God is in charge.
I have no doubt of that truth. I’ll stake my life on it.
But I’m not sure it means what we think it means. For the people around me — white, middle and upper middle class church people — what I hear when I listen between the lines is this: “Oh, yes, this election is disappointing, (or for some, encouraging) and there may be some things happen that I don’t like or that I will disagree with, maybe even some things that will be inconvenient for me, but it will all come out in the wash. It will be fine, because after all, God is in charge.”
That sentiment itself is privilege. Sure, it will probably be fine for me and people like me. But there’s a whole lot of people who are at much greater risk this morning than they were yesterday morning, at least if the president-elect chooses to keep his xenophic, homophobic promises for the privileged.
To all the people out there who look like me, can you imagine what it would have been like to wake up this morning Muslim? Or Mexican? or LGBQT? Or any of the other people who have been demeaned in this campaign? Imagining that things will be all right is a luxury that none these, our siblings, are afforded.
And there’s more. Believing that God is in charge has never meant that we can escape the consequences of our active participation in or complicity in evil. To target and implicate as terrorists an entire religion is evil. To act on the premise that women are objects for the sexual gratification of men is evil. To refuse to welcome to the stranger is evil. To treat LGBQT persons and their intimate relationships as if they are not as fully human and therefore not valid is evil.
Got any notion what happens when God’s people are participants in or complicit with evil? If you need a review, read through Isaiah again or Micah or Amos, or, for that matter any of the Old Testament prophets. Oh, God is in charge all right.
I think it might be time for the church of Jesus Christ — dare I say the white church? — to put on some sackcloth and ashes. There’s enough sackcloth to go around for those who wear blue and those who wear red. Because this isn’t about party loyalty; this is about being honest about who we are as a people. And the evil to which we have become complicit. It’s time for a gut check about what we mean when we confess “Jesus is Lord.” Maybe a little sackcloth and ashes could bring the freedom that would empower us as church to do better. To live as if we truly are the body of Christ. To take the ethical implications what has too long been a privatized faith and live it as if we really believed it.
Whether we do or we don’t, God is still in charge. It just might not mean what you think it means.