Frozen Fountain Houston Texas February 2021
Frozen Fountain Houston Texas February 2021
Frozen Fountain Houston Texas February 2021

I'm Sorry for Your Loss

Tim Sledge

When I was an evangelical Christian, my faith led me toward compassion for hurting people, acceptance of all ethnic groups, and a sense of being part of an international family of believers. That same faith called me to a sense of stewardship of the earth's natural resources, and it taught me not to blame other people for my own mistakes. And this was not my own custom-built version of faith. I learned these values in church and from teachers in college and seminary.

I failed to live up to these values numerous times, but they were my targets.

I'm perplexed that a majority of white conservative Christians in the US are now linked with a worldview that doesn't just lack empathy for those in need, but actually scorns them. I’m writing about those who are offended by the idea that Black Lives Matter and prefer the slogan Blue Lives Matter—but when their tribe stomps, tortures, and kills police, that's okay. I’m writing about those who think God loves the US more than any other country, use their belief in end-time prophecies to deny and discredit global climate change, and are better at blaming than taking responsibility.

Adherents of this ideological approach are fueled by prophets of anger, entitlement, and tribalism. They have accepted a demonization of those who do not think like them which allows the use of apparently any means to exert their control over the direction of our society. And the irony of ironies is that in their devotion to Donald Trump, they have married themselves to a man who embodies the complete opposite of every major value taught by Jesus.

I know that not all conservative Christians think this way, but the election of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the strong support of a majority of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics.

If you are part of this group, you are now linked to a riotous attempt to stop the results of a fair-and-square election. You are not a patriot—patriots oppose autocrats. Large numbers of mask-free individuals from your tribe live out an obstinate denial of a worldwide pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands, one more expression of your new callousness toward the suffering of others.

This week in Texas, millions of us have spent days without power during a historic wave of cold weather—not an unlikely symptom of global climate change. As the ice melted and we ventured out, we found traffic lights off with gas stations, grocery stores, and pretty much everything else closed. We’ve had families huddling in their cars to stay warm while wondering when they can fuel up again, and yes, there have been some deaths from house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning as people tried to find ways to stay warm.

All of this has taken place under the clumsy and willfully ignorant leadership of a governor loved by the conservative Christian crowd, a governor who has pledged to fight Joe Biden’s energy and climate agenda, a governor who, in January, signed an executive order directing state agencies to challenge any federal action that threatens the Texas energy sector. This governor responded to the current freezing crisis by saying he would order an investigation, by appearing on TV to rail against green energy, but mostly by leaving us all out in the cold and acting like someone else was in charge.

And just when it seemed no one could offer a better example of a disconnected and apathetic leader, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, an alumnus of Houston's Second Baptist Church high school, stepped up to the plate with a family vacation to sunny Cancun as the crisis continued to unfold with reports of additional cold-related deaths and unresolved problems with power and water. Caught enroute by a flurry of iPhone snapshots, the senator lied about how long he had planned to stay, and returned to Houston the next day.

I’m not a Christian anymore, and I am a flawed human. But I am still driven by compassion for hurting people, acceptance of all ethnic groups, and a sense of being part of the human family. I have a sense of urgency about the need to see ourselves as stewards of the earth's natural resources. I believe in telling the truth, and I’m an advocate of sensible, compassionate leadership by our elected officials.

My question to my former family of faith is: What happened to you?

And, while waiting for your answer, I have to say: I’m sorry for your loss.

What loss, you ask?

I’m sorry for your loss of the ability to perceive what is real and what isn’t, what is good and what is bad, what is true and what is false.

February 17-19, 2021 - Tim Sledge Copyright © 2021 Insighting Growth Publications

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