I Hate Reconciliation

13 07 2015

I hate reconciliation.


I have come to the conclusion that at worst reconciliation (on earth) is not real, and at best, a cruel joke. I have only been in the reconciliation game for a little over half a decade and I must confess – it is terrible. It exceeds the terrible that everyone expects, writes and blogs about. It is work that eats at the soul, that if you’re a person of color, guarantees sleepless nights, headaches, and a general sense of downtroddenness. For people in power, if considering it seriously, it is a constant reminder of sin, failure, and how easy it is to live into it (without a second thought) if one wants to do church sans reconciliation in its true form.


It is unbearable. It is terrible. It is miserable for everyone – and for some reason, it is the manifestation of Jesus’ life and death towards reuniting us with God. It makes no sense. If it were hard sometimes and pleasant sometimes or hard sometimes and pleasant most of the time, then it would make sense for me. But reconciliation is terrible and terrifying. Nothing good comes from it. Because death doesn’t feel good. And it requires dying and/or being killed all the time.


Who would want this? When Jesus said to follow him or to go without possessions or comfort or what seems familiar to us, he was serious. But we don’t think he is! It is miserable not being comfortable. It is painful to always be correcting and to always be corrected. It is energy-draining, lousy, difficult work. And it is work! Especially for people of color. People of color, unless you are called to it, stay away from racial reconciliation. People in power, unless you are willing to be reduced to nothing and built up into something else, stay away from reconciliation – you do more harm than good promoting your power-laden version of it.


Reconciliation is miserable for everyone. And somehow to get to what Jesus already did, we as a church, are called to live into it in the now. No wonder the majority of churches don’t give it a second of their time. It is unknown in that Jesus’ work is hard to emulate since, you know, we’re not Jesus. I think it’s important to put this out there and name this fact: white-washed reconciliation isn’t it. Sorry. It is hard precisely because it is unknown. It is unbalanced in its desire to return us to the same level of being seekers of God with people obsessed with power in its earthly form. It is crazy – people desire to share but instead end up taking, hurting, yielding too much of the wrong thing and too little of the necessary things. It is beyond our comprehension – yet many of us decide that we want it. So we fail our way towards it. And some of us leave because it is too hard – for our egos, for our white power, for our powerlessness, for our confusion, for our discomfort, for our histories, for our immigrant parents’ dreams… And some of us stay because we feel trapped into our calling – God will help us figure it out, right? It’ll smooth over, right? No. It won’t. That’s the point. It will never not be hard all the time. It will always be difficult and easier to quit or frankly never get in to.


Reconciliation is painful and death-dealing. The best that we as the church can do is make sure those always turned towards death socially, economically, racially, ethnically, sexually don’t fully enter into it. Thus, we have to hold and have each others’ deaths.


I have no reconciling way to end this post. Reconciliation sucks. It offers the church a picture of the church at its weakest and worst and somehow names this work important towards virgin births, miracles, crosses and tombs. See! There I go again, trying to wrap this up poetically and neatly! Reconciliation doesn’t give space for clean, neat, nice, or fun. It is tomb work. It takes us to the pain of Holy Saturday and leaves us there. So, come church. To this misery, we are called. We are called to tomb existence and tomb efforts of being in relationship.

The cost of discipleship, indeed.

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