Stuff you should read: I’m with the people making sanctuary.

From I’m with the people making sanctuary  at Morgan Guyton’s Mercy Not Sacrifice blog:

As these conversations and spaces have been rolling around in my mind, I’m realizing that I’m much more a part of the circle that I held hands in Thursday night at Tulane than I am in the same movement with the “Suck it up, buttercup” Christians. I’m just not in communion with people who ridicule “safe space” and want a hard and austere gospel to feel awesome about. So I don’t know what that makes me. But I’m with the people making sanctuary.

I honestly believe that’s the main point of the cross. Jesus made himself unsafe so that those who are unsafe could have a body to join. I’ve been looking at Philippians 2 a lot lately. I read there that the point of emulating Jesus’ cruciform nature is to become entirely other-regarding. Verses 3 and 4 are how genuine safe space is created: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” That’s what being cruciform looks like in practical terms. And I’ve seen many people do it in the past two weeks. Most of them haven’t been Christian.

If I hadn’t already been done with the evangelical church before this point, the election of Donald Trump, the gleeful crowing afterwards, and the shrugging dismissal of grief, fear, and pain would have done it for sure.

Like Morgan, I’m with the people making sanctuary, whoever they are and whatever they believe.  I try to do it in Jesus’ name, but if it springs from their Islamic or Jewish or Hindu faith, or from no faith at all but basic human decency, I’m good with that.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of Franklin Graham’s Decision America rallies to protest his hateful comments about gay children, inspired by Kathy Baldock, who has done the same. I had what might have been useful conversations with some of his fan club, though I’m not sure I convinced anyone of anything.

I was also standing next to the atheist protesters.  While I was going for a “God is love” approach, with my “God loves LGBT kids too” and “Gay Children are Not Your Enemy” signs, they were in full-on “Religion is Bullshit” mode with “Nothing fails like prayer” and other more mocking slogans.  And yet. They also had stuff against conversion therapy, stuff about how it was normal and natural to be gay, but that prejudice has to be taught.

Before I left, I thanked them for being there and got a solidarity fist-bump.  It was strange and sad to be surrounded by what used to be my crowd, my tribe, and feel more acceptance from the people who think I’m a dumbass for even believing in God.  But I’ll take honest disagreement, even outright scorn, over honeyed words and the kind of “love” that drives people to suicide.

But I’m not alone.  When I first left the evangelical church, I felt adrift and cast off.  I didn’t quite fit with the Quakers because I missed the music and Bible verses, and because I didn’t consider myself a pacifist. I’m still trying to figure out what my spiritual home is as far as actually attending religious services goes.  Right now, splitting between Quaker meetings and the Episcopal church seems to be working for me.  But, for the whole scope of my life outside Sunday morning, my place is wherever people are making sanctuary, and are willing to let me join them.

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