I’m going to be honest – I work hard. I work two jobs, one of which is physically demanding. Lifting and carrying heavy things up and down stairs. Hours all over the place, often past midnight – hours past midnight. It takes a toll on my body and on my mind.
I like routine. I like going to bed early, waking up early. I like knowing what’s coming and living in a rhythm. I like the mental space that order gives me to be thoughtful and creative, to be present. But for now, that can’t be a thing.
I’ve worked hard the past few weeks, putting in more hours than usual, trying to make up for the time that I took off work to organize and participate in the Friendly Fire retreat. I was excited for today, for my check to come. I logged into my bank account, and it was big. Not as big as I thought it’d be, but bigger than any check I’ve gotten in a while. So I paid my rent and some bills. I had $27 left.
And then I cried.
And then guilt rushed in – for getting drinks with my friend yesterday, for getting take-out before work twice last week. I even got mad at myself for taking time off when I had the flu. And I started spiraling into a sense of impossibility. Like I don’t know if I can make it.
There’s not enough time or money to do the things I care about – to organize, to see my family and friends, to pray, to write. There’s not enough time or money to be human.
Not for me.
Not for a lot of people.
The truth is that I can look around and see that some people have more than enough.
And I remember how those same people encouraged me to lift my tithes at church, declaring that what I sowed into my church would come back to me tenfold. They claimed this is how the Kingdom economy works. Back then, I was making even less than I am now, and I needed to believe. But it wasn’t true. It wasn’t true for me. It wasn’t true for a lot of people.
As for those who were “anointed” – these prosperity teachers – they told us about the “end-times wealth transfer.” In the last days, the wealth of the wicked would be supernaturally transferred to the righteous.
I think I still believe that. Those forced into meekness – the subjugated – they will inherit the earth. The deception of private property will be destroyed.
Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.
As for me, I’m going to survive. I’ve done it before – over and over again. I’ve sold belongings, picked up side hustles, gotten loans from friends. There are others, however, who won’t. Every day people die – people who weren’t given the chance to be human.
I can’t help but see the futility and even offensiveness of polite liberal politics, of pushing for reform when people are dying – and I can’t help but notice how the love I first met in Jesus is growing in my heart, longing for a different way.
My friend, my comrade, Jesus – he is calling together a people, shaping them even now in their shared pain, that they might birth something new. I like to think of these people of Jesus as doulas of the apocalypse: they are loving a new world into being. Present to the struggles of the people. Grounding the violent pangs of birth in mercy and through faith. Doing what needs to be done to survive. And to prosper.
Hate evil, love good; maintain justice. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy.