During his inaugural address, Donald Trump cautioned the nation against fear, saying we'd be protected by law enforcement, the military, and God.
But one might wonder: are God's people living in unity at present?
Take Two put that question to two guests:
- Mike Kinman, rector at All Saints Church in Pasadena
- Kevin Mannoia, campus chaplain at Azusa Pacific University
(Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.)
Mike Kinman, the title of the sermon that was delivered in your church yesterday — it pretty clearly indicates what you all are feeling right now. The sermon was dubbed, "The Call to Sacred Resistance." Can you sum up the spirit of that?
First of all, the term "sacred resistance" recognizes that across faiths, we have a common sacred call to resist evil. So what is evil? We're really clear that evil isn't necessarily about people being evil, but it is what Dr. King called the 'evil that infects the human heart.' It is about resisting systems that oppress, resisting systems that deny the dignity of every human being, resisting systems that do violence to images of God in every form.
This has always been a call for people of faith, it's a call for me as a Christian, in that way, there's nothing new going on here. What we see in this administration — in a unique way in my lifetime — is specific threats to images of God, particularly those who are some of our most marginalized, targeted and oppressed. We feel that we really need to mobilize for their protection.
Kevin Mannoia, as I understand it, you were speaking to pastors and retired members of the military this weekend. What message did you deliver to them about this next chapter in our history?
So the focus was clearly on teaching the word but in comments, trying to convey that we certainly recognize that there's been a rather significant change. It's been a rather difficult election series, and we certainly want to come to a point where we pray for our nation, we pray for our leaders, we pray for one another, irrespective of the political differences that may divide us.
We want to begin with the assumption that we are committed to each other relationally, as Mike said, committed to the dignity of every human being so in the world we create, there are no handicaps for everyone, irrespective of ethnicity, race, gender, religion. We call people to that kind of unity in peace, starting with a committment to relationship.
Certainly, there is a time and a place for civil disobedience, we see that in history and the church has always been engaged in that when necessary, but my hope is that we will begin with a call to graceful engagement before we take a step toward divisive argumentative kind of polemics.
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