Don’t steady the ark. It is one of the oldest of admonitions. There is good reason for not trying to work against God’s will and substitute your judgement for his. And yet that has been what I have been trying to do for decades. Judging, admonishing, pleading, and hurting trying to steady the ark.
God has his church, he has called his prophets, it is his job to fix the broken that has poisoned the church culture. It is his job to do those things. It isn’t mine. My job is to come unto Him and live. My job is to go where he wants me to go. My covenants that I made with him were not with my bishop or my stake president. They weren’t with any church leader or member. My covenants were with Him. To obey His commandments and follow His direction. To hear him and listen to Him.
Faith bends. Faith is the tree in the storm that won’t be moved. Faith endures through the storms of doubt that batter it. When the calm follows, the voice of the Lord is clear. Serve a broken world. Find where you fit. Find where you are valued. Find where the spark of your spirit is welcomed and encouraged. Surround yourself with people who help you develop into a more Christlike version of you.
Will I serve the homeless? The refugees? The elderly? The women’s shelter? I don’t know. I will see where I fit and find my place. I will roll up my sleeves and serve. I will listen to the voices that need to be heard. I will observe God in their faces and in their lives. I will learn compassion.
The sacking of the capital shook me to my core. There is no doubt in my mind now that Trump and his supporters are desperate to prop up a racist, classist, and economically oppressive system. That is what fuels the movement. That is the motivation behind the hate, suspicion, and fear is a desperation to preserve the privilege of the few, over the voices of the many. It isn’t so simple as my words suggest. Most of Trump’s supporters are not powerful or privileged. The forces at work in the movement of Trumpism are complex and many faceted and everyone is accountable to God for their choices during this period of social and political upheaval. As for me, I have sinned.
The conservative talking points that used to resonate with me make me feel ashamed now. They were the thin veneer I used to protect myself from the reality that I have ignored and neglected my duty to hear and understand the voices of those who suffer. My eyes have turned away from George Floyd and his people who suffer in a broken world that has hurt them and continues to hurt them. I’ve listened to voices of people who have told me what I wanted to hear and not the ones I needed to hear.
I have lived in Texas for fourteen years and yet I have only two black people I would call friends. I know so little about their stories it’s embarrassing. I make excuses. I’m a busy mom with many responsibilities. I have fragile mental health and I might not be able to handle the suffering of others. I make these excuses while trying to fit into a world of white privilege I want the acceptance of. Outwardly I have worshiped Jesus Christ, but inwardly I worshiped an idol of gold.
This is my fault alone. I have stumbled around with a beam in my eye while trying to cast out the motes in the eyes of others. I’ve judged unrighteously. I’ve sinned. God will judge Trump’s supporters. In judging them, I hoped to shame them into repentance. That isn’t the Lord’s way.
At the same time, I cannot worship with them. I cannot go to the temples and churches where they worship. My soul is grieved as my illusions have been stripped away and I see the sin that has festered there; the worship of money and power, the craving for the honors of men, the closing of my ears to the suffering. I have condemned Trump vehemently for the sins that I saw reflected from me in his privileged face. I cannot surround myself with those who excuse and encourage that sin in me.
My writing may seem confusing and contradictory to some. How can I condemn Trump supporters while at the same time repent of condemning them? What I have learned in my suffering and my prayers is that the reason I fought Trumpism so hard, the reason I preached and posted for the last five years was because I was trying to protect myself from the sin of Trumpism that still resided in my own heart; the need to believe that my conservative beliefs are righteous at their core. Since I have purged the sin, I no longer feel that urge to fix Trump’s supporters. I’m not one of them anymore. I don’t have to “cleanse the inner vessel” because after seeing my own sin, confessing it, and forsaking it, I know that I am nothing like those who defiled the capital or those who make excuses for them. They have their path. I can stop trying to fix them. I can stop trying to steady the ark. I can stop trying to worship with them. They aren’t my people.
My people are the downtrodden and the lonely. My people are the abused and the mistreated. My people are the suffering that don’t fit and don’t belong. Its time for me to join my people, not in temples with soft chairs and glorious chandeliers, or catered parties, or in fine clothing. I don’t judge those who have chosen a different path, but they aren’t my people. My people are in the places of suffering. God wants me to worship with them. To pray with them. To suffer with them. I didn’t want to before because I was afraid of the darkness. I didn’t think Christ was enough to help me bare the burdens. Through suffering, my heart is drawn to Him. He is enough. He is mighty to save.
For those who have prayed for me, I thank you for your prayers. For those whom I have judged, I’m sorry. I was wrong. God only knows what is in your heart. He will judge between me and thee. I pray that God will make me a better witness. I lay my sins at his feet. I promise to put Him at the center of my heart and purge myself of the false gods I have worshiped in the past.