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Monday, May 9, 2011

A Closed Government and an Empty Church

We avoided a government shutdown! In cities across the United States, citizens celebrated government workers, high-fiving their mail person, calling their local congress people to congratulate them on doing their job from last year, and as always, we collectively knelt in front of the altar of Barack Obama in reverence of Hope. Meanwhile in Wisconsin they turn out 100,000 people to hold their public officials accountable and imagine a different polis. I, like most people in the U.S.A., used the government shut down as a conversation piece, simple coffee-talk. Overwhelmed by the details of what is in the budget, both the public media and street pundits pick their least favorite part of the government to cut: social security, defense spending, healthcare, etc. As people of faith, what is our role in the debate? Wearing my What Would Jesus Cut wristband, I wonder what Jesus would cut, knowing full well that the Jesus in scripture never asks this question or one like it. If we are to carry the weight of our tradition forward, if our Church politics and local theologies are going to matter, can we really allow 13 Billion dollars to be cut from the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services? Do we really not have a problem with the rhetoric of our politicians: “We avoided terminating 60,000 children from the Head Start Program.” ‘Terminating children,’ even if only from programs, should wrench our hearts and stir our Christian collective conscious to remember the ‘terminated’ children in scripture. From the numbers to the words, the language of politics is disturbing to say the least, but the worst of it is the failure of faith communities to speak the language of justice, love and Good News in these times. A faith that does not proclaim love in politics is the faith that empties pews across this Country. For those that have the courage to speak, thank you. For the silent, the powers that be thank you for your compliance.

Patrick Reyes -

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