It is time to Repent

My Column for The Elgin Review was rejected this week by the paper. In fact, the opportunity to continue writing a column for The Elgin Review has been revoked. The editor wrote today saying,

“Rebecca, First, let me say thank you for your past column submissions. We have made a decision this week to go in a different direction. As a result, we will no longer be publishing your column.

Sincerely,

Dennis Morgan, Owner/Publisher”

I am publishing my column for this week here on my blog. I invite you to follow my blog, and share it widely as my voice is being silenced locally.

There was nothing of Jesus in what took place at the US Capitol on Epiphany. In amongst the “don’t tread on me” banners and Confederate and Trump flags, there were also crosses and banners and signs carrying Jesus’ name, but he was not there. Not with the zealots who stormed our Citadel of Democracy equipped with zip ties for restraining our elected representatives, not with the hooligans who smeared feces and peed in its historic hallways, not with the mob chanting to hang the Vice President and not with the deluded dopes who have been so brain-washed by years of Breitbart and Fox and church leaders who long ago climbed into bed with crooked politicians, that they mistakenly and naively believed they were being “patriots” promoting a righteous cause that day.

There is nothing of Jesus in the frenzied waving of flags bearing one man’s name. There is nothing of Jesus and nothing pro-life about a politician and his minions who whip-up a crowd in a rally and then point them in the direction of the Capitol where five people lost their lives in the violence, including a police officer. Do not be deceived, Jesus was not any part of that. His name has been desecrated just as clearly as our nation’s Capitol has been desecrated. Those who participated in Wednesday’s despicable debacle were called “special people” by our President who has curried the favor of racists and bigots and extremists throughout the four years of his term in office. He was wrong. He has been wrong all along. They are not special. They are wrong. They are certainly loved by God, but they are wrong, and what they did was sin. Those who continue to support President Trump after this are not special, either. They too, are wrong, they too—though loved by God, are sinning.  

The majority of voters in our state voted in November in support of President Trump. It is time for the scales to fall from the eyes of any among us who sincerely seek to follow Jesus. The direction in which the President and his people are going does not point the way to the reign of God. It misses the mark. Like the wise men from the east who turned their backs against Herod and went home by a different way after paying homage to the baby Jesus, it is past time for those who love Jesus to turn away from this madness and seek a more excellent way. It is past time for those who love God and have supported this president to repent. To repent means to make a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn. There is nothing of Jesus in what has become of this man’s presidency. Turn away.

“Not by might and not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of Hosts”—Zechariah 4:6 (NRSV). Jesus was not part of the mob last Wednesday. Jesus’ law is love. Jesus’ gospel is peace.

**

I am the Pastor of Park Congregational United Church of Christ west of Elgin and First Congregational Church in Neligh. What I write in my columns, and what I preach from those pulpits may be views that are not fully shared by all the members of those congregations. I appreciate that they grant me freedom of the pulpit to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I, through years of study and faithful service, understand it. 

47 thoughts on “It is time to Repent

  1. You are right on. I couldn’t have put it better myself. So many forget that Jesus is love. This president has spewed hate & divided the country. Thank you & God bless. Sandee Foster

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  2. I would give your words more credibility if you would have written them this summer when federal buildings, police stations, people’s homes and businesses were being destroyed and lives were being lost in cities across our nation. Very few if any leaders in these city’s spoke up to denounce these actions. Rather they were called peaceful protests or freedom of speech rallies.
    Our current President and the people that voted for him has been criticized, demonized, accused of every thing the left could think of every day for four years! This is also hate speech. So spare me the one sided outrage. Hate speech is hate speech. Riots are riots. Destruction is destruction. There is stupidity every where. Jesus IS every where. It is his people that refuse to recognize Him as being here.

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    1. I must have missed this! Were any of the cities that you speak of the capitol of the nation? The seat of democracy? Was the VP within 100 feet of the rioters? Don’t forget to include “standing on a neck” is “standing on a neck”. None of these acts of violence are acceptable. However, if you think they are equivalent you are sadly mistaken. You don’t become the first President in history to be impeached twice due to a false vendetta. If you cannot see the flaws you are not looking.

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    2. Ummmmm, nope. And who died
      this summer? The two people shot and killed by the 17 year old Trumper in Wisconsin? Those must be the people you are talking about. Those two people were trying to disarm a crazy right wing whacko who had already shot someone. He walked right up to the cops, armed, after the killings and they have him a water bottle to enjoy. He would have been shot dead if he had been black and just killed two people in cold blood. The marches this summer were about injustices just like this. White privilege. You need to sit down with yourself and have a long talk with yourself to see if you truly know who Jesus Christ is.

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    3. Do you realize the vast majority of Black Lives Matter protests – VAST – were peaceful with no looting? Consider changing which “news” sources you watch and read. I’m convinced you’re a victim of propaganda.

      Secondly, protesting the reality that black people are significantly more likely to be physically harmed by police than white people doing the same things is a just and righteous reason for protest. Rioting because one is upset a preferred candidate lost an election – is not a just reason for an insurrection.

      You should feel shame at what you’ve posted here. His eye is on the sparrow so you can be SURE the lord is mighty pissed off at your cruel and satanic reply.

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    4. Patricia…in Minneapolis, right-wing agitators are PROVED to be the ones that torched the police precinct. In Virginia, we had Umbrella Man…against, a right-wing agitator…who infiltrated what had been a peaceful protest…by smashing windows of an Auto Zone…so that it could be blamed on BLM protesters.

      That is your ilk’s way of trying to silence our voices. We are on to you and we know how you operate. So spare us your “righteous indignation!” When you can treat all people as you yourself would be treated, then perhaps you have something worthwhile to say.

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    5. False equivalence, my friend. No elected officials egged those people on, and in fact many of those acts of violence were perpetrated by conservatives looking to foment hate against the protesters.

      Remove the beam from your eye.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for standing up and spey the truth. But I am so sorry this has happened to you. Know there are a lot of Christians that agree with you and are unwilling to step all over Jesus Christ’s teachings for their own agenda.
    Thank you

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    1. Pastor Becky’s words are beautiful, but they are as empty as Jesus’s tomb. Without suggesting to her flock that they reach out to the other side and apologize, her words mean nothing.

      It is up to those who claim to follow Christ to acknowledge their sins to everyone, not just to those in their safe spaces.

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      1. I’m unclear, Pat who you assume to be “the other side” for my flock to reach out to. As this column was originally written to be read by the general public in my small town paper, people who are Roman Catholic, Missouri Synod Lutheran, United Methodist, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, UCC, other affiliations and no affiliation at all, who owes whom an apology?

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  4. Thank you for speaking the truth, Pastor Rebecca. I’m sure you will take some flack for your candor, but identifying what you have is the first step for fixing what is wrong. We CAN do better!

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  5. Beautiful article. Thank you for writing this.
    I agree with you 100%.
    Jesus preached love, empathy, compassion, equality, peace- certainly not what happened Jan 6, 2021 at the Capitol.

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    1. American Christians, it seems, are not taught discernment. They are taught blind faith, and never to question.

      Doesn’t anyone else find it ironic when someone says “God wants X” or “God wants Y” – it just always COINCIDENTALLY happens to match what they person asserting same…actually wants?

      How absolutely arrogant and blasphemous…to assume that because THEY want something…God does.

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      1. There’s a wonderful program of Christian Education for children called, “Godly Play” in some denominations, “Children Worship and Wonder” in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in which children are invited into the stories to engage them in wonder and creativity. It is an outstanding way to teach discernment. I remember an old bumper sticker popular in the 1980’s that came out of the (im)moral majority, or some such ilk, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” I feel I’ve been working throughout my forty years of ministry fighting against that willful ignorance. In the United Church of Christ, one of our key affirmations is, “Never put a period where God has placed a comma. God is still speaking.”

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  6. Thank you so much. Truly inspirational. I have no followers but I will carry your flame and circulate your words to some loving people I know. 50 years ago, I came home from a war, to a very cold self-absorbed society of fantasy. Tonite I will sleep well, thanks to you.

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  7. Thank you so much for speaking out. I am sorry that the newspaper removed your colum. In this crazy world right now your writing’s provide peace and hope. I woke up this morning and found this on twitter. I sought out this form. You words are the truth . They speak with to my heart. The words that so many religious leaders should be speaking right now, so that those that are lost could find their way back. Please continue to provide peace and hope even in the event of censure. The truth will find away.

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  8. Thank you Rebecca. I’m thankful a friend forwarded this to me. So many people I know and love still defend the president, saying things like: “I dont approve of some of his comments or actions BUT….” and say the GOP platform and policy are what’s more important to them. As if to say one can’t be a Christian if you dont vote for the republican conservative candidate. Well, every point you make is the truth. Trump’s hypocrisy has led so many Christians away from Christ and treating Trump like an idol. Read
    2 THES 2:4. It is describing what the actions of Satan look like. That verse describes Trump’s behavior. Why there are people who would not see this as evil is further down in verse 11. I’m not saying this is end times, I’m saying that Paul describes the actions of wickedness and warns us about those who can be mislead, deluded. I see that so cle is truly here. We need to pray for our confused and blinded brothers and sisters in Christ.

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    1. Trump is the Golden Calf! There is a reason the Bible speaks against idolatry. We were just shown that reason…on Jan. 6.

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  9. I found your blog through a friends Facebook page, and was moved by your words and call to action. I hope you will continue to feel the arms of love surrounding you. Not only did I read this blog not published in the Elgin paper, I read back through your many stories, and found each such a wonderful way to get to know you and your perspectives – told with truth, humor and vulnerability. Keep speaking, writing and asking for accountability. We need you more than ever.

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  10. Thanks for your courage. I don’t see how anyone can dispute that Jesus would never have condoned the hate and violence on display in the Capitol Insurrection. Surely he will forgive those in the thuggish mob but stand with them and approve their acts? Never!

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    1. Hi Marti. Thank you. You can subscribe to my blog here at everydaystories.blog. A little pop up “follow” button shows up in the lower right hand corner of your screen when you’re on my page. Thanks for following me!

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  11. So glad to FINALLY see a person of faith speak up and speak out!!

    As a transgender woman, I have never known ANYTHING BUT GRIEF from anything associated with Jesus or Christianity (as practiced in America) I am pretty sure I read of a much-different Jesus than the one held up by so many so-called pastors in America. In “The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth” by Thomas Jefferson, we are given a single narrative composed of a compilation of the four Gospels, and omitting the miracles…concentrating, instead on the life example and the teachings of Jesus. What an eye-opener that was! And so refreshing!

    Now, being as I am an Agnostic these days – thanks, largely to the hurt imposed upon me by so-called Christians (yes I am one of those you all drove away) I find that, to me, it does not matter if there is a God. It doesn’t matter if Jesus was the Son of this God, or if he was even an actual historical figure…a compilation of several people…or even made up out of whole cloth. What DOES matter…is that some 2,000 years ago…SOMEONE had the right idea about how to live and how to treat their fellow humans!

    American Christians would do well to rediscover this. Only in America…can any crook, crank, charlatan, or general all-around horrible person attach the word “Pastor” or “Reverend” to their name and gain instant credibility…and immunity for any of the horrible things they do. So it’s refreshing to see someone like you, Becky…who will speak these truths.

    I’ve never understood why so many American so-called Christians think they can come to someone like me…with a message as comforting as a crown of thorns…and think that I am going to have anything but scorn and contempt for them…and for what they say. The Jesus I know (who may or may not be the Son of God…or who may or may not even be an actual historical figure) – that Jesus…was about joy, hope, mercy, peace, love, and forgiveness. NOT about hate, condemnation and “othering” of groups of people. I did not ask to be as I am. But I knew I was…long before I knew about adult relations, or even the physical differences. I have no choice but to believe I was created to be exactly what I am today, for reasons unknown to me or to any human. Yet, for this I am condemned, discriminated against, and treated lousy.

    THIS is why more an more people are turning from the Church…and in the process, turning from God and Jesus. Because there is nothing there that is of any comfort whatsoever. You, Becky…speak of something different, and I hope, in spite of those trying to silence you…that you continue to speak out!

    I know what it is to be otherized, to have Jesus weaponized against me, and I know what it is to be silenced.

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    1. Angela,
      Your thoughtful response breaks my heart in a million ways. You are absolutely right that most of what is heard in the public square and myriad pulpits about Jesus has very little to do with who he was, what he taught and the example he gave for how to live. The United Church of Christ, through which I currently serve and am recognized with Ordained Clergy Partner Standing, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in which I hold my ordination, are both denominations with active, vibrant GLBTQ+ ministries on a national scale. Because our polity is of local church autonomy, not all of our congregations are “open and affirming.” In fact, the two I serve are not…yet. Our Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota conferences are Open and Affirming and have called on each of our congregations to do the work and go through the process of learning, repenting and claiming God’s wide-open welcome and love for all. I’m waiting for COVID-19 to be resolved so we can do that important work when physically present with each other. Please hold me in your good thoughts as I seek to faithfully lead people toward better, more loving ways of understanding the beauty that is the diversity of all creation. If ever you would like to have the ear of GLBTQ+ affirming clergy colleagues in your area, reach out to me. I will do my best to connect you.

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  12. Thank you for this column. UCC does good work, and your words are evidence of that (I am UMC, but actively support ministries at a UCC congregation in Dallas).

    And they didn’t print stuff Jesus said, either, for at least a few decades. But that may have turned out OK 🙂

    Christ lives in you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are trying times in which to minister. Christ’s name has been taken over by so many who are so unlike Jesus.

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  13. If you really have a broken and contrite heart, Becky, you would openly state what things Trump said were lies, and speak forth with the truth. Nowhere in your essay do you say that Biden was fairly and freely elected.

    You leave open the possibility to fall back into the comfortable lies you have embraced for the last four years. Trump was the choice of God, we were told. Nowhere in this essay do you confront this uncomfortable truth.

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    1. Hi Pat, My columns for the paper have been limited to 500 words, which I always pushed just a little. So, there’s only so much I can write in each column. Also, my intended audience wasn’t the wide open spaces of the web, but the very narrow, homogenous 87% red, rural area in which I live and have accepted a call to do ministry. These are my neighbors. Twenty of them are the members of my tiny congregation. By writing what I did here
      , I have lost the opportunity to reach that audience in the future. That is my failure for which I am most repentant today.

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  14. It is appalling that Rebecca’s column is being cancelled. You can disagree with her, but there is absolutely no reason to stifle her voice. Her words are neither profane nor violent and there is nothing objectionable in what she has written. America has many voices and that’s a good thing.

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  15. Thank you so much! I have been so disappointed in the “Christians” who followed Trump. I have hope that they will see they were following a dangerous man who has never given Jesus Christ’s teachings a thought…ever.

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  16. I think pastor Becky has called on us conservatives to rightly question our motives, our beliefs, ourselves in the cleansing path of Godly reproval. She begs us to take the Lord’s hand and let Him lead our path forward, ignoring those who would lead us astray. Reproval is good, it is cleansing, it is therapeutic, it is “of God” and I, for one, will take her advice. I have, for too long, listened to the wrong people telling me what to think, and how, and not listened to Him to allow me to properly discern the messages of love from the messages of fear and hate. I am going to go in a new path, a path where I walk with the Lord and let Him teach me a new way to live. I will forgive my brothers and sisters for their actions, any and all people who have pushed a hurtful agenda upon others, so that I may disconnect myself from them, and I pray that they, too, find a way back to Him and His message as Miss Becky pleads with us all to do.

    There are clear distinctions between the marches for BLM, whom I supported fervently after witnessing the police officer stand on the neck of George Floyd, and that of the Capitol insurrection. However, I watched the news about both in horror – absolute horror. It woke me up from a dead sleep. Then, I saw how people in my own party watched apathetically and turned on deaf ears the pleas of our black brothers and sisters. More horror. How can we all be so callous? Jesus certainly would not abide this. We must have a problem that cannot be ignored.

    After George’s death, the marches began – peacefully. I saw strong arm tactics used by police inciting the crowd into a frenzy. Then, when the looting started, I saw signs of a false flag – right wing groups fanning the flames of hate by false flag burning the precinct in Minnesota. They hurt our police! Horror again. This clearly is evil, it cannot be good. I realized quickly what kind of a world I actually lived in. Horror.

    Finally, on Jan 6th, I witnessed the storming of the Capitol, saw the still frame shots of people hanging off the balcony, sitting in the Senate President’s chair, desecrating my very own democracy without reproach or reproval from others. Horror.

    I tried to explain it away to ease my discomfort: those people surely aren’t evil they’re just upset, right? My heart felt better… then I saw more pictures: zip ties. Why? Why would “upset” people who care about their country need zip ties? Oh, they planned on taking hostages. Silence, thinking….oh no, a gallows sitting outside….oh God. I read more reports, saw more damning pictures – God help us, why in the world am I trying to explain away this behavior? For me to feel better? After this horrible year of COVID and public strife, I needed a break – or did I need to face something once and for all?

    It was then that I realized that the rot and mold of racism was inside my own walls, inside my own thinking. Now I’m really horrified….but….

    You know, an amazing thing happens to a Christian who realizes their faults: reproval, forgiveness, cleansing. I saw my problem, finally I could finally start the work of fixing it and actually be at a true and lasting peace.

    Yeah, it’s gonna take me years to do, even after George Floyd and the Capitol insurrection…but at least I know the problem lies within myself…MYSELF!! I can’t fix someone else, but I can fix myself. I can fix ME. Then, I can help others.

    God help me, please.

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