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The Push of the Ashes: A Manifesto of Defiance for Clergy Colleagues

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The words of ash and dust on this day are intended to usher us into a space of mourning and repentance toward God…but who is placing the ashes on our churches?  The churches that dot our landscapes have become consistently consistent at discarding the least of these for a false sense of unity.  The words on everyone’s lips are “let’s stay together” and yet nobody realizes that there are thick black crosses on our foreheads calling us to mourning and repentance.  You cannot love your neighbor as your self by appeasing their oppressor.  You cannot love your neighbor as your self by following oppressive guidelines and laws that take away their dignity and worth.  How much longer are we going to ask people to wait their turn for justice and inclusion?  Enough is enough.  Look to the ashes, mourn and repent.

 

It is not enough to talk about where you are personally anymore nor was it ever.  It is not enough to talk about your nostalgia for your church homes nor was it ever.  It is not enough to speak as if division is to high a price to pay for justice nor was it ever.  The time for justice and inclusion was yesterday.  Jesus has placed a thick black cross on our foreheads this day and is calling for us to use it as a motivation to love our neighbors as our self.  I call on all of my fellow clergy to stop playing games and follow Jesus.  False unity is not worth sacrificing justice anymore nor was it ever.  Inclusion in the church and the love of Jesus is not something that anyone should have to line up for.

 

There are many who are afraid that defying their churches will lead them to a place of losing their orders and credentials.  To them I say…if your orders and credentials do not allow you to love and include all people then they were not from Jesus in the first place.  The institutions and the buildings should never be enough to keep us from following Jesus and loving our neighbors.

 

The ashes should not only push to mourning and repentance…but also to defiance.

 

On this Wednesday of Ashes, I recommit the entirety of my being to standing with Jesus in defiance of injustice, bigotry and oppression no matter what form it takes and what it costs.  I pray that you will join me.

 

Amen.

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