Post #3–Part 2
How These Truths I Am Sharing Can Also Be Used by the Opponent To Prop Up Anti-Life Agenda
Okay, finally to the post I have been trying to get to for days but more background info kept popping up that felt more important to share first. Yesterday’s post was raw and hard. It was also carefully thought through and edited many times. I am sure you can find lots of grammar errors and edits that might still be needed, but these posts are coming from my heart. I am editing the emotions, because in the past I overshared. I do not regret it, though. We have been a nation/state/city/faith organization/institution that has held way too much back to uphold the status quo. Don’t rock anyone’s boat. Finding the right amount to share that is good for me spiritually but also still challenging the status quo is really hard. Overcorrection comes first. I have worked hard to get to this point where I have a little more wisdom and critical thinking in place before sharing. I want you to know these posts are carefully put together. I am not just throwing around my opinions and reactions with no regard to how you or I might feel afterwards. I want these posts to be healing, not destructive. To promote restoration and reparation, not further division.
I shared yesterday’s post to amplify how invisible I have felt for years. And now I know I am not alone. For the longest time I thought it was honorable. I was taught it was honorable in church. Women do things for others and do not need any credit. But apparently men do, and there is no problem with that. OY! Most women, girls, men, and boys are taught this. The gender spectrum is completely erased because power does not want something to exist that is not binary. It thrives off either/or. But I say this: We are SAVED by it!
This is a life or death situation, and it needs to be taken more seriously. I want to be known and heard. Women are finding a lot more information about our healthcare (like menopause) that probably was known long, long ago but that knowledge was lost because—-Patriachy. Patriarchy is the deadliest principality worldwide, and most churches, even progressive ones, still abide by its rules. It is the air we breathe.
It is time to take how deadly patriarchy is to all of us more seriously.
I was asking a leader from my former church here in Norman about how the church is doing now. When I ask this question, I actually care. When I hear struggles, I am saddened. I have fond memories of this church, despite bad theology, because I was deeply connected to the people. They saved our lives through so many trials by staying by our side. As you can see, I am still connected to them. And it has been years since we last talked, but it felt like yesterday.
Here is what I learned, and if I was someone who was taken seriously by the church, I would offer my expertise. I have studied what he shared as the problem.
The church, like so many others, is struggling after Covid shutdown. This person believes the shutdown is causing the problem with people not returning, because the churches that did not shut down are fairing better.
I have a response to this, and it is a response with research behind it. This response was not available to me in the moment because he was not asking me for it, but I am going to share it here. This is how my previous posts can be weaponized for anti-life agenda.
But first let me say this and ask for your help in uplifting the churches that did the right thing and shut down to save lives:
I want to give a shout out to every church I have attended as a member (well, I am not sure about Jenks—maybe not that one—correct me if it did) who shut down for an extended period of time during Covid. I am so proud of you. I hope my readers will send a message of encouragement to you too. It was not easy and it was costly, but it was the right thing to do. The fallout, ex. mental health problems, was going to happen anyway because death was happening by staying open! And our most vulnerable members needed our friendship in this matter—ableism was being exposed by our responses too. We are a nation that has not taken public health seriously—there will be another pandemic, friends. I am a leader who can face reality and trust God AND the people who are working in their fields faithfully to keep us as safe as they possibly can. I also have no problem with the information changing as they learn more. We are all doing the best we can in the moment with the information that we have in the moment. We are supposed to change when we know more!
Because we have not taken public health seriously—we were warned about a vaccine needed long before Covid got here—the shutdown was the only option we had to save the most lives. I understand the disconnection this caused for people, especially in nursing homes, and it was tragic. But the thing is, nursing homes was also one of the places where death was ravaging during Covid. It was an impossible situation, and something we need to keep reflecting on because we WILL face another pandemic. I do not say this to cause fear, but to ground us to be more reasonable next time. To trust people who are doing the best they can and are trained in a field that you are not. There is plenty of disagreement in the science community; let them work it out with their peer-reviewed research. And let them change as the data reveals new things.
I do that with my theology all the time! It is not a lack of faith; it is abundant faith to change. There is NO certainty in any field. My job is to help people embrace that reality. I like what Pappy, Father Joe Ted Miller, says: God is the something more we keep seeking and finding. We will never know everything, but when we know more, there will be more to discover after that. Embrace it. Life is a journey. We have to face hard things about life too.
Okay to my response now. Here is what I would say:
Your numbers declining is not Covid. Covid may have been the catalyst for the decline, but it is not the cause. The churches that did not shutdown understand that; that is why they did not shut down. They know they rely on the system of oppression for connection as Kate Johnson talks about in her book “Radical Friendship.” They did not want their people at home rethinking life and discovering some things are not right—“Rest is Resistance” by Tricia Hersey has a word here. You are blessed because you did the right thing and are discovering changes need to be made to become a better friend to your members and to the community. Winning in the faith world is different than how the world defines it.
Maybe losing is winning. I have been saying that for a while.