Assistant Minister's Corner - Rev. Monica Dobbins

01 November 2018

As I write these words, Election Day is only eight days away; many of us expectantly await a Blue Wave to wash over the country, hoping it will restore some sense of balance to our national politics and some thread of hope for the marginalized of our society who have been in increasing danger these past few years. 

I also write these words with a heavy heart, thinking of the three hate crimes that were committed this past week: pipe bombs delivered to Democratic leaders, two African-Americans shot dead while grocery shopping; and then, eleven more people killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh while attending the blessing of a newborn baby. I wish I could say that the Blue Wave will drown out these acts of violence and division in our society – but I know better. White supremacy is knotted deep in our American roots, and one election, no matter the party, won’t undo those knots. 

So, while I hold onto the hopes I have for the midterms (and, of course, I did vote!), I’m also looking to other institutions I care about to shake off the misery and despair, and reimagine themselves. I want those institutions to dream bigger than ever, to marshal the most creative resources, and to take the boldest steps they’ve ever taken towards our emerging new vision of a just world. I want to really think outside the box – which, sometimes, means imagining the worst, but also means being unafraid to imagine the best. 

What can we do that doesn’t depend on the outcome of the midterms? What are we called to do that government cannot? What does the church of the future look like? 

Soon, our congregation will begin to engage these questions in new ways. Actually, we need not wait for a formal church program – we can do it now. What do you envision?

One place to start is with the people you love. Who in your life is struggling under a weight of injustice? Who do you know who can’t seem to catch a break? Who needs help or resources that seem impossible to find? Those are the questions that can lead us to new understandings of our calling, whether as individuals or as institutions – because all good justice work begins with authentic relationships. 

I’m thinking of members of our community who are trans, who might need help acquiring documents with their correct names. I’m thinking of young women, who might need help getting access to family planning. I’m thinking of people in Southern Utah, whose ancestral lands are in danger. And, of course, right here in our building, I’m always thinking of Vicky and her precious girls, who need help staying here in our community. 

I invite you to join with me in imagining what’s next for us: what happens after these elections, no matter who claims the reins of power? Who are we when we aren’t knocking on doors to get out the vote? The answer to that question will determine the future of our church. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.