I wish I could tell you I like words too much to pick just one. I’m pompous enough to think it, but it’s not entirely true.
The one word phenomenon is sweeping the internet. There are dozens of words I like, but none that seem a good fit for all of my life all the days of this year. I’m not anti the one word practice. I just have this growing feeling one word is not enough for 2017.
Maybe every generation feels this way, has this hunch things are different now. That right now is a unique moment in history and we are about to encounter something unimaginable. Something that needs more than one word.
The post-election reductionist thinking to “trust God” or “pray” first led me down this path. Those are true and good things, but Jesus moved into the neighborhood to dwell among us. He came to know our bad news well decades before he ever started telling people to trust or pray.
All the words rolling around in my mind need qualifiers.
Resistance is not enough for 2017. We need creative resistance. We need the writers and the painters and the dancers among us to lead. It is not enough to be against, we must actively be calling forth a more just, beautiful world and the creatives (which in our bones all of us are) to show us the way.
Community is a lovely word, but for many it simply means finding more people who think and look and talk and act like us. It’s the way most humans work. But it’s not how the Kingdom is coming down. The upside down Kingdom is scandalously inclusive. Heaven’s gates swing wide. There are prophets and tax collectors and prostitutes and fisherman. Men, women and children. Black, brown, white and every shade in between. Scandalously inclusive community was Jesus’ idea and chasing hard after it will bring the Kingdom come more degrees of glory at a time than we can imagine.
We need hope. Oh how we need hope. Not just any hope will do in 2017. We need sweaty, gritty, dirt-beneath-our-nails hope. We need the kind of hope that leaves Heaven for the ghettos of our country and our own sinful hearts. We need audacious hope, rebellious hope, whimsical hope.
I want to model the reckless kind of hope others call foolish. I want to be the first and most insubordinate when the least, last, lost and most marginalized are pushed farther outside the city gates. I want to be peculiar. I want to imagine a world that does not exist and work towards it with all the strange people I can bring along with me. I want to be among the odds ones, the ones who beyond reason, dream of the Kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.
And I want to protestify. I want to earnestly stand against evil while bearing witness to the third way. I want to tear down metaphoric and physical walls keeping people out and with them build tables and housing for all. I want the courage to say to both the oppressed and the oppressor; All are welcome here. I want my life to be a visible objection to the exclusion of image bearers. I want the both/and of God and I call BS on the either/or of this world.
And I want to use words.