It has been some months since I reviewed Bishop Mark Seitz’s pastoral letter on racism. As I was reading of death threats against brother and sister election workers in Georgia, I grew angry. It shows that people in power in the US have more of a sense of being boss than being a leader. There is a significant difference.
A social media friend on the opposite ideological side thinks a reckoning is coming for the pains of same-sex marriage, metoo, BLM, and all the so-called liberal causes. Funny, but I never got that gay people wanted heterosexuals to abandon their marriages and shack up with them. It was more about women, people of color and others just don’t want to get killed, burned out of their business, or raped. That’s something any virtuous man, white or otherwise, should support. It’s chivalry, if nothing else. I might cluck at my friend for his abandonment of traditional courtesy, but it might go over his head.
Anyway, paragraph 62 struck me tonight:
The Need for New Leadership
62. This historical moment also requires a new kind of leadership to which I believe our border community can make a real contribution. In all fields, Latinos have risen to the heights of power. We should not fear power. Power has been given to us as stewards by our God, who asks of us to be co-creators in bringing about His Reign. But we must learn the use of power in new, creative and grace-filled ways, not reproducing the tactics and methods of domination and division that belong to the oppressor.
Seems clear. We cannot persist in cycles of victory and defeat. Many politicians no longer work for the public good. It’s about the perks and privileges of office. They don’t want to be spoken to with firmness and skepticism. They want to do the bossing. Underlings, defeated opponents, the rest of the 99%.
What is the Christian approach, new ways for Latinos, blacks, women and others?
This will require us to stand beside the poor as they find their voice and to take a supportive role in their work for justice. We must build each other up rather than seeking to outsmart and outflank; that is not the way of true leadership or of love. Love is spontaneous, unselfish, full of surprise, life-giving and forgiving. If we are to move our borderlands towards a reconciled community beyond faction and resentment, we must commit ourselves to a love which is not merely self-directed, a love which we must learn at the feet of Jesus of Nazareth.
When the US can claim some experience and skill in this, then perhaps we will be noted as a Christian nation. We are very very far from it today. And we are not getting any closer.