“You’re smarter than that.” “Don’t drink the Kool Aid.”
Yes, these are the kind of things my angry acquaintances, a family member, and even a former boss of mine, (mostly through social media) say to me, and likewise, my friends’ acquaintances say to them, when they see us taking arrests, making some noise, and calling Illinois’ Governor Bruce Rauner to repentance, to change his ways, to open his ears to the cry of the poor and not to cut services for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the mentally ill; not to cut transportation, violence intervention, rehab, detox, education, before and after school programs, immigration and refugee services, cancer care, healthcare for our seniors and the disabled, and so on; not to kill and impoverish people through systematic acts of economic violence.
This is what they say when we say “Rauner, repent! Tax Corporations and the 1%.”
They say: “You’re smarter than that.” “Don’t drink the Kool Aid.”
Friends, these people who say these things are deeply misguided and deeply deficient in their capacity for compassion, empathy, and other traits the deeply spiritual among us aspire toward.
Christians?—these folks who claim to be, are either lying, (they are actually of some new religion that loves seeing poor people die) or they are deeply confused (misled, co-opted, drinking their own Kool Aid?). See, Christianity, if it is following Jesus as the Christ, is only Christianity if it stands on the side of the poor—like Jesus did (point of clarification Jesus called "the Christ" is the guy the faith was named after). If a Christian speaks against the poor, or actively hates them, that Christian is being anti-Christ, and, well, un-Christian. It’s not very complex. Christ’s teachings are pretty simple and straight-forward around this. “Whatever you did unto the least of these… you did unto me.” “Blessed are the poor,” for they one day will be poor no more, because there is no poverty in the Kingdom—the Kingdom of God that is at hand. That you are invited into now by way of repentance. “Repent! The Kingdom is near.” These are the words with which Jesus, by way of John the Baptist begins his ministry. “Repent,” be transformed. God’s reign means the last become first and the lowly become exalted, and everyone gets to eat, and live, and have dignity. So change what you’re doing. Repent. For here comes the Kingdom, and it’s best if you’re in accord.
Rauner, repent! The kingdom of God is near, and the call of anyone, and anyone in power, is to respond accordingly—to live into the kingdom, to use your power to feed the hungry, care for the poor, and in so doing serve Christ, your Lord, your Governor, your magistrate. Repent. It’s not too late. You can feed the hungry and heal the sick if only you repent and use your power to take the wealth and resources that are hoarded away in silos, in loop-holes, in un-taxed corporate pocket-books and piggy banks, in wine clubs where the rich get drunk on the salaries of the working class.
Repent! And, dude, hurry up.
People are suffering. People are dying. And it’s because of your agenda.
Don’t drink the Kool Aid? You’re smarter than that?
Well, you who claim to be “smart” and (I guess?) sugar free (?), learn this: for Christians (though this ethic is in no way limited to the Christian faith), the vantage point to which we are called and from which we are called to see the world is the cross. We see from the cross. It is to the cross Christ calls all of his disciples as they learn to follow. That’s actually where they follow him to. And the framework through which we see as we stand in the place of suffering and passion and isolation, is Love—com-passion, solidarity, liberation. Love is our lens as we look from the cross. Love is our source and our destination, our beginning and our end. Love overcomes death. It resurrects. “God is love. And all who abide in love abide in God (1 John 4:16).” “Those who don’t love, don’t know God (1 John 4:8).”
Compassion, solidarity, liberation, Love…
That’s not Kool Aid, folks.
The body and blood of Christ, crucified, resurrected.
Standing together, in love, at the crosses of our time, the places of the skull, whoever and wherever they are and however they manifest—standing together: this is the body broken, given, resurrecting.
This is a foretaste of the Feast to Come.
Come. Taste. And see.