Where Do We Turn?
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
It’s been nearly a week since we were collectively saddened and horrified as we watched the Capitol be overrun, wondering what was happening and how it would end. Since then, people have retreated to their corners and taken sides, but for a moment we were unified in our disorientation.
Are you mad? Who are you mad at?
It is really hard to know how to respond in light of huge problems, and anger causes us to feel powerful. It’s easy to “go there” and camp out in outrage, but this public season in our American life also invites us toward something inner, too. It invites us to an opportunity for reflective change.
We will all have to consider what change means for us at a personal level, and we want to remind you that Kaleid exists to be a community that makes space for and encourages the collective hard work of stopping, considering, and sometimes even turning toward something different.
Here at Kaleid, we often speak of seeing ourselves, seeing others, and seeing our city through new lenses. Sometimes this invitation is a chance to gaze with more compassion; sometimes it’s an invitation to take off blinders and be aware. Gaining new insight always comes with an opportunity to be humble, turning toward the light of Christ and the love of God as we see “self, others, city” in fresh light.
Turning also sometimes includes repentance.
There is a turning that can happen when we re-consider ourselves...
A turning of our worship. We have made our politics our god. We have grounded our identity in its soil. We have come to believe our vote is the ultimate test of our faith. We think having our party in power is fundamental to our faith’s effectiveness in the world. We malign others and we make ultimate statements about them, forgetting they are complicated image-bearers with real stories and true desires, too.
Jeremiah 7 talks about the dangers of false gods and warns that our children are subject to destruction when we worship them. It is not hard to see that our children are growing up impacted by the rhetoric of ultimacy around politics in America.
Can we turn? Can we remember that, as Justin Giboney (of the &Campaign) reminds us, politics is simply a tool in the hands of men and women to get things done. There are men and women of deep faith in both parties, working within their party politics, seeking to use that tool for the common good. Tools are not gods. America is not its government. Faith is not politics.
May we consider how to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as we reconsider where we have placed our confidence, our hope, and our identity.
There is a turning that can happen when we consider others...
We can intentionally turn toward love. Because we have made our politics our god, we have come to perceive people on the “other side” as our enemies, intent on destroying a most sacred thing. We feel righteous in our scorn and contempt.
Jesus reminded us that it’s easy to love our friends but that he wants us to love our enemies. How do we do this?
At Kaleid, we believe that the answer Jesus modeled and taught lies in proximity and in relationship, in curiosity and in listening. That’s why we seek to offer opportunities to thoughtfully consider those who are “others” through our circles. We do hope you’ll join us sometime this year.
We also remember that Christ commands his followers to pray for our enemies. What if we began praying daily for those we have politically demonized? Nancy or Donald, Mitch or Kamala? (And might we consider praying for them like we would want them to pray for us...for their families, for their health, for their growth and faithfulness, for their relational and vocational flourishing, you know…sister and brother type prayers not “I hope you change” type prayers.)
There is a turning that can happen when we consider our “city.” (Or, in this case our biggest polis - our nation).
We can intentionally turn toward community. Christians love to talk about “culture” in disparaging terms, as if it is something “out there” that we must fight or overcome. We need to reckon with the fact that we are culture. We shape our own worlds. “They” are not a monolithic outside group that is out to get “us”; they are our neighbors. Together we make up the realities of our culture. Our demographic is the most prevalent in the nation and by far the most prevalent in the south (where many of us reside.) We are the culture and it is ours to lean in.
If politics is a tool in the hand of faithful men and women who love their enemies and locate their identity in God, then we are also people who can enter in as active participants within culture--those who want to listen, to learn, to act, and to engage our neighbors who are not like us, where we live.
Kaleid is not about taking political sides. We are about being a group of diverse women who are honest and humble in the face of necessary changes. Together, we do this by seeing ourselves, others, and our city (or our country) through new lenses, inviting God-who is love-to heal us and to offer healing through us, as God wills.
We love you! We look forward to being together this year for the journey.
The Kaleid Team
P.S. If you have the stomach and the inclination for reading about the recent history of white evangelicalism and politics, you might be interested in picking up Calvin University professor Dr. Kristin Kobes du Mez’s book called Jesus and John Wayne.