- Isaac Tait
Several years ago, I am a little ashamed to admit - I wish it was longer ago I was solidly on the Republican bandwagon. I was a right leaning voter who based his voting decisions on a candidates stance towards banning abortion, protecting the 2nd amendment, and getting rid of socialist policies such as Obamacare or the Paris Climate Accord. Then in 2020 I became increasingly appalled by my Republican family and friend's attitudes towards Covid policies meant to protect the vulnerable. I heard one Republican "Christian" vehemently argue that shutting down the economy was wrong and that they would rather just let the weak and vulnerable die off and that in a few short months those that had not died off would be immune and life could go back to normal. I watched as those who claimed to love their neighbor refused to wear masks and instead become ardent and angry protectors of their personal "rights" and "freedoms". Aren't Christ followers supposed to die to their selfish and egotistical desires (Romans 6:6)? I watched in horror as Christians supported the storming of the Capitol and the attempts to murder duly elected officials.
So, I walked out of the church. I did not say good-bye - I did not look back.
I used to call myself a Calvinist - now I would rather be an atheist than a Calvinist. I used to espouse Augustinian ideologies - now I am a Pelagianist (is that even a word?).
I encourage you to read them if you have a moment.
I still consider myself a Christ follower but now I have switched political affiliations and I focus on what it means to love my neighbor. Jesus said "What you did to the least of these, you did Me." I want to love my marginalized, mistreated, hated, and down-trodden neighbors. Consequently, I have decided to focus on three aspects of life that I feel are important:
Food (namely veganism)
So, why those three? Well while homelessness is not nearly as large a problem out here in New England it is still present. Those people are ignored, mistreated, and marginalized. It is not right. Gun violence, well to say that I am beyond fed up with those in our nation who would rather see children killed in schools, malls, or churches rather than give up their guns is an understatement. Finally, I believe that veganism is the key to healing our planet and giving people the power to thrive and lead healthy lives. It can free those oppressed by systems that foment harm and destruction while simultaneously racking their bodies with disease, obesity, and exhaustion.
I can stand on the sidelines and send my thoughts and prayers to all my neighbors in grief, in poverty, and in fear. Or what if I was put here on this earth to act instead of pray for someone else to do something?
I spent nearly 30 years of my life afraid to absorb any perspective or faith tradition other than white evangelicalism. As I have rejected that fear I feel like I have finally stepped into the light. I learned more from reading a few chapters of the wisdom and practical advice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama then I did from a life-time of going to church. What else have I missed out on in my blind acceptance of what I was told was right and what was wrong? Nothing is off the table - I am questioning everything. It is scary and at the same time it is exhilarating.