Jordan Tarwater

The Rev. Jordan Tarwater is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently serving as the Executive Director and Minister of the Urban Outreach Center at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Searching After Hope

Jeremiah 4:19-20, 22

19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!
    I writhe in pain.
Oh, the agony of my heart!
    My heart pounds within me,
    I cannot keep silent.
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;
    I have heard the battle cry.
20 Disaster follows disaster;
    the whole land lies in ruins.
In an instant my tents are destroyed,
    my shelter in a moment.

22 “My people are fools;
    they do not know me.
They are senseless children;
    they have no understanding.
They are skilled in doing evil;
    they know not how to do good.”

I am a straight, white dude and I couldn't sleep last night because I'm so terrified.

For all of my friends and loved ones for whom last night represents an existential threat to your basic human rights, you have my total solidarity, my outrage, and my commitment.

Today we begin again to fight together and organize together and do everything in our collective power to check this dying gasp of white supremacist bullshit. Tell me how I can support you. I'm here for every protest, every cup of coffee, every prayer, every voter registration, every conversation.

But this morning, I'm scared for the homeless and food-insecure people that I serve in ministry every day. I'm scared for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I'm scared for immigrants and refugees. I'm scared for people of all faiths seeking to live out the love and peace of God in a broken world.

I'm desperately searching after hope in a morning that seems defeated. And I'm beginning to find common emotion in the laments of Jeremiah, to find a call to action in the Confessions of the Presbyterian Church, to find light in theology written long ago that speaks truth to our continuing fight. I hope maybe these will help you find a word of comfort too. 

A Brief Statement of Faith, 1983.

“In a broken and fearful world, the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.”

Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy."

Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin

"Before God's face all kings shall fall and be crushed, and all the judges of the earth, that have not kissed his anointed, and all those who have written unjust laws to oppress the poor in judgment and to do violence to the cause of the lowly, to prey upon widows and rob the fatherless."

The Belhar Confession, 1986

"We believe that unity is, therefore, both a gift and an obligation for the church of Jesus Christ; that through the working of God's Spirit it is a binding force, yet simultaneously a reality which must be earnestly pursued and sought: one which the people of God must continually be built up to attain; We believe that this unity must become visible so that the world may believe that separation, enmity and hatred between people and groups is sin which Christ has already conquered, and accordingly that anything which threatens this unity may have no place in the church and must be resisted."