Leaning into the Dance
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 18: 9, 14b
Wikipedia claims that the UCC is “liberal-leaning.”
I wonder what this means.
Some would say that it implies a certain party affiliation on the blue/red divide.
But I wonder if the Wikipedia contributor has visited many of the UCC churches I’ve served, where the community learns how to dance carefully around divisive political terminology so that certain things just aren’t mentioned. I wonder if they’ve seen just how practiced, how cautious so many of our communities are in ensuring not to alienate one another because we know that there are people in the room who disagree with us politically.
Is this what it means to “lean” liberal?
How is it “liberal” to affirm that trans people exist and are beloved of God?
Why is it “liberal” to celebrate love that builds up and does no harm, in its many forms?
I’m not sure what, exactly, constitutes a “liberal” church.
But I do have an idea of what it means to follow Jesus and to embrace each other as created in the image of God. We cannot “trust in” identities that separate us from our call to love in the name of Jesus. But loving means noticing and setting aside the things that harm.
In following Jesus, I believe that we are called to lean, yes. But to lean into the tough places, to notice our collective shortcomings so that we can, for the love of God, do better.
We live in a world that requires transformation. That transformation will come not dancing around, but rather, dancing with—when we can. Even with the ones with two left—or right—feet, I guess.
Bless our faith, for you are the Lord of the Dance. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.