My worksite is completely secular. But I am a self-proclaimed “church nerd,” and so I do a lot of thinking about the Church. In this tumultuous time in our society, I often wonder what role the institutional Church plays in our culture. In my generation, Church isn’t “cool.” To be religious is to be outside the norm, separate from what your peers do or stand for. But I see many connections between the outcry that has arisen following a number of executive orders from our President and the values that Jesus stands for: inclusion of those in the margins, love of all, and a striking down of fear.
Why the disconnect, then? Why is Church shunned by my generation, the generation who at the same time stands more and more for equal marriage rights, immigrants, people of color, and women? Perhaps it is because church is too early on Sunday mornings. Perhaps because the social pressure of consumerism and competitiveness that runs rife through our world is at odds with what is taught in the Church. Or, perhaps, it is because the Church does not often enough name the injustice and un-Christian actions of our government with the conviction required for the challenge.
The Church, of course, is in a bit of a tricky situation. It has no affiliation to political parties and ministers to a broad base of people – left, right, and center. The relationship between Church and State has always been murky. But the teachings of Jesus cut through the mist: blessed are the peacemaker, and the meek shall inherit the earth. Maybe it is time for the Church to drain its own swamp and begin standing for the rights Jesus represents. Not as a political action, but as one based on love and kindness.