In light of the various ways the message of Christ has been co-opted by the political movements in our nation- movements that are often built on nationalism, ethnocentrism, exclusion, and closed mindedness- it has become increasingly clear how important communities like Oak Life are.
This is a call to action for Oak Life to keep being what it is, to help create a new wineskin for Christian engagement in our society. Below that is a statement of solidarity with those who have been subject to prejudice and marginalization.
Oak Life Church,
You are more needed than ever.
Your inclusive, thoughtful, sincere, welcoming, and grace-oriented spirit has the power to heal and reconcile more than you probably know.
While so many have taken the the label 'Christian' and tangled it with fear based politics and the the exploitative ambition for power, you've stayed compassionate, open, humble, and embracing of those on the margins.
Though you are not polished, though you are still young, and you can't yet pay your own bills,
You are beautifully walking the messy path of love in a world that all to often defaults to ethnocentrism, exclusivity, judgement, and rejection of the "other".
You are gritty, eclectic, honest, and diverse.
You are the antidote to religious expressions that are more concerned with the comfort of the majority, the building of institutions, and the vice of nationalism than concern for the poor, commitment to justice, or openness to mystery.
I have seen the potential of our community, and I'm more convinced than ever that what is being formed in our midst is urgently needed in our world.
You are a new wineskin, the rays of light shinning from a fresh sunrise on a broken, divided, and tired land.
You are a vessel of peace, a place of safety, and the very body of God incarnate- the hands and feet of Christ.
Your branches provide perch and shade for the lost, wounded, and weary.
And your roots offer nourishment to hungry souls.
Keep asking the tough questions.
Keep believing that our faith is strong enough for doubts.
Keep loving the outsider.
Keep loving your enemies.
Keep praying for peace.
Keep entering into the pain others.
Keep allowing the Spirit of God to breath life into you.
Don't grow weary.
If you're frustrated by the church, let's build something new.
Let's keep this thing going. Let's write history.
Let's show the world what what Christ's love looks like.
"We believe that Jesus loves, supports, and weeps for the hurts of people regardless of their political affiliation, age, gender, race, class background, sexual orientation, gender orientation or spiritual choices. We strive to do the same. When we fail, we pray that God would give us the wisdom to grow past our failure."