To the Angel in the Church of America

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The spirit war says

“To the angel of the church in America write: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.”

This culture war draws lines, upon which we build fences and gates. In or out, right or wrong, pro or con.
The spiritual war’s only lines are the needle and thread connecting hearts and minds, like a multicolored spiderweb through our souls.

In this culture war we scream bloody battle cries, taunt our enemies, and then hew off the legs they stand on.
In the spirit war we see not the person as the enemy, but the rocky ground on which they stumble. We sheds tears over stubbed toes and twisted ankles. We toil relentlessly to dig out harsh gravel, smooth over dirty soil, pave a new path, and lay soft carpet over it.

This culture war says “Don’t go there, land mines await your every step.”
The spirit war says “If we don’t lead the way, how will the others know the safe path?”

This culture war says “If you look like them, you are one of them. They are dirty and unwashed.”
The spirit war says “You can’t stop the bleeding without staining your clothes red.”

This culture war claims governments as its ally, believes they are anything but strange bedfellows. Triumphant and proud they walk hand and hand, Souza keeps the time. Both believe when the dance begins they will lead.
The spirit war finds allies only in those with a limp. Crutches pile up at the door of the hall, sad waltzes skip on a broken record, repeating slow melodies for those who weep.

This culture war says “Look at our shiny buttons and nice clothes. If you look like us, you are one of us.”
The spirit war knows that it is hard to keep socks clean after many miles in shoes that don’t quite fit.

The spirit war says

“To the angel of the church in America write: Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love, and you have favored the rich and forgotten the poor. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Do not save the favored seats for the wealthy, and leave the poor outside or sitting near the door. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

This culture war is scared. It cries out louder and louder, shouting over crashing waves just trying to be heard. As if its very existence is dependent on hearing the sound of its own voice. It clings desperately to every moment because its greatest fear is that this one will be its last.

The spirit war knows of this fear. The spirit war knows that this is the fear of drowning in a storm of your own making. “The power you fought so hard for is now a millstone around your neck. But I want to lift you up, swim you to shore on my back. Take my hand I’ve missed you in this journey we started together.”

The spirit war says “Together we asked for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses.”
This culture war replies “we’re still interested, as long as it doesn’t hurt our property values, or raise our taxes.”

The spirit war says “budgets are moral documents. Where changed hearts lead, checkbooks, hands, and feet follow.”

This culture war exclaims “Exactly! That is why we fight the moral evils with our money, and we protect the sanctity of marriage and human life.”

“Moral evils are seldom as simple as that. The present war we wage isn’t just angels and demons, sinners and saints. Humanity is everything in between.”

“But we love the sinner and hate the sin. We open up our doors to anyone who wants to come in. Isn’t that what He asked for?”

The spirit war responds: “I think you missed the beautiful complexity of it all. The sin comes with the sinner. He asks not for a division, an ‘either-or’, because people are ‘both-and’. When He said He was Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, dichotomy was far from His implication. He is the first and the last, but also every letter in-between. He is all of it all at once.”

The spirit war says

“To the angel of the church in America write: Right now you say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.'”