Recently I wrote something that I need to amend for Christians who back Trump:
I don't think you have an idol in him. My questions may have sounded that way these last two years, but I would never accuse you of that. However --
I do think you sound afraid. And angry. A lot. (To be fair, so do some anti-Trump Christians.) That's where my questions come from. It sounds like like you expect Trump to save you from a host of boogeymen -- from terrorists to immigrants to the dreaded liberals. These are human beings, even the terrorists, and our response to them -- biblically -- should be different than the response of people watching the news or attending a rally.
We have the good news. I've tried to say that in everything I've written on this subject since November of 2015. We have the answers to the issues we face. There is no need to fear, particularly people.
This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. -- Ephesians 6:12
I know you know the difference between Trump and your actual Savior. It just sounds like (sometimes) that you don't. I love you and I know you will tell me when I sound fearful, too.
Let's call her Ginger. Not in the generic sense of a redhead (though she is) but like the spice, which packs its own heat. She was in the emergency room next to ours.
“GET HER OUT OF HERE! I DON'T WANT HER HERE!” Ginger had a few clear phrases, frightening on their own. But she also screamed random syllables, like words chopped and reorganized. Not a slurred drunken speech, or some other-worldly tongue. This was pixilated speech. Like a glitch in her matrix. Chilling.
As Ginger's cries escalated, so did my mom's erratic breathing. I was beginning to think we were going to need assistance, and everyone in our unit was dealing with Ginger. You could hear the staff take control, follow protocol, but you could also tell that physically, she was out of their league. Security was called. The wait was precarious.
I couldn't articulate any of this, just posted to Facebook, “Pray for us. At ER with mom and screaming lady in room next door is taking staff away. Thank you.”
As the silent notifications of friends' prayers lit up my phone, Ginger immediately became calm. I cried with relief. And we did see a nurse. “She didn't want me in there,” said the RN, when I asked about our neighbor. I assured her we would welcome her anytime.
Later, I asked another nurse about what it's like to work those situations. He said he'd worked in a rehab facility and after 30 days to get someone sober, the person would often begin using again, at the levels of their previous tolerance, and die of overdose. Only one or two out of a hundred would completely escape, he said. We both lamented the lack of strong relationships awaiting them outside. It really does take a village. And you need a healthy village.
Her door was open once and I saw Ginger sleeping. She looked like a felled redwood. She really could have taken down that crew. Once we got admitted, so did she, with security posted outside her door.
Pray for whoever is surrounding Ginger. Her sober friends may think she's out of their league, too. They will need their own support.
I wrote this a couple weeks ago; just posting today. Mom is well, thankfully. I didn't see Ginger again. Praying she's okay.
I've been asking the wrong question.
For two years, I've been asking Trump Christians, “How do you defend him spiritually?” Yes, you have your political reasons (my politics led me to vote third party) but those are temporary, earthly. I want to hear your big picture reasons. I want to know how you voluntarily give leadership to someone who:
Why is domestic political dominance more important than our witness as a worldwide church? How do we, as members of the global church, justify defending someone whose agenda is in direct contrast to our own?
Of course, I'm never getting an answer to these because these questions end with accusations that I am attacking the Trump person personally. That baffles me because I genuinely want to know their theology behind standing up for this guy, and I use much gentler language with them than I did here, trying to get to a thoughtful response. No one -- not one Christian Trump supporter in two years – could go deep on this subject without getting defensive and ultimately hostile, no matter how kind or peaceful my approach. I finally figured out why.
Basically, I was telling them they had an idol. I didn't mean to, honestly, but there it was. My questions implied that they were putting their own political agenda ahead of God's agenda of reaching the world. Jesus sums up the whole Bible with “Love God; love each other,” and how can we do that if our political identity requires making enemies of all these people we're supposed to love? Without saying it, I was communicating that “America First” does not serve the Great Commission OR the Great Commandment.
So what's a better question?
How about – why did God allow Trump to be president? Again, no political answers. We know no leader is in charge without God's consent, and we know God allowed Israel to suffer some foolish kings. So why Trump? You may have your reason but here's mine:
For every person or group dehumanized by the president, an outpouring of support swells around them and lifts up their cause. The harsh tones of belittlement are like a plow that brings fresh soil to the surface. I think of that verse in Hosea, “Break up your fallow ground.” These voices have been silenced by powerful people and broken systems but now are being heard. In the words of Joseph, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
I hope many lives are saved as a result of this season we are in, no matter how long it turns out to be. I hope one of those lives is the president himself. I pray for the people around him to affect him. The media keeps saying there's no changing a man of his age, but we all know the softener of hearts.
Our part right now is to actually do something in response. Not just be outraged (I'm guilty) but be part of something, somewhere, that is meeting the needs of the powerless, and giving voice to the poor and oppressed. Something that brings healing. Something eternal.
That's my answer. What's yours?
Update 10-17-2017: clarification to Trump Christians