Citizenship and Discipleship

Brian Kemp-Schlemmer, City Square Church

City Square is a non-partisan community of faith. We are a safe place for everyone, regardless of political ideology or affiliation. That doesn’t mean we are apolitical.

In a democratic society our laws are a reflection of our values as a people.

As Christians, we are followers of a God who shows up in flesh, touches people, eats real food, heals physical brokenness as well as spiritual brokenness.

We value bodies.

Then, the God we follow allowed himself/herself to become the victim of violence and murder rather than respond with violence and murder. Jesus became a reflection of God’s grace and love and commitment to reconciliation with the world, even in the midst of death.

We value God’s grace and love and commitment to reconciliation, even more than our own bodies.

Truthfully, most of us are not ready to lay down our bodies in order to take up God’s call in our lives, but it is the heart of the Christian message. We are a people struggling to be our best selves, the people God created us to be, regardless of what others do to us or around us.

That does not mean we are passive.

Family Systems Theory suggests that the only way to heal dysfunctional family systems is to act as a healthy, non-anxious presence. In response, the system of which we are a part will either learn to act in healthy ways, transforming or exiting unhealthy elements within it, or it will exit us.

It exited Jesus. It will often exit us.

When we see mass killings like the one we saw in Orlando over the weekend it is clear that we are living in a dysfunctional family system. Our choices then are to either continue to live as the healthy, non-anxious presence we are striving to become, or allow ourselves to be shaped by, and ultimately become one of, the unhealthy elements within this system.

We will not allow ourselves to be shaped by acts of evil.

Our hope is not in our ability to defend ours bodies or to overcome violence with violence. Our hope is in the belief that we are part of something bigger than our own bodies, that we have the power to resist our own smallness and fear, and that we can be the people we feel called to be, even in the face of death.

Real power is the ability to be unmoved in the face of coercive power.

If you, like me, are a follower of Jesus I pray this post reminds you of who we are and who we are called to be(come): individuals and communities unwilling to sacrifice our commitment to God’s grace, love, and commitment to reconciliation in the pursuit of self defense.

If you are not a follower of Jesus this post is an invitation to join me on a journey toward becoming a healthy, non-anxious presence in the midst of this dysfunctional system.

Whoever you are, I hope you’ll remember that our laws are a reflection of our values. If you value healthy, life-giving communities where all people have the ability to live into their best selves I hope you will share those values – lovingly and firmly – with your loved ones, your neighbors, and especially with your elected officials.

You don’t have to win any debates. You don’t have to pass any judgement. You just have to be a healthy, non-anxious presence in the midst of an unhealthy, fearful world. That is enough.

Here is a link to the non-partisan Americans for Responsible Solutions where you can find contact information for your elected officials as well as other resources to share your values with the world. Take what you need, leave the rest behind, but know you’re not alone on this journey. 

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