This World Needs Beloved Community

WARNING: The following is written for those who believe in the concept of Beloved Community. If you think Becoming Beloved Community is merely a catchy phrase or wishful thinking, you’ll find what follows to be “too hopeful” and maybe “a bit naive.” But, those of you who do hope for the Kingdom to come, on earth as it is in Heaven, will find the “something more” you’ve been seeking…

The idea of Becoming Beloved Community has taken the Church by storm…and it couldn’t happen at a more appropriate time…right?! (Lord knows we need Beloved Community)

Many of us are truly excited by the Becoming Beloved Community initiative within the Episcopal Church. It is breathing life back into the Church in a time when some would question the efficacy of the Church.

It is a beautiful thing to see so many people embracing the idea of Beloved Community. Here’s how some have expressed their view…

I’ll tell you my thoughts on beloved community a little later in this series…

Yet, truly Beloved Community is something we must strive for because clearly it is something that doesn’t exist in the world around us…

With the state of our society and the endless cycle of degradation and oppression and death and destruction…

With the rampant poverty that fuels the opioid crisis and the crack epidemic before it…that fuels the crime and violence that feeds the prison industrial complex, it’s clear that no matter what we want to say about our culture…

This ain’t Beloved Community…right?

Stringfellow goes on to describe America – and all nations – as Babylon. He names them as the principalities that St. Paul reminds us to stand against.

At this point you’re like:

Babylon?!?! What do you mean, “Babylon?!?!”

I know…I know…bear with me…

We don’t speak much of Babylon in our culture…

So it’s not something we’re familiar with. It’s merely a throw-back reference to an Ancient kingdom in Mesopotamia that was destroyed thousands of years ago. A relic of the Bible and archeology.

But Babylon is so much more…and Babylon is still relevant. We should talk about it more.

About Babylon, Stringfellow says,

Babylon in Revelation is a disclosure and description of an estate or condition which corresponds to the empirical reality of each and every city–of all societies–in history. The Babylon of Revelation is archetypical of all nations…This Babylon is allegorical of the condition of death reigning in each and every nation or similar principality.

We should be able to identify Babylon…

It’s the source of our frustration…

It’s the cause of our anger and resentment…

It fuels our divisions and keeps us at odds with one another…

You know…

The children being separated from their families at the border

The children being separated from their families, killed by police

The separation of society into “haves” and “have-nots.” The 1% versus the 99%.

There’s so many more examples of Babylon’s manifestation in society and culture that makes the bottom line clear:

Babylon is real…

It’s not mythical. It’s not abstract. It’s not an ancient relic of the Bible and archeology that no longer has relevance.

It’s here…it’s with us and around us.

You can see Babylon at work when you turn on the news. In the functioning of the State. In our healthcare system. In education. In our economic system. In the very fabric of society, and our penchant for division, you can see the reality of Babylon…right?

And this is why Becoming Beloved Community is so important…

This is why the world needs Beloved Community…

So…how are we to move forward?

Or better: in the midst of Babylon, where do we find Beloved Community?

To where can we point those who are frustrated with Babylon…those who have been abused by Babylon…those who seek hope beyond Babylon?