Since early November, I have sat down to write you this letter so many times that I have lost count. It is now late December. Even now I am paralyzed by my grief and muted by my anger. Theophilus, you are my brother/sister in Christ. Theophilus, we were both created in the same image of G-d. But these days, Theophilus, I barely recognize us.
It is said that time heals all wounds, but I fear that my wounds may remain open for still some time. I don’t write to you seeking first aid, but Theophilus, “‘[you] dress the wounds of [our] people as though [they] were not serious.’” You expect me to just get over it. You point out how now I know how you felt for the last eight years. And you ask me to be quiet because you didn’t protest when “I” won. “‘Peace, peace,’ [you] say. But Theophilus, “‘there is no peace’” (Jeremiah 6:14). Theophilus, I understand that you feel that you voted your conscience, but were you conscious that my daughter, and your sister in Christ, is a 10-year-old Vietnamese girl. Theophilus, how do I comfort my child who plays with her Latina sisters in Christ, and they are sisters to you and me as well, who are fearful because classmates shout “deport ‘em” or “build the wall?” Theophilus, who taught those children such words? And what am I to say when my daughter looks at her own beautiful olive skin and worries that she might be “next?”
Again, Theophilus, I barely recognize us. I know that you were taught that those who we would see as strangers amongst us are to be treated as fellow citizens and that we are to love these brothers and sisters as we love our selves (Leviticus 19: 33-34). Why our Lord and Savior, the very son of G-d, he knew the pain of exile when a so-called divinely-appointed ruler singled out a select few (Matthew 2:16–18). Theophilus, my daughter is becoming less of a girl and more of a woman with each passing day. She is growing in wisdom and in stature. What shall I say to her when boys who are becoming men value her for her stature and not her wisdom because of what was once—wrongly—said in the locker room is now the new normal in the living room? (Until now, I had not fully appreciated how much work I had agreed to when her mother and I consented at her baptism to accept the freedom and power G-d gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.) I know you would never approve of such, but as you likely question me, I too question the company you keep.
Theophilus, I want to confess my sins. For too long my activism has not exceed my wi-fi range and my protests have failed to surpass my cell signal. I have failed to hold my fellow brothers and sisters to be accountable to G-d. And I am much more the cause of our present dividedness than I am impacted by it. My liberalness, at times, is only a cover for elitism. But ”[if] it is [liberal] to talk about the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant, to talk about justice and love for God and neighbor, to talk about humility and grace—in short, to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ, then [I will] do it all the louder” (Joseph Kuilema). And yes, I too live in a similar self-made bubble that subjectively filters content to suit my progressive preferences. I am guilty of standing with my fingers in my ears shouting my preferred platform instead of listening to you. I am guilty of wearing idealistic rose-colored glasses that doubled as blinders. Being so audibly and visually impaired, I grew ignorant of how you heard and saw the world. I have realized my sin too late, and the divide is now between us. I don’t know how you will receive this letter. And, I have no control over how you read this letter. All I have control over is myself, so I choose to write. I see us as a bird that is missing a wing. All that bird can ever hope to do is flop around on the ground mistaking its hops and jumps for flight. Though it is an imperfect metaphor, I am tired of flapping and flopping kicking up more dust than clearing the air. And I think that I am more afraid than you are of our risking taking flight. I fear that if I move to meet you that I risk making other members of our family all the more vulnerable. As my wounds are presently open, so is my letter.