So to recap. Post one suggests that the first thing progressive congregations need to do in response to the results of this election is to fortify the faith of their congregants by ritually and liturgically reinforcing the most progressive and compassionate aspects of their tradition.
In post two I say that along with fortifying the faithful, progressive religious communities need to make some very specific commitments, commitments that lift up a progressive vision for the world: striving for social justice, embracing different beliefs, extending warmth and welcome to everyone, showing up for civil rights, LGBTQ equality, immigration reform, environmental sustainability, reproductive justice, racial justice, and more.
The third post offered some suggestions on how a progressive people of faith can respond as individuals: defend an institution, stand out, be courageous, speak the language of faith, etc.
For this last post, I’d like to cover what may be one of the most difficult things for religious progressives to do: have a care-frontational conversation with a neighbor, family member, fellow congregant, or stranger who voted for Trump.
I was just about to get started writing this when I found John Gehring’s An open letter to white Christians who voted for Donald Trump. Gehring, the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, closes his letter with these words:
Even as I speak up for what I believe in and what I think this country stands for I’m also going to try and lower my voice. I’m going to listen to you. We should meet. The words between us will not be easy. Let’s keep faith and stumble ahead together through the fog.
“I’m going to listen to you.” That’s the last of the 10 commitments Jim Wallis makes to the readers of Sojourners, too. “We will listen to you,” he says, “and we can all listen to each other if we desire healing—and we all should.”
But as Gehring says, it “will not be easy.” So how do we begin to do this?
Thanks to Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church in New York, for giving us a place to start. Her blog post “Tools for Table Talk” offers four simple questions to get those conversations going.
- Why did you vote the way you voted?
- What were you hoping your vote would accomplish?
- How are you feeling right now?
- Is there anything we can do together?
Lewis closes her post with these words: “And then listen. Really listen.”
Amen to that.