To my friends and family that find themselves in a place of vulnerability,
It has been over a week since America voted to elect a new president. I have questioned a lot in the days that have followed, including the direction that our country is headed and even my own beliefs on certain issues. But I have not questioned my resolve to stand up for you, dear friend. In fact, in seeing the hateful actions of some (including those in my own tribe), I am evermore committed to advocating on your behalf. Here are some of the ways that I intend to do that. It may not be enough, but I promise to give it my best shot.
To my black friends, I acknowledge that your lives do matter. I commit myself to speaking out against all forms of racism in general, and systemic racism in particular. I repent of my own white privilege and intend to use my place of privilege to raise awareness about all of the ways that our country continues to oppress people of color. I also am sorry to see the hate-filled actions that have occurred in the past week. Please know that I am grieving with you because when one member suffers, we all suffer (1 Corinthians 12:26).
To the unborn, I am committed to standing up for your rights, particularly because you are the most vulnerable. But my commitment does not end when you are born. I will advocate for you throughout your life, and even take you into my own home if your life becomes unsafe. I will raise awareness of the need in our country for families and churches to become advocates for the foster/adoption community. (FYI in 2014 650,000 kids spent time in the foster care system in America.)
To my brother earth and sister moon, I am writing this letter as the smoke from wildfires in my area serves as a reminder of how endangered and vulnerable you are. Some have even suggested that our changing climate is a hoax, but that doesn’t change how I will support you. I support you because I believe that you are a reflection of our Creator, and that through you I can know something about the divine nature of God (Romans 1:20). Thank you for this gift.
To my friends who are immigrants (including refugees), I am grieving with you. I am so sorry that you are being targeted by hate. We Christians have a long history of welcoming the stranger, and I have even spoken on this at length prior to the election. My resolve has not changed. I’m committed to standing with you.
To my LGBTQ friends, you have an advocate in me. I support you. I stand with you. I can do this because you are my neighbor (and brother and sister), and I intend to take Jesus seriously as he tells me to love you as I love myself (Matthew 22:39).
To my friends who are Muslim, I’m also sorry that you are being targeted by hate and threats. Please know that my faith in God is strong enough to welcome you and show you hospitality. This is the least we can do. As a person of faith myself, I can appreciate your beliefs, even when they diverge from my own.
To all women, my heart aches for you. I will not stand for misogyny. I refuse to normalize talk of sexual assault as “locker room” conversation, and I commit to fighting for you. My own faith and call to ministry was nurtured by strong Christian leaders including my mom, Michelle Chappell, Brooke Turner, Sally Queen, and Ka’thy Gore Chappell, among others. I am thankful to God for the role of women in my life and I will do everything in my power to continue to advocate for all women. We’ve got a long way to go, but I’m with you all the way.
I know it may not seem like a lot, but you’ve got my best.
Learn to do good.
help the oppressed;
defend the orphan;
plead for the widow.