John Pavlovitz’s Manifesto of Christian Resistances
Sometime truth is just volume. The loud people get to write the story that everyone hears, the one they come to believe is the only story.
In this way, they get to define what is true for those looking on who may not hear anything else.
Right now there is a story being written about Christians in America; a story saturated with cruelty, one absent of compassion, and because the author’s volume is so great and their profile so high—that is becoming the singular story. It is becoming true for all of us.
But that is not our story. There is another story. There is a different kind of Christian. We are such people.
We are Christians who have no tolerance for bigotry that denies the inherent worth of a human based on their pigmentation or orientation—especially when it commandeers the name of Jesus to do it. Dehumanizing language would be a foreign tongue to him, threat of violence toward others unthinkable, coordinated bullying an abomination.
We recognize that virtually nothing about this Administration or Republican leadership resembles Jesus of Nazareth, and we reject any claim that he would sanction the expelling of immigrants, the rejection of refugees, or the walling off of foreign neighbors. These things are the antithesis of the open-hearted Gospel of welcome and care for the other.
We see the white supremacy and fascism currently being championed from the Oval Office, in pulpits, and through partisan, extremist media—and we fight any effort to normalize it, because such hatred has no business being spoken in the same breath as Jesus who preached peace.
We condemn the reckless vilification of Muslims, believing their faith tradition as rich and important and worthy of respect as our own. No religion has a monopoly on truth or on terrorism—and we stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters being assailed by this President simply because of the faith they claim; one as meaningful to them as ours is to us.
We see in the Scriptures, Jesus’ clear disdain for religious hypocrisy; those who leveraged their position and other’s fear of God in order to victimize people. We reject the extremists of the Christian Right who would build a theocracy here and coerce people into compliance—because the heart of this and all faiths, is free decision.
We affirm the rights of women to have sovereignty over their own bodies, and we oppose men who would assert their preferences, prejudices, or religious beliefs upon them, whether individually or corporately, through personal conduct or legislation.
We have read and studied the Bible, and we know when someone is twisting it to their advantage, when they’re distorting it to oppress and discriminate, when they are making God in their own angry image—and we believe this is happening more egregiously than ever in America in the highest levels of Government and Church leadership.
We know that imperfect people build corrupt systems, and that the American Church is systemically afflicted with supremacy that needs to be eradicated; that its leadership needs voices of historically marginalized communities in order to heal it.
We openly oppose the Evangelists, pastors, and preachers who’ve allowed their callings to be usurped by ambition; those who now so easily bow before a President who hasn’t the slightest desire to reflect Jesus.
We denounce the violence, misogyny, and nationalism characterizing American Evangelical Christianity, as it bears no commonality with a Jesus whose life and ministry were marked by diversity, compassion, and radical hospitality to the outsider.
We are not defined by solely by any Christians denomination, category, or movement. We are not merely Evangelical or Mainline, Charismatic or Contemplative. Our convictions and declarations transcend political party and they are bigger than one politician. They are a Christianity of fierce, loving resistance: to fear, to patriarchy, to exclusion, to nationalism, to white supremacy, to power, to isolationism.
You may not realize such Christians still exist anymore, in fact on many days we begin to feel as though we are a terribly endangered species too, that perhaps we are alone in these days—but that is merely the volume of the other story-writers fooling us. Make no mistake though, we number in the tens of millions and we are as grieved as you are by those using God to do damage to the poor and the vulnerable. We’re committed to pushing back against it.
So yes, there is certainly a loud and quite terrible story being written by people professing faith in Jesus right now; one that seems preoccupied with making the table smaller, with pushing difference to the periphery, with dispensing damnation and with marginalizing those already at disadvantage.
There is a Christian story of misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry that has the megaphone and the platform right now. This is not the story we want speaking for us.
We are Christians of compassion and hospitality and diversity, fully committed to making a nation that can be sanctuary and refuge for everyone who desires it, a nation where compliance with one faith tradition is not a mandatory requirement for admission, one whose burdened is to build bigger tables not higher walls.
You may find this all encouraging or worrisome, depending on who you are. We are Christians actively, relentlessly, and fully resisting hatred. And we’re not going away.
Originally published on johnpavlovitz.com as A Manifesto of Resistance Christians
John Pavlovitz launched an online ministry to help connect people who want community, encouragement, and to grow spiritually. Individuals who want to support his work can sponsor his mission on Patreon, and help the very real pastoral missionary expand its impact in the world.