After four days of high anxiety and perpetual election maps, the U.S. has now chosen a new president elect. Predictably the streets have filled with joyful revellers while those on the other side are choosing both helpful and unhelpful ways to respond.
Most of us had hoped that everyone could pause, heal, and let the dust settle. However that dust is still homeless, kept airborne by people whose goal in life is to keep it stirred up.
I want to share a few thoughts from my heart. Sincere thoughts. Honest thoughts. I have some strong political opinions but that’s not what this is about … I just want to speak.
First, I’m worried for the United States and its people – a country divided. It concerns me that the lines are so stark and unyielding when there is so much healing needed. The same kinds of political lines are also being drawn here in Canada by people with views not unlike our southern neighbours. Like any relationship, breakup is inevitable if the sides refuse to cooperate.
Second, I’m worried about President Trump. Sure I’m concerned about what further damage he and and his minions might do. (He has already gone on an unexplained firing bing at the Pentagon, replacing four top staff with Trump loyalists with less than three months remaining in his term.)
But more than that I’m concerned about him as a person. His sense of worth is tied to power and money (both anti-biblical) and these are being taken from him. He is in debt, facing criminal charges, unwell physically, unwell emotionally, and has no true friends (according to insiders). The political hangers-on who support him only do so out of fear or opportunism.
Which brings me to number three, Trump’s supporters. If you are one, I love you, so I want to say this kindly.
I don’t get it.
That’s all – no lists, no rants, no attacks. I simply have no baseline, no point of reference, no view of the world to even begin to understand. Let me explain.
Speaking for myself, I am exhausted by the soulless, unsmiling faces in the current administration and the relentlessly amoral people that prop them up. I honestly have no idea why anyone would want them in leadership over anything.
In fact, the contrast between Trump and Biden is stark. The former is insulting, crude, self-centred, stubborn, irreligious. He never laughs, never shows kindness or remorse, and attacks anyone who doesn’t bow down to him. He is not someone you want to work for, work with, or do business with. His words are normally false and his actions are inevitably manipulations.
The president-elect on the other hand is measured, kind, level, laughs easily, and is a faithful church attender. He is equally comfortable with heads of state, children, or the hurting. He will even be the first President to bring a rescue dog with him to the White House (where there is currently no family pet for the first time in over 100 years…).
I just can’t understand struggling with this choice.
But if you’re an evangelical who supports President Trump, I am even more lost. I have heard the bent excuses, twisted bible interpretations, and manipulated justifications – all so thin they are nearly invisible. No, no, and nope. Idolatry. You are of course welcome to vote as you wish but if you believe he is God’s ‘chosen one’ – well, your version of God’s will is unrecognizable to me.
Trump’s example is literally 180 degrees from the biblical lifestyle christians have upheld for their entire history. He is not someone you want your child to emulate and does not fit the biblical requirements for leadership. His life is nothing like how my grandparents and parents lived; how they taught me to live; how I taught my children to live; or how I hope my grandchildren will live.
He is literally the exact opposite of Jesus, my example, in every way I have seen. Jesus embodied justice, kindness, peace, forgiveness, equality, generosity, humility while rejecting money, power, legalism, falsehood, selfishness. We are instructed to avoid this type of person, not endorse them.
By any objective metric, he is against the ways of Christ … antichrist. In fact, for those who believe in a literal antichrist, Trump’s personality and actions actually check all the prophetic boxes for one. (That’s right, they’re following the character in history they swear they will never follow…)
The only way I can even begin to work my brain around this puzzle is to consider:
A: Handfuls of evangelical leaders are using him to advance their own agendas and influence;
B: There is blind allegiance to these leaders by many believers;
C: This is accompanied with a poor biblical understanding of the kingdom of God;
D: Evangelical christians are angry at the world and Donald Trump is the bully they secretly admire.
In each case, power is their god, meaning Jesus is not.
Speaking of prophecy, there is a hopeful note from a verse in Daniel about how faithful believers react to an antichrist. “With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”
I’ve seen a thing or two
I have a smart phone, I have a computer, I have a TV. I’ve seen the crazy evangelical videos, Facebook rants, nitpicking, lying, and bible twisting in order to justify Trumpism. Creepy. There has even been a flood of late-breaking visions, prophecies, and ministries offering frenzied predictions and wacky prayers that the election would be overturned (playing right into DT’s hands).
Closed minds, degenerate hearts, spreading poison instead of grace. But this is not – I repeat, not – even a distant cousin to the faith the rest of us have embraced and experienced.
I’m sorry, but with that said, is it any wonder that evangelicals are becoming increasingly irrelevant in society? And you’ll notice it is increasingly the ‘liberals’ and ‘socialists’ who are doing the work of caring for the poor and protecting the helpless.
And should we be surprised that hundreds of thousands of people raised in the faith are leaving evangelical churches each year? Good, sincere people are looking for God and reluctantly acknowledging the spiritual emptiness in their churches.
this is where I finally get to the point
The book of Acts is a snapshot of how Christianity was birthed in a caldron of violence, competing truths, swirling agendas. Yet the apostles and the core disciples remained focused and clear-headed in spite of the chaos. For them the goal was always Jesus Christ: his life, death, resurrection, and daily presence.
On one occasion Paul and Barnabas were in the town of Pisidia (Acts 13) and shared their message which was well received by the community. At the same time, religious leaders stirred up some of the people with angry disinformation, and the resulting mob forced our two heroes to leave town.
How did Paul and Barnabas respond? Well, with a well-known tradition which Jesus suggested to his disciples much earlier and is also recorded here in Acts.
“So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium.” (NLT)
In other words, We told you the truth but you refused to listen, so that’s on you. No hard feelings but … see ya later.
Here’s the thing. The Trump evangelicals who are bending over backward to spread foolishness, incite anger, and promote an evil cult are wrong. Yes, wrong. And dangerous. That needs to be said.
They embarrass and frustrate the rest of us because their claims tarnish the goodness of God. Then we remember that Jesus doesn’t want us to be like them – he asks instead that we love and pray for them.
So I invite you to join me in the hard, Christ-like work of loving and praying for those we disagree with.
Then shake the dust off your feet and walk away from them.