Washington DC 2019 Alliance of Baptists Conference – 2021 reflections

In 2019 I was surprised with an invitation to Washington DC to attend the Alliance of Baptists annual conference. I had never heard of this conference, and I was certain I had to decline because there was no money for this trip in our family’s budget. Jake and I were in serious debt at this point because of medical expenses, and I could not afford a plane ticket even with the conference being free to students and housing provided. Wilshire stepped in and helped me. I am so grateful for this opportunity. It changed my life forever. It was everything in the world I ever wanted to experience in worship, and I got to do this when Trump was (still kind of is, but I hope this ends even before his final exit date) in office. I thought my faith was over because of him (and a few other reasons), but instead I found my way out of the depths and into the arms of love. This quote by Bilbo-Baggins to Frodo sums up what happened to me when I made a move to live:

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. 

Here are my original posts about this trip so I do not rehash what I have already written.

New Life in Washington D.C. – There is Life Out There (lindsaybruehl.com)

Washington D.C. After Thoughts – There is Life Out There (lindsaybruehl.com)

I want to reflect now knowing what just happened January 6, 2021 with the storming of the Capitol by domestic terrorists. Images like this will forever be in our memories and our history.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Leah Mills/Reuters
Leah Mills/Reuters

Harrowing.

My grief and depression about the 2016 election has come true, and it was coming true all along the way. None of this is surprising–other than where the hell was all of the security?

This is a far cry from my visit to the Capitol in 2019:

Look at the joy
My last day. I was tired, and I skipped the last session to sightsee.

I knew the writing was on the wall even in the pictures I took in 2019, though. My nana took me to DC for the first time when I was 11. She took all of the grandkids at 11, and we had an amazing time. The eleven-year old Lindsay who got to tour the White House and meet my reps had no idea anything could go as wrong as it has today, but 41-year old Lindsay was well-aware. This is why I took a stink-eye picture at the White House.

But something both 11-year old Lindsay and 41-year old Lindsay both saw and cared about was the massive homeless population. Both Lindsay’s were disturbed by how we just walk by people lying on the street completely helpless. This is not right, and I don’t care what the reason for it is. When I was 11, I saw a man lying in front of the fence of the White House with a sleeping bag on top of his head. The image will never leave my mind. Now, the White House will not allow homeless people anywhere near it. A large portion of the homeless population hung out at a park outside where I lodged. In the morning I would get up and go to the park and talk to the people (and they are people) and watch the squirrels play. It was a great start to my day. One time I was crossing the street, and one of my homeless friends thought I was crossing before the walk signal came on, and he yelled: Stop! It was so sweet. He cared about my safety.

What I noticed that was different from my 11-year old visit was the massive amount of MAGA hats worn! Lord, I think Texas is bad, and it is, but the tourists with MAGA hats in DC is enough to make anyone sick and wonder how anything will ever get better. I was shocked by how many were not white wearing them also. This is why we have to look at the caste system. Our privilege, no matter who we are, can deceive us from reality.

What also mortified me was watching school field trips with MAGA hats. I do not know if this was a private school leading this, because how could a public school get away with that crime, but there were young kids with leaders wearing the hats and taking pics in front of the buildings with Trump’s name on them. He did not even build those buildings. To cope, I looked at the homeless people who were not given a glance, and I sat down and watched them breathe–because they are human. They were asleep, and it was midday with crowds walking right by them as if they did not exist. I wonder how many are veterans? How do we do this to each other? This is the worst of humanity.

I got to experience the best of humanity at the Alliance of Baptists conference, though. It was multi-cultural, and there were praise dancers. All the things I was raised to believe were wrong. The bathrooms were released from gender binaries. I found my people in the Baptist community? Unbelievable. This conference is what gave (and still gives me) belief the terrible wrongs I was (and still am) witnessing at the same time will one day be no more. The sermons were powerful and called for justice. Rev. Jackie Lewis, Judge Wendell Griffen (it was supposed to be Rev. Otis Moss III, but he got snowed in Chicago (in April!)), and countless other great speakers were there. We also repented before worship. It is so incredibly powerful to start with repentance. I would add we need a few more for women, LGBTQIA+ community, the border, and so much more. But read the Land statement.

No photo description available.

I also got to hang out with one of my dearest friends in the world now, Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles. She introduced me to Rev. Scott Shirley, and we had the best time on the town. They put up with me taking pics of everything because I had not traveled in so long. It was amazing.

I also met one of my new besties Teri King in Washington. She and I have been friends via Twitter for years, and we finally met in person at the Alliance of Baptists conference. We talked for an hour and had great fun. Now we talk often on the phone to lift each other up and encourage one another. I love this dear sister.

This is us talking while I’m at Wilshire. Giving my bestie a tour. Great fun.

I pray for peace and unity, but that is going to have to come with telling the truth and repenting. Calling for unity with permission to keep oppressing is not unity at all. Lots of hard conversations are coming. Mental health is a major issue we need to talk about, and now. Militant Masculine Christianity has brought terror to our land, and it is not new. We are all seeing it above ground with permission to roam without consequence. Time is up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s