I’ve been preparing for this year’s fights. I’ve decided to lean into 2024 rather than wringing my hands and giving up. I expect a political battle like none our country has ever seen, so I want to fight for what’s right. (I keep thinking about Bonhoeffer.) And I want to do it following the teachings of Jesus, which have gotten skewed with stereotypes that are just plain wrong.

Fighting is a weird word. At first you think it’s about coming against something with anger and violence, but I think we can fight FOR things and people we care about, with love. Maybe it’s both–coming against the bad and fighting for the good. To me, it means intense engagement.

Brian McLaren says it this way. “If we’re going to help people take wise action and imagine a better future amid coming troubles, then we will have to help people find that better future within themselves, so they can live that better future out into the world. And that’s what we hope to do together in 2024…setting an example…rather than just sinking into the fury and fear and denial and despair of our times.”

Intense engagement.

I can fight for my country by joining movements. (I’ve joined two in recent days.) I can take the long view and support up-and-coming visionary leaders. I can call out BS. (Sorry if that offends. I can’t think of a better word.)

And I can fight for people who misunderstand Jesus by calling attention to his actual teachings. There’s a theory that if we truly understood Jesus, nobody would reject him, because God is pure love.

Here’s Ephesians 13-18 (The Message). “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”