J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain, Skeptical Christian
From Devout Atheist to Skeptical Pastor: A Blog For Busted-Up, Beat-Down People (Like Me)
I was asked why I joined a protest.
First: I am 100% behind the Black Lives Matter movement. Do Black lives matter? A resounding yes.
I also believe we can be 100% behind a movement that is not 100% perfect. We can engage without endorsing every single part of it. This has been true for every movement in history.
If the church dismisses a “secular movement” because it’s too “liberal,” the church will remain a windowless tower. It will isolate itself from all streams of healing and from all wounded people. And if the church cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus in these places, then who? What gospel will they hear except a self-affirming superiority?
I’m reminded of Rev. Dr. MLK Jr, who navigated every social-political sphere and led with leaders like Rabbi Abraham Heschel and monk Thich Naht Hanh. As a Christian minister, Dr. King moved in places he may not have endorsed, but that’s how the secular and sacred worked together. No divide, only divine.
What’s sad to me is that “social justice” has been demonized by church leaders. It’s “not real salvation.” So no longer does the world go to the church like they did to Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. If only the church was the bold beacon of hope it ought to be: movements would come to the church and we could lead together. Just imagine. That’s real evangelism.
It has been centuries now since the church was the pioneers of progress, the cutting edge of arts, science, music, education and human liberation. Now: churches are cultural conversion camps, cut off from a world they deem wrong.
Yes, I can uphold my theology in differing places, and more, my theology compels me to them. If your faith is “contaminated” by partnering with movements, what does that say about your faith? If a movement has to be done a “Christian way,” where are you? In the world, not of the world: that is a skill we must re-learn.
So no, I cannot separate myself from secular spaces, scholars, sources. God is moving there when the church won’t. I want to be there. To walk boldly and compassionately as Jesus did among tax collectors and Roman politicians, across all divisions. And I will always be for the wounded, every time. Every single time.