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Gay Clark Jennings: reconciliation or resistance

Headshot of The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies

Gay Clark Jennings: reconciliation or resistance

In an essay on the Religion News Service and the Episcopal News Service, President of the House of Deputies, the Reverend Gay Clark Jennings discusses “Why reconciliation with President-elect Trump may be impossible for some Christians.”

Our Baptismal Covenant, she argues, will always bring us into conflict with secular power.

We might begin by examining our default response to conflict. The desire to foster “reconciliation” is deep in Christians’ bones, and it crops up in just about every statement about the election I have seen from a mainline church leader, but too often the church preaches reconciliation when what we really want is to avoid unpleasantness or get approval from worldly powers and principalities.

President-elect Trump’s rhetoric and his behavior indicate that he does not regard significant numbers of other Americans as his equal, or even as fully human.

His vice president, Mike Pence, believes in a form of conversion therapy for gay and lesbian people that has been repudiated by every mainstream psychological organization in the country and outlawed in five states.

Reconciliation, then, may be out of reach, and it may be pastorally inappropriate for the church even to suggest it to people who now have legitimate reasons to be afraid.

“Reconciliation,” writes Jennings, “is holy work. Resistance is too. We need to watch and wait to see what God is calling us to do.”

Read her article here.

Photograph of Gay Clark Jennings © MORT TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY


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Poppy St.John

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 continues to remind me that God is with us always and need not circle the proverbial psychological drain over the politics or propaganda of the last presidential election. in Why?I have hope and faith in the leadership of this nation.I believe it is an injustice to shame our president-elect’s ability to govern this land biased on his promises or personal beliefs.He has not demonstrated that he is unable to govern.Lets give our congress some credit and him a second chance as the holy spirit gave to St.Peter and St.Paul.Our congress will protect the citizens of the world from inappropriate actions and laws being set into place.

Gregory Orloff

“Our Congress will protect the citizens of the world from inappropriate actions and laws being set into place.”

With all due respect, Poppy St. John, that’s a rather naive statement. There are many cases in American history where Congress either enacted inappropriate actions and laws, or refused to stand up and oppose them when a President proposed or executed them. The round-up and interment of American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II comes to mind as one instance among many.

“Let’s give our congress some credit and him a second chance as the Holy Spirit gave to St. Peter and St. Paul.”

I don’t recall either Peter or Paul boasting about grabbing women by the private parts, branding ethnic groups as “rapists and criminals,” or boasting that they could shoot anyone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose a single vote of support.

As Christ Jesus said, “A tree is identified by its fruit” (Luke 6:44).

Geoffrey McLarney

“I believe it is an injustice to shame our president-elect’s ability to govern this land biased on his promises or personal beliefs.”

Umm, what other criterion is there for assessing someone’s ability to govern – the hair? That’s like saying it’s not fair to “shame” a physician for their medical expertise, or lack thereof.

David Allen

To the contrary, the president-elect shamed himself throughout his campaign as he revealed many times over that he was a racist, mysoginist, xenophobic, heterosexist, homophobic sexual predator.

There is no reconciliation without justice first!

Cynthia Katsarelis

I need a lot of spiritual guidance to love the enemy that is actively persecuting me (LGBT) and so many sisters and brothers of all stripes. I recognize that that is what we are called to do. It’s just hard. In relationships, you don’t reconcile with abusers who are still abusing. You can forgive them and leave.

But staying in relationship with the persecutors and loving our enemy sounds like a job for bona fide saints.

Brian Sholl

The Rev. Jennings is absolutely correct. Our future president has incited racism, homophobia and nationalist xenophobia. Our places of worship are under attack. This will continue. It’s a challenge.

And still, we must love the enemy.

“Too much Christian criticism of Marxism is the work of those whose economic position shelters them from the full impact of those destructive conflicts, who can afford the luxury of a spiritual life. ‘The book we are interested in down our way is the rent book’, said a Labour M.P. during the prayer-book debate in the House of Commons in 1927. We might be better liturgists if we better appreciated such comment on our concerns!”

Donald MacKinnon, “Christian and Marxist Dialectic”

Our love must seek the least of these, too.

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