#DefundChurchwide: The Final Chapter

A Post-Victory Victory Post

I am incredibly grateful to share this week’s post with you. This is my final word on the #DefundChurchwide endeavor, but I will always teach this truth.

The proper cycle of confession and liberation is as follows: 

Repentance. 

Reparations. 

Reconciliation. 

We will relive the same moment in history over and over again until this is understood. 

I truly believe we have an opportunity to reshape the republic in the next few years, and we have that same opportunity here in the church. 

The dominoes are starting to fall on institutional church. They are being swallowed by a tidal wave of white supremacy and end stage capitalism, and our leaders are mad at me because I’m telling the people to get to the lifeboats. They can’t imagine a life beyond institutional church, because they can’t imagine a life beyond white supremacy or the current state of the republic. 

Much like the leaders in Christ’s time, and really throughout all time, they have attached their love of the State, wealth, and power to their faith. To be very frank, the past four years has produced such damning evidence against our leaders in the ELCA that it’s amazing any of us even still attend this church. 

They failed us at a critical juncture in salvation history. They refused to face this evil with one voice because they were more worried about the death of the ELCA than they were about the death of the republic and its effects on the entire world. They will answer to the Creator for this transgression. 

The rest of us are on the ground trying to salvage the entire theological and spiritual and moral authority of the church—the little left of it, anyway. 

Short-sighted, greedy charlatans are dressing up evil in the finery of the church like a rotted corpse dressed for the bridal suite, we have become the epitome of the progressive “switcheroo” where we invite the innocent into this expansive church body that is actually small, deadly, and often doesn’t reflect the needs of the people. It’s not just the ELCA, folks. It’s all of us. 

For the last four years, we have faced unearthly evil that was using the systems of our democracy to destroy the very notions of hope and love. Thousands of clergy, bishops, denominations, and so-called church leaders did nothing. They wrote a letter, maybe. 

When the throne of St. Peter and the Pope has to start combatting the evil messages coming from the republic and there is no Lutheran voice of real effect, how can we sit by? Here is my beef: the Conference of bishops has one job. Where was the lament? Where was the prayer? Where were the pleas to call God down on the border to save kids? Where was the one united voice that said #Blacklivesmatter, because all creation screams it? The republic was playing Josef Mengele on the border with woman’s bodies, and after the horrors of WW2, a Lutheran body was still silent. 

The day of the professional Christian is over. It’s time to move beyond the church. We need to empower the people of God to leave the dying church and go create the Kin-dom of God in the world. 

You want me to tell you where a church’s heart truly lies? Show me their budget. Everything else is window dressing. Need a point of scriptural reference?

Here you go:

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Notice the scriptural reference to the sale of ancestral and colonized land. To assume the moral complications of greed weren’t part of the early community would be insane. But my point is—if the ELCA drops dead from this, they shouldn’t have broken covenant with Black peoples in this land. If they ass ain’t lying, they will survive this, right? If they bring to their all to this, they will be with the people and we will all be fine. If they aren’t with the people in the days and years ahead, leave the whitewashed tomb behind and shed it, like a cocoon falling from our bodies, and fly on, Beloved. 

I didn’t “start” anything, I just pointed it out. 

I’m a poet in the woods screaming at a temple. It’s the architecture that will cause institutional church to collapse. Watch: they will do it all themselves. 

Thank you to the board of Black woman doing the work behind the scenes to make this real. I am not an organizer. I sure wish more warriors would join me out here.  Honorable mention to the Rev. Priscilla Austin and the good people of Immanuel Lutheran Church for taking this money out of my hands so this process can proceed without my influence. 

Here is the link to give to the endowment for reparations in the ELCA: 

#66thSynod Endowment

The leaders who are gathering the board which is calling itself the #66thSynod is the Rev. Angela Shannon of All Saints Lutheran Church in Bowie MD and the Rev. Dr. Andrea Walker of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Washington DC.

You can direct all inquiries about future directions and plans for the fund beyond supplementing the income of retiring African Descent Ministers to the Rev. Shannon at this email and this email only: okoyecovenor@gmail.com

She will answer in her time. Not yours.

The leader who is montoring the fund itself, IE- receiving, tracking, and reporting your donations is the Rev. Priscilla Austin of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seattle Washington.

The goal is 32 million. 

I just transferred 5 minutes ago $38,0000 after fees from GoFundMe and one well-deserved steak dinner. 

Always remember this: I wanted to help elderly Black ministers supplement their retirement, and some people wanted to silence, ignore, lampoon, and try to attack me.

They said this queer black man has lost his mind. It’s what they always say when we had enough.

These last four years have revealed who we all are deep down inside. We all have a lot of work ahead of us, and it can be joyful if we but try. There is a new world within reach.

I have the honor of being this church’s obedient servant

The Rev. Lenny Duncan he/him 

#FAFO #66thSYNOD #DEFUNDCHURCHWIDE