I walked out of church today mid-sermon. I don’t know that I will ever go back. I walked out because I felt an overwhelming urge to stand and yell:
What does any of this have to do with our lives today? What has Jesus to say about the thousands of refugees and immigrants in unsafe boats in tortuous waters? What hope lies in Jesus for those who are oppressed by government-sanctioned brute force? What has Jesus to say about injustice and inequality and what, my God, is the church’s role of ridding the world of such systems? What is the church to do about the world as it is — not in the kingdom come?
There are so many questions that the church doesn’t — won’t — answer. How does one reconcile the Jesus who came to set the captives free with the church who (as a whole) turns its gaze away from those who are oppressed. Not oppressed on the far off continent of Africa where we send money and missionaries, but here in America. How do we make sense of a church that preaches peace and safety when there is blood in our streets — when our children don’t make it home from a trip to the corner store?
The church is dead. Perhaps it has been dead for a very long time. I do not know how long I’ve been sitting with this cold, unresponsive Body, but the stench has grown strong enough to force me from its pews. I cannot bear to greet another brother or sister blind to the reality of our world and oblivious to the gospel that can heal it.
I have been in church all of my life — by compulsion when I was a child and by choice as an adult — and I do not know what comes next. My faith in the Jesus of the bible remains, but I cannot — I will not –sit another week in the midst of death and decay that lives in the American church.