by Hye Sung
I'm glad you don't hate gay people. I'm glad you think Black Lives Matter. I'm glad you're inclusive, welcoming, affirming - I'm glad you're the good kind of religious people.
But you're not.
A lot of us had to learn that the hard way.
We had to learn that we were counted as members in order to reach a quota. We were present so the pastor, the church, the denomination, looked good. Open-minded. Liberal. Progressive.
Our gifts were used, flaunted even, and we were constantly affirmed. Told we were needed, necessary, and we were thanked. Over and over again. For what? For showing up. Without saying a word, we were counted prophets.
Until we noticed how you spoke to our immigrant mothers in broken English, or that your missions program was deeply problematic, or that the whole staff was white - and we said something. And then, we were no longer told we were prophets. Instead, we were trouble.
Sometimes we were patted, thanked for speaking our truth, told our words mattered and that they'd spill into the board meeting. But nothing happened. We were just politely hushed.
And then so many of us realized what was happening, wondered why are we even here anyway?
We fell in love with Jesus - who centered and glorified those on the margins. We fell in love with Jesus, but maybe not your Jesus.
It felt good to hear his words from the pulpit, it set fire under our feet, a burning in our chest, but then we looked around the congregation and wondered who here would die for me?
And when we realized that we couldn't be confident that our fellow church members would share their wealth, their privilege, or their lives with their siblings in Christ, that's when we also realized they probably aren't our siblings. And this is probably not a church. At least not the one Jesus formed.
We want the Church of Jesus. A church that feeds the hungry, frees prisoners, cancels debts. A church that is aware and awake to the suffering around them and determined to dismantle and destroy every system causing this suffering. A church led by and for those so often pushed down and out. A church that embodies Love, a church that embodies Jesus.
That's not what you offer. Your seminaries, your liturgies, and your churches weren't made for us. Not even your gospel is for us. I'm not the only one that's left the white liberal church, and I won't be the last. We're done with your churches and we're not coming back. And I'll let you know - we're finding each other and we're building something better. Truer.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.