June 2020: Time for Justice, Time for Change
It has been a heavy and tumultuous month. We are clearly living through a time of significant upheaval and change. But some changes have been long overdue. Systemic racism and injustice have been embedded in our culture for centuries. Black and brown communities have always been aware of it. Now it seems like the rest of society is merely starting to catch up!
But in order for change to be sustainable, we will need more than just reactive anger in the moment. We will need a positive vision of the future, something that can bind us in harmony with one another, and even has the power to make peace between enemies. Without an underlying basis for justice– tribalism, exclusion, and oppression will merely manifest and re-emerge in other forms, like a game of whack-a-mole. Whenever we demonize the “other,” it becomes all too easy for even the oppressed to become the oppressor.
My thesis is simple. The world needs love. Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries calls it “radical kinship.” He says, “If kinship was our goal, we would no longer be promoting justice. We would be celebrating it!” He means that it doesn’t matter how hard we work for justice, unless we are doing it out of an undergirding sense that we are one and that we belong to each other– we might be working in vain. Or in other words: without love, we are nothing! (1 Cor 13)
My dream, through New Wine Collective, is to create spaces for people to connect with their God-given “love” nature. In Evangelical circles, we talk a lot about our “sinful” nature. But that is not our true humanity. God is love and we’re made in God’s image. Love is our true nature. Therefore, the purpose of all religion and spirituality is to simply make us more loving, to return us to our true selves. The mission of New Wine is to reimagine how we do church based around this simple premise. And already, I feel a sense of gravity and anticipation, because the implications of rethinking church in this way are deep and far-reaching.
There is a revolution of love already in motion. And this new movement of God’s Spirit will not fit into our old forms and containers. I suspect we will need to do a lot of unlearning before we can even perceive what God is doing. The Church is changing, like it or not. It is moving and expanding once again to the margins and outskirts, pushing boundaries, and breaking down barriers. All signs are pointing to the time being now for something new to happen. The question is, will we be ready?