It’s been nearly a month since the so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, erupted into violence, culminating in a member of the white nationalist demonstration driving a car into a crowd of protesters. The event itself may have been eclipsed in controversy by the news coverage and punditry surrounding the way political leaders responded—but the events of August 12 didn’t come out of nowhere, and the social and cultural dynamics that fueled those events didn’t go away when the news got bored with them.
A little over two weeks ago, we spoke with Rev. Seth Wispelwey of Congregate Charlottesville to get a first-hand account of what happened on August 12 and hear about how one Christian in the town has been reacting to the city’s rise of racially charged demonstrations.
In this episode…
- Intro: Defining “care bear,” white supremacy, white nationalism and holding space.
- Interview: Rev. Seth Wispelwey on the Unite the Right Rally
- Follow-Up: Engaging powers and principalities
- Prayer: Rev. Charles Drew
- Additional resources and next steps
Seth: Our presence mattered to folks, that moral authority and that commitment to wade into a space where people are angry and hurt and confused mattered that the church mattered.
Rick: Hello and welcome back to the Christian Civics podcast, where we explore how the gospel empowers us to think, speak, and act differently in the public square. I’m your host Rick Barry, the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Christian Civics. We have a tough one this week. A couple weeks ago, I spoke with pastor Seth Wispelwey.
Seth has done faith outreach work with some big organizations, The One Campaign, which works in the spread of AIDS and other preventable diseases in Africa, and with international Justice Mission, a Christian nonprofit that rescues victims of human trafficking.
Seth is from Charlottesville Virginia, and over the past few months he’s been working with pastors and other ministry leaders the who want to protest the white nationalist and neo-nazi rallies that have sprung up in the town this year. Specifically, he’s been working with Congregate Charlottesville, making sure that clergy know how to conduct themselves effectively and safely in dangerous situations. I got in touch with Seth because I was interested in hearing from someone who was actually part of the crowd on August 12th. That’s when a demonstrator who was part of the white supremacist neo-nazi rally that called itself Unite the Right ended up driving a car into a crowd of protestors. I wanted to hear about what people who were part of the protest were trying to say or do and what that experience was like for them.
Seth and I had a long conversation. This is another one that we had to edit for time pretty significantly. Most of what we cut was about the long build up to last month’s controversial rally, including Charlottesville’s long debate about public monuments and the smaller white supremacist rallies that took place in the months leading up to the one we all heard about and know about. We’re going to jump into the conversation right as Pastor Wispelwey beings describing the actual events of August 11th and 12th. Once we get through him narrating those events we’re going to cover a bunch of smaller topics pretty quickly, including white guilt, what it means for pastors to wear robes, and how his lifetime in the church has shaped the way he thinks about politics and protest.
But before we get to it, there are a few terms he uses that I want to make sure we understand and clarify. First, you’ll hear him say care bear a few times. That is a nickname he and the other pastors he works with use for anyone who might not be at the front lines of a protest but who are making themselves available to provide pastoral care and support to people who are hurt or in shock. Next, white supremacy and white nationalism.
These are big terms. And we could dedicate entire episodes of this podcast just to digging into what they mean, how they work as ideas and systems and what they gospel story means for how we react to them. But for the purposes of this conversation it’ll help us to at least have brief, broad definitions: white supremacy is a range of opinions and dispositions that prioritize the culture, comfort, or well-being of people whose ancestors mostly lived in western Europe over the last thousand years or so.
White nationalism is an ideology that believes that our formal laws should be expressly openly written to benefit white people and that our government should offer white people greater freedom, privileges, protections and considerations that non-white people.
Christians who believe the Bible when it says that we are part of a kingdom where every tribe and tongue will willingly give up their crowns, give up their greatest glories, and worship a new king alongside one another can find white supremacy particularly troubling. And when those who are also Christians who live in a representative democracy, and who believe that God intend them to be custodians of and participants in the communities he places them in, a lot of them tend to find white nationalism to be an especially distasteful approach to law and government. Lastly, you’ll hear Pastor Wispelwey say “hold space” a lot. If that’s not a familiar phrase to you, it basically just means filling up a particular area with people so that other people can’t fill it up themselves. In this case, he’s talking about people who are dedicated to nonviolence, filling up an area so that people who might have violent intentions couldn’t go in and start trouble. If you’ve ever hovered around a table in a crowded restaurant so that no one else could come in and take that table before you sit down, you have a pretty good idea of what he means when he says holding space.
Alright, now that we have those terms clarified, lets dive into the conversation with Seth. I’ll be back with some quick thoughts after the conversations, and then we’ll go to Pastor Charlie Drew to lead us in prayer.
Seth: So, the story and facts on the ground really start on August 11th when the white supremacists come into town for the unite the right rally had a torch lit march through the university of Virginia grounds, ending around a statue of Thomas Jefferson where a small group of brave UVA students we didn’t know we’re going out there were trying to counter demonstrate with chants of love and protest and justice.
Simultaneously, almost, right across the street, Congregate Charlottesville was having a mass interfaith prayer meeting in the spirit of the civil rights movement with different clergy and faith leaders who have come from all around the country, and there was a lot of community members, about 175 people in there, who were getting prayed up, worshiping, getting ready for the day ahead and all the different roles we might take on, and there are livestream videos available of that service.
It was towards the end of that service that we heard that the torchlit rally led by the white supremacists was coming nearby and the church was put on lockdown and we worked to evacuate people out the side without really knowing the extent of violence that was about to take place around that statue, but that was one of, in that service, just the mountaintop moment, the feeling was electric. I don’t know if an Episcopal church has ever had its windows rattle so much, there was so much singing and worship and prayer, but also really prophetic calls to deal with America’s original sin in ways that fully transform our country and that hadn’t been fully engaged before.
So that was what was happening Friday night and then some late night consultations and plans as different intel and situations came to light for Saturday, you know, we knew after weeks of theological grounding and nonviolent training and building of infrastructure whether people are going to do legal help or medical help or offer care bear help or offer safe space in a nearby church or do direct nonviolent encounter and witness at the rally, which is what I ended up doing on the front lines. So Saturday morning we had a sunrise service, then those who wanted to go be part of the sanctuary space, the care bear space, and a different peaceful march, went and did that, and those of us who were willing and prepared to be on the front lines all day stayed behind, garnering the latest intel about what the situation was at the park. This was about 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning, and then about 50 of us marched silently from first Baptist church, an African American congregation, to Emancipation Park, and held space on the front line right there. In front of a heavily armed militia and then shortly after that, different white supremacists come into the rally with helmets and shields and flags started coming by. We snag, we prayed, we kneeled, I was being mindful of the space around us. Every kind of hateful slur was yelled at us, you know you’d think it would be predominantly about Muslims or immigrants or black and brown people, the majority of slurs that were thrown at the clergy were homophobic and anti-Semitic, which I think bears out across most of the day.
Rick: The majority of the slurs thrown at the clergy were homophobic and anti-Semitic?
Seth: I mean, to be clear, there were anti Muslim, anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, anti-black statements made consistently throughout the day and violence of that nature as well, but I think its fascinating, you know neo-nazism is the most prominent anti-Semitic ideology out there online, sure you’ll see from these same bloggers, it’s more of these long treatises on immigrants and black and brown people, quote unquote taking over the country and this and that, but when it comes to human to human encounter I think it gets more visceral thing for those who harbor a lot of hate and insecurity inside them.
Rick: Sorry for the interruption, but that’s fascinating, the dichotomy between the language online that people were using ahead of the rally, talking about ethnicity, immigration status, etc., and then when they actually come face to face with people confronting them they resort to some degree almost playground insults.
Seth: And that gets at a larger issue about how essentially this is all a free for all, there is law enforcement that was standing on the sidelines through all of this and that, as soon as we figured out why that came to pass. Let me walk through our day. As a few hours went by and battalions of these alt-right white supremacist factions started to fill up the park with a 12 o’clock start time for the rally, shortly thereafter different groups of antifascist groups, Black Lives Matter groups also, start populating the street behind us, it was then that dawned on us that wow, we clergy who thought we might be willing to risk arrest nonviolently holding space to block the park, but also to be honest to mitigate the violence we knew was going to happen. An example, no one was getting arrested, we realized if we hold space to try to block the park it’s going to be a physical, violent… violence, we’re risking violence against us, and that’s what happened. So first we tried to hold space on one of the fairways before we knew that a potentially violent encounter might happen when the white supremacists attacked the antifascist groups.
Rick: So there were no arrests made against aggressors?
Seth: There were like no arrests made period. There are now warrants out for some; one of the prominent neo-Nazis, Chris Cantwell, just turned himself in on felony charges. A young black man was beaten, his skull was cracked open in a parking garage that was caught on photograph, I don’t know about video, so people are trying to track them down, but the day of people were punched, directly in the face in front of police officers and nothing was done. A woman from my church was evidence of it, she went up to a police officer who was there, she was committed to nonviolence as well, and nothing was done, so that’s obviously a large part of the conversation that’s out there.
So we took the steps and a group of neo-Nazis with three foot wooden shields, I was on the corner thinking they might just push around us, or like that was to say, in our witness, God is not okay with this kind of ideology, they didn’t blink an eye at pushing right through fully cloaked, fully garbed clergy, and so our line broke. We regrouped and me and some of the others stood in the middle and that’s when the largest group of neo-Nazis started marching up the street, and that’s when we realized that we weren’t risking harassment, we were going to get stomped, they just didn’t care, and so that’s why I’m on the record in a couple places saying that Antifa, antifascists, saved our lives, which is true. I don’t as a follower of Jesus choose some of the tactics they do for confrontation, it may be an ideological thing, but our purposes were the same, which was to stem the violent tide, which is why I saw them as community protectors in that moments, but if they hadn’t tried to hold the street themselves clergy would have been trampled, so we decided to retreat back a little bit because we needed to regroup and relocate our own agency in that space as kind of realization came to us.
We entered back into the fray after the dispersal order had been given, we had a safe space at a restaurant downtown for clergy and faith folks. So we regrouped and decided that we felt called to be out there, that we can shield people who are receiving violence, as I’m sure most people have seen, it turned into a free for all melee, with nazis attacking protestors, with white supremacists attacking protestors.
After the disperse order was given and the whole area was tear gassed a group of clergy went out into the street to hold the street to keep neo-Nazis from coming back, to protect different protestors from the militarized police who were marching down the street, making sure their energies were focused where we thought they needed to be. And so we just responded, and then to step into the fray and protect people who were catching hell physically.
So that continued for a bit, and then we, and one thing I’ll never forget is the round of applause we got from different groups, antifascists, Black Lives Matter, clergy just kind of walked in there, and that’s not said as a humblebrag but more as a testament to the fact that our presence mattered to folks, that moral authority and that commitment to wade into a space where people are angry and hurt and confused mattered, that the church mattered and that we had something to say in that space.
Rick: You mentioned that a lot of you were in full clerical garb, and so I’m assuming you mean robes and the white collars?
Seth: Robes, yeah, the white collars, that’s correct.
Rick: I know, at least for me, I’ve been worshiping at churches that are a bit more informal in the ways that they are structured and presented, so I’m not very used to seeing pastors or ministry leaders in dressed in robes, but I imagine that helped establish that what you were doing is part of your Christian witness.
Seth: That’s right. So I too come from a pretty congregational tradition, and so I grew up in traditions that you don’t see that every Sunday at all, but a lot of pastors have that in the closet.
And that was actually a very intentional strategic decision to go out in the full dress, so to speak, and whatever kind of moral authority accrues to the collar to identify that way. It’s also a way of presenting a different kind of witness, prayerfully, that transcends the sides that quote unquote “the world” wants to take. So when you see the full drag, the full clerical garb, in the street, with the mighters (SP) and the stoles (SP) and the robes, it tells a new, different story visually, and that was the hope, that was a strategic decision, and I think we saw that in this melee. That’s a good question for sure.
And so now that was for an hour and a half, going to where there were different tents, encounters, holding space, comforting people, ministering, just strategically being available to where violence could break out at any point. We went back to our safe spot and just sat down, not more than three or four minutes when someone ran up and said that two blocks away a car had hit everyone and that was the terrorist attack that everyone is familiar with now, and so we just said clergy we’ve got to go, and I think this is where our training paid off the most for people, whether they were local or from around the country, about thirty clergy sprinted down from two blocks away and we were the first formal group from the scene, and I haven’t really been able to relive it, but in the moment we were just there with people, helping comfort them, clearing the street for the medics, especially the EMT’s and the ambulances, the official medics came up but the street medics were there doing work, it was awful, there was blood and glass everywhere, we comforted loved ones.
That’s where our infrastructure that spent weeks preparing, I was able to get on the phone and get different clergy who were not part of the front lines group to get in there cars and drive loved ones to the hospital who are just distraught, fainting, and hysterical to be honest, and then to just hold space and be protective and just minister in the moment, praying with people, but also do some front lines comforting people, I was with who were not the most grievously injured but had huge contusions, potentially broken arms, just getting them the resources they need because this was an unprecedented moment for everybody, and that’s where I think that no one could have prepared for that, but in a sense we did through our intensive simulations, through Congregate, it was terrible.
Rick: I want to maybe take a step back from that and talk about the moral or mental or spiritual preparation that went into this over the course of your life. I know that you’ve mentioned you grew up in the church, in one Christian tradition and now your ordained and ministering in another, and in between, through your work with IJM, through your work with The One Campaign, you’ve been coordinating with ministry leaders from a whole host of different corners of the American church, so I want to talk about how that has shaped your understanding of the gospel and your understanding of the Christian’s call, specifically how its shaped your understanding of how we’re to relate to the communities around us.
Seth: I think there is an interesting balance that we strike between the pastoral and prophetic where you don’t have to be a pastor and you don’t need to be a quote unquote “prophet” to strike that balance and do that work. My own faith calling, we’re all people in process so it’s been a process and funny enough I think it’s been a process to owning more than ever and wrestling more than ever with what I believed to be Christian orthodoxy.
Christian orthodoxy says that God choose to be born in the body of an unwed teenage mother to an unimportant people in an unimportant part of the world living under occupation. And that that person who we know is God in the person of Jesus lived his life disrupting the forces of empire through relationship. Jesus made himself friendly, the most loving to most of those most marginalized and oppressed and the ultimately the state executed him.
And that’s not me querying the texts, that’s Christian orthodoxy, and so I’ve been really sobered and refined, but also liberated in that space in terms of my own preparation I used to be someone who used to be like, if we get enough people to sign this petition we’ll make poverty history, a little less relationship based, a little less distant from the forces that govern the world and now I’m a person in process. But when this violent ideology said we’re going to dance all over your town, that my perspective has shifted enough to understand, for those listening at home I am a tall straight white man, middle class in the united states of America, but my perspective has shifted enough to understand that for everyone who doesn’t look like me or have the privileges afforded me or the comfort levels I do, this ideology cannot be ignored because it actively seeks to dehumanize too many of my human siblings, the same human siblings who I absolutely believe and know Jesus would be breaking bread with today.
Rick: Made in Gods image.
Seth: And also my perspective in showing ups in the front lines was to demonstrate, not alone, but to say, to demonstrate with my body and my faith that out of my own tradition Jesus stands with you, there are a lot of people who say and did say to me and not others still saying online and elsewhere at that that I should have just ignored them. To me that’s the response of people with the privilege to think they don’t have to pay attention, but this ideology physically and spiritually is violence to too many people.
Rick: So it sounds a little bit like some of what you’re saying could almost border on or cross the border into what a lot of people call white guilt.
Seth: Maybe, I just want to encourage people not to feel stuck. No one should feel guilty for being white, that is the stuck place. As a white person, but first and foremost as a Christian, I feel a responsibility, and responsibility is not a drag, it’s not a duty, it’s more a liberating opportunity to use the power and privilege I have to ensure that all of God’s children here in our country and elsewhere, are afforded the equity and equality and love and affirmation that our system’s currently do not fully provide, that we are not here to confront individuals, people ask are you attacking the cops, no we are here attacking structures of evil.
Rick: Powers and principalities.
Seth: Powers and principalities, exactly.
Rick: All right, that was my conversation with Seth Wispelwey of Congregate Charlottesville. If you want to hear more from that conversation stick around. I’ll be letting you know how at the end of the podcast. I know its been a few weeks since the unrest in Charlottesville and it its been almost two more weeks since that conversation was recorded, but it think it’s still worth hearing from someone who was on the scene, and I hope that you appreciated getting a little bit of insight into why someone might get involved in a protest like that.
Right at the end of the conversation, we brought up an idea that I think is really important if you are trying to understand and relate to Christians who are really passionate about some kind of social activism, and an idea that might be important to any Christian trying to figure out what our relationship is supposed to be to representative government. That is the idea of trying to engage systems, of wrestling with powers and principalities. A lot of times we can focus so much on taking our own thoughts captive, on our personal sanctification, and on the most basic possible evangelism of the people around us that we end up neglecting the bible’s commands to build better social systems. In the garden, God didn’t’ just call Adam and Eve to live with him and delight in him, he also called them to cultivate the garden, to steward it into health and flourishing. Moses and the prophets didn’t just command Israel to smash their idols and worship the true God, they also commanded God’s people to institute laws that would care for their neighbors and to actively work towards peace and toward flourishing in the communities around them. Paul didn’t just call Christians to confess with their mouths that Jesus is lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, he also reminded us that we’re struggling against the powers and principalities of the world around us, the rules and norms that govern our lives and societies.
It’s the difference between giving to a charity and working to make our neighbors and our communities more charitable. We’re not called to just bestow peace and mercy on the people who we happen to be able to see who need it at the times when we happen to feel up to it.
Jesus called us to be salt to the earth, to be lamps lifted up on stands. Salt seeps into the food you cook and changes the flavor and texture of the whole thing.
For Jews following the Old Testament law, koshering salt would render an entire piece of meat clean to eat. Lamps up on stands were the ancient worlds version of a modern-day floor lamp.
Candles could illuminate the things that were close to them, but lamps on stands could illuminate everything everywhere in a room, even the things they never touched directly.
One of the things that is one the biggest obstacles we need to overcome in our Christian lives is to understand how to synthesize these two struggles, the struggle against personal sin and the struggle for just ad merciful powers and principalities. And it’s a struggle that requires the whole church. Most Christian traditions and most Christian communities end up emphasizing one more than the other. Those of us who understand the Christian faith as inherently private, inherently personal, inherently concerned with a series of individuals, those of us who understand Jesus exclusively as the personal savior sent by a god who only has eyes for individual people, we need the fellowship of people who have a heart for what Jesus’ lordship means for whole communities and principalities. We need people who really care about what it means to be emissaries of a greater king.
And those of us who view the Christian faith as inherently public, as irreducibly about creating embassies of a kingdom that operates by better, fairer, more merciful, more just laws, we need the fellowship of people who are keenly aware of the way that sin works in our individual hearts and lives. People who understand Jesus not just as their king, but as their father, their master, their brother, and their friend. We can’t bear witness to the whole gospel without one another. The things Jesus claims and the things he’s going to do are too big for that. If you’re interested in how our private calling as Christians and how our public calling as Christians inform one another, we have some resources on our website that you might be interested in. visit Christiancivics.org/resources and check our light to the world, a five chapter bible study guide, and check our body broken, a book by pastor Charles Drew.
Speaking of pastor Drew, he’s joining us the week to lead us in prayer for the city and for our country in the wake of last month’s violence in Charlottesville. I’m going to hand things over to him, and then I’ll be back with some ideas on how you can do a little more with the ideas that came up in the interview today.
Charles: Let me read psalm 130 before we pray together. Out of the depths I cry to you, O’ Lord. O’ Lord hear my voice, let your ear be attentive to my pleas for mercy. If you, O’ Lord, should mark iniquities, O’ Lord who could stand, but with you there is forgiveness that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope, my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O’ Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is steadfast love and within his plentiful redemption and he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Let’s pray together. Our father, we cry to you from the depths. The events in Charlottesville trouble us profoundly.
We grieve over the violence, the injury, and the senseless death in the streets there. We grieve that racism lingers so many years after the terrible war that ended slavery. We grieve that racism’s public expression seems to be on the rise. For many of us, our grief is laced with anger and confusion. We see on TV this stony face of the young man who drove his car into the crowd of protestors, and we are filled alternately with fury that he should do such a thing and perplexity over why he did it. There was a part of us that wants to hurt him as he hurt others. There’s another part of us that wonders what it is about our life together as a nation that would foster and even sanction what he did.
We wonder, Lord, what we are supposed to do about Charlottesville, especially when we may be confused about the issue that led to the protests in the first place.
Should we pull down every statue, should we pull down any? If so which ones and why?
Should we reflect more deeply on the events? If so, what should guide our reflections? Should we talk about our confusion and anger at church? If so, what should we say and to whom?
Thank you, Father, for your anchoring voice, speaking to us through the psalmist. If you Lord should mark iniquities, O’ Lord, who could stand. We are confused, grieved and justly angry but we are also complicit.
Each of us carries his own particular form of guilt. The racism we decry in others takes its own shape in us. We too stereotype people and diminish them.
They may be young white men whose politics we fear and despise. They may be women who threaten our job security.
We often treat people as obstructions to be blasted through, as enemies to be hurt, as nuisances to be avoided, and as resources to be exploited, but not as your image bearers to be loved because we love you, even when we do not understand or like them.
Our sin runs deeper still. We treat people the way we do because we are afraid.
We are like watchmen on the walls at night, peering into the darkness, but we have forgotten what we are searching for. We have forgotten that with you alone comes the morning. We have set our hopes elsewhere, our aspirations have too often become our idols, a certain version of America, the implementation of a certain policy, job security, success, acceptance, pleasure, and freedom have too easily taken first place in our hearts and because we cannot be sure of those things we have rushed and manipulated and hurt to secure them.
Father we are a reflection of our nation. In so many practical ways we have joined our country in forgetting you. Together with our neighbors we have lost our way, together with them we have abandoned our first love and brought upon ourselves as a result the griefs of Charlottesville. Forgive us father, by the cross of your son.
By your spirit make that forgiveness and the welcome that flows from it so palpable and precious to us that we grow tired of setting our hopes in anyone or anything other than you.
Order our politics Father, more fully around your word and less around our desires and preferences. Order our social hopes more fully around your steadfast love and less around our fears and resentments. Teach us to fear you above all else.
Lord Jesus Christ make your church beautiful. A place of love, and honesty, and humility, and goodness, and reconciliation. So winsome and attractive that people throughout our beloved country are drawn to you. We pray in your name, amen.
Rick: Amen. That was pastor Charles Drew, a member of the executive board here at the Center for Christian Civics and a frequent contributor to our blog and mailing list.
Speaking of our mailing list, it went through a bit of a change recently. Starting this month, instead of one big overly long email every month, we’re sending it out in smaller chunks. So each month we’re aiming to send out one email that has a devotional with prayer points, and then another email that has a list of recommended reading, and then one more that has some practical action items you can use to grow in your public discipleship.
Pastor Drew wrote this month’s devotional email, which went out earlier this week, but it’s not too late to sign up and get next week’s email, which is going to cover recommended reading and listening. In addition to some of the books and podcasts that our team members have been digesting lately, we’re also going to include some recommendations from pastor Seth Wispelwey, some of the books and writings that have helped shape the way he practices his faith. You can sign up for that newsletter at our website, you can go to christiancivics.org/newsletter.
And if you want to learn a little bit more about pastor Wispelwey or hear more from him, we’ll be including another excerpt from our interview with him in our next bonus episode of the podcast. These bonus episodes, when we make them they go out as special thank-yous to our supporters, to the people who help fund our ministry, so if you want to hear a little bit more about the work pastor Wispelwey did, helping ministry leaders connect with anti-AIDS word or anti human trafficking work, head to christiancivics.org and make a one-time or recurring donation.
We’re hoping to be able to actually hire some full time staff members by the end of the year, so monthly donations really help us out when we’re budgeting for that, but you don’t need to become a monthly supporter to get the bonus episodes when they come out. All of your donations are 100% tax deductible, and as a new organization they’re vital for making our work possible. So visit our website, christiancivics.org, make a one-time or a monthly contribution, and you’ll get the next bonus episode when it goes our in October.
Alright, that’s it for this episode, I want to thank pastors Wispelwey and Drew for being with us, well have links in the show notes on our website where you can learn more about pastor Wispelwey and about Congregate Charlottesville. If there are any topics or questions you’d like us to cover in future episodes, head to our website and fill out the comments form. We’d love to hear from you. Our theme music is by sonic weapon fence. We’ll be back in about two weeks, probably with an except from one of our classes, and in the meantime visit us online at christiancivics.org, to learn more about our work empowering the church to be lamps on stands across the political spectrum.