, but Catholics, Protestants, and even people of other religions and no religion to this day.
The church in America, and indeed the larger Church worldwide, has spent the last 400 (or 1700) years building itself on a foundation of empire, conquest, racism, slavery, and genocide. And while many of the rooms it has built on top of that foundation have served it well from time to time, the entire edifice is now at risk of toppling. As the nones and dones stream out of its doors, it has entered a defensive crouch and tied its fortunes to a man who comfortably inhabits the throne of Babylon and Rome.
Regardless of what happens at the end of Trump’s political era, the question for those who remain in the church is whether they will circle the wagons and tighten their grip on their ever shrinking institution, or will they seek to rebuild Christ’s church.
As for me, I know where I will be. I will be trying to rebuild Christ’s church.