Progressive Xianity and I have a love-hate relationship. I love that it treats seriously the issues of justice and human reconciliation. I hate that it often (in my own opinion) sacrifices the entirety of Scripture in order to emphasize a particular agenda item.
Jory Micah is a rising leader in the progressive Xian thought arena. She champions Jesus, gender equality, and social justice. I admire her passion and zeal for women’s equality. I actually agree with her when it comes to women in ministry and leadership – I don’t think we can honestly ignore or dismiss biblical examples of women who have led God’s people and spoken with God’s voice and message (that’s what biblical prophecy is, and there are biblical examples of female prophets). But progressive Xianity, in its zeal, can get carried away. Lately Xian feminists have taken up the cause being radically anti-Trump.
I can understand this point of view. If you scroll through my timeline over the last year you will see plenty of times when I take issue with Donald Trump. Yet in their zeal to refute the ugliness that has been spewed by Donald Trump and his camp, Xian feminists lose sight of Xian behavior and ethics. Case in point, Jory’s following message:
We have to be careful telling people to "pray for our president," so soon.
The wound is painfully open, let's not throw salt in it.
— Jory Micah (@jorymicah) November 17, 2016
I understand the sentiment. My problem is that Jory’s statement appears to be saying that personal feelings of hurt get to dictate when/how we pray for people who may have caused us hurt. Such a message is clearly unbiblical. But passages in the Bible DO talk about how we treat those who have wronged us – to those who have done damage to us.
– Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. To the contrary, :if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)
– But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27-28)
– It is easy to love those who love you—event a tax collector can love those who love him. And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! But you are called to something higher. (Matthew 5:46-48)
I don’t think it is easy have this perspective – in fact, I think it’s particularly DIFFICULT! But Jesus and Paul don’t give us a delay on Xian behavior. The whole point is that we behave this way IN SPITE of what evil people do to us. It’s in this vein that Paul instructs Xians to submit to authorities – not just the good ones, but the harsh ones as well.
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not advocating we give up pursuing justice. I AM saying that we can call people to pray for those who hurt and oppress us regardless of the time frame of the offense. We don’t get to wail about being injured indefinitely and then, when we’re good and ready, begin praying for enemies. The New Testament was written in a time when there was no end in sight for Xians facing difficult times. Still, they were called to love, do good, bless, and pray for those who actively sought to do them harm.
How is our calling today any different?
**Author’s Note: I reached out to Jory Micah and extended the offer to include an uncensored statement if she wanted to share in a way that is not limited to 140 characters. I have yet to hear back from her, but am more than willing to edit this post if she takes me up on it.