By Rev. Alexis Lillie
In the rollercoaster that was the two weeks between the Capitol riot and the inauguration, many of us experienced a wide range of emotions. Coincidentally, at Church of the Village we had just launched a virtual preaching series at the beginning of January focused on “Faith and Politics” from a progressive, radically inclusive perspective. The series features voices like Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. Dr. Jim Forbes, senior minister emeritus of Riverside Church, and Rev. Dr. Traci West, professor of social ethics at Drew University Theological School, along with Church of the Village pastors.
As we watched the mob storm the Capitol Building—some participants carrying banners and signs linking Trump, God, and the Christian religion—it felt very relevant that the Church of the Village continue our long tradition of prophetic dissent. It seemed important to do the honest and difficult work of naming our place in a religious tradition that has condoned racism and white supremacy while we also denounce these forces and seek to dismantle them.
And it feels crucial to recognize that the intersection of faith and politics can also evoke feelings of fear, disgust, determination, hopefulness, and more. As progressive people of faith we are drawn to engage with and impact “the political community,” rooting ourselves in the gospel message to love our neighbors, do justice, and care for the vulnerable. How can we build bridges across our current divides and work toward the flourishing of all people while centering those on the margins? How can our voices and actions move society toward this vision of love and justice for humanity? How can we be part of a religious tradition that has not done this work well, while also standing apart and forging a new way?
We began this thorny work by hearing from our lead pastor, Rev. Jeff Wells, the Sunday after the riot, as we gathered virtually to lament and reflect on “The Politics of God.” Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis joined us the following Sunday to talk about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy as “A Moral Revolution of Values,” which calls us to act on the belief that the elimination of poverty is possible. All of our worship video recordings are available at Facebook.com/churchofthevillage/videos, and most sermon manuscripts are available at https://www.churchofthevillage.org/sermons.
In the coming weeks the community will be led by additional voices offering up their perspectives on how faith and politics can justly intersect. Associate Pastor Rev. Alexis Lillie will speak on gender justice, using ancient wisdom in the fight against patriarchy; on Feb 7th we’ll hear from Rev. Dr. Traci West; on Feb. 14th lead pastor Jeff Wells will finish out the series.
Join the Church of the Village on these dates, and any Sundays, at 10:30 a.m. EST via Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/262331126) or at facebook.com/churchofthevillage; more information on this series and all our ministries can be found at our website www.churchofthevillage.org and our Facebook page. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!