BY DOUG PAGITT

I woke up this morning with a very sad heart. Like many of you, I have so many emotions, fears, and anxieties about the future of the country that we live in.

I'm thinking about the five stages of grief - denial, sadness, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. 

My thoughts are mostly with those who are experiencing an even deeper fear today. As our friend Cameron Trimble put it, "Black and brown people, for Muslims, for women, for LGBTQ people, for immigrants… the list is endless… feeling unsafe in our communities and even in our own families."

Sitting on my couch last night, the reality of our situation became clear to me. I said to Shelley, "I feel like my life's work now needs to be a direct response to this." She responded, “What does that mean?" "I don't know." I said. 

I still don’t know, but I’m going to add "engagement" to my own grief process.

I believe there is much soul searching for us to do as a country and for those of us who are pursuing, proclaiming, and calling others into a just and generous faith. 

My friend Adam put it this way today, 

“I feel like this is a step back. We have had nearly a decade of two-steps-forward, and now we are taking a step back. This is due, in part to the breakneck speed of change and progress that has been very hard for many traditionalist people in our culture. And they have felt left behind, mocked and forgotten.” 

I agree with Adam. 

He has benefited from the right to marry his husband. 

We have all cheered on the attention brought by Black-Lives-Matter and changing demographics. 

Many have been helped by ObamaCare and so many other two-step-forward policies. We should cheer these changes. They are right. They are real, and they need to be permanent.

And then there is the step back.

A hate it. I disagree with it. I want to (and will) work against it, but it is ours to grapple with.

I believe that the kind of faith we as a network want to express is the right way to move forward, and in being recipients of this “step-back” we might gather a sense of how we are personally, as communities of faith, and as a network finding our “such a time as this”.

I look forward to being together as we take courageous steps forward.