I woke up this morning at 4:30 with a sinus headache. After medicating, I made the mistake of checking my phone notifications, so I’m now writing a blog at the earliest time of day ever, ever.
It seems Donald Trump won the election. That surprised me.
But you know what didn’t surprise me? Liberty definitely didn’t win. Instead, our president-elect has campaigned against the First, Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendments. I honestly don’t know how anyone can expect him to keep a campaign promise when he can’t even keep a promise to a wife.
However, I’m going to make good on my word when Trump is officially installed as POTUS: Honor the emperor (which, ironically enough, some have actually called him that). The main question is how we move forward from this, particularly when he didn’t exactly win a landslide and the age demographics skewed heavily toward older people voting for Trump. We’re currently just as divided as before.
That said, here are some basic pointers for Trump supporters, particularly Christian Trump supporters, in the wake of the election.
Don’t gloat. – Seriously. Don’t do it. You’ll only make things worse.
Be consistent. – The fact that Republicans have a majority in all of the federal government shouldn’t mean that you buy whole hog into everything they do.
Don’t expect the government to improve your life or spread the Gospel. – I hope I don’t have to elaborate further.
I still feel the need to elaborate on the third point. Governments don’t improve lives, pretty much ever. I fully expect that after Trump’s first term, abortion will still be legal, we’ll still be in perpetual, illegal, undeclared warfare; and that our civil liberties will be even worse off than they are now, mainly because the Religious Right has bought into the notion that all is well as long as the GOP is in charge. This should not be. If we were in a post-Christian culture literally yesterday, that didn’t change overnight.
Honestly, I hope that Trump implements policies that benefit the entirety of our populace. I’ll support him when he does, but I’ll also – with gentleness and respect – strongly oppose him and speak up against bad policies. I challenge and invite you to do the same.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” – Romans 13:1
But Hillary murders babies, and Trump is practically Hitler.
“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17
Over and over again, the Bible tells us to basically not freak out over earthly governments. People are depraved. Governments are comprised of people. Therefore, governments will be corrupt. At the same time, God uses governments to render punishment for evil in the world, to promote good and to accomplish his own purposes. Keep in mind that that these biblical passages were written while nearly every Christian was under the subjugation of the Roman empire, and Rome wasn’t always so nice to the church.
That doesn’t mean that biblical writers never have criticisms of those in authorities. Jesus called the Pharisees snakes and sons of the devil. Paul called the Pharisees a bunch of “whitewashed walls.” Depending on your eschatology, John may have called Nero “the Great Beast.” So, yes, there’s a time for blunt truth.
At the same time, 1 Peter 3 tells us to make our defense of the Gospel “with gentleness and respect,” and Colossians 4 says our words should “always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” 2 Timothy 2 commands us to not be quarrelsome, and 2 Thessalonians 2 tells us not to be easily alarmed. I have absolutely failed at living up to those commands.
But commands with no root are ultimately self-help with a little Jesus added. The foundation of all these is the Gospel itself. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul is adamant about his rights (which, yes, we have as Christians) but that giving up those rights in order to save some to the Gospel is far more important. Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen when necessary and used his Jewish heritage as an example, but his focus wasn’t to Make Jerusalem Great Again or to change the empire through political means. Check out how respectful he was in Acts 26. He knew that the only meaningful change in the world is when hearts are changed via the Gospel. When we call out national sin or governmental corruption, we should do so with their salvific interests in mind. It’s not so much about us being awesome and them being wrong and fixing it but about seeking their repentance and ultimate faith in God.
Before Jesus left the earth, he told his disciples that all authority had been given to him. I don’t know about your exegetical methods, but I’m fairly sure that “all” there means “all.” As in, Jesus is sovereign over this election. Jesus is sovereign over whether or not you’ll make it to the polls safely tomorrow. Jesus is sovereign over those some who would be saved that Paul was talking about. Jesus is so sovereign that he shuts up those who criticize him and that every knee will bow at the simple mention of his name.
It doesn’t stop there, however, because when God adopted us into his family, we became heirs with Jesus, so the universe is already ours through Christ anyway. Why would we freak out over four piddly years worth of rule in a temporary nation, when our citizenship isn’t ultimately of this world in the first place?
Sure, vote tomorrow based on your conscience. Someone will win, and I have strong negative feelings about both likely candidates, but don’t put your faith in the office of the presidency or in power of the United States of America or in the very existence of the United States of America. Put your faith in Jesus, because he’s in control of the whole thing anyway.
At this point in the election cycle, I’m operating under the assumption that Donald Trump will end up as President of the United States. I’ve made my resistance to that pretty well known on other outlets (and probably this one, but I’m too lazy to check), but I’d like to offer a thought experiment for Trump supporters, to see if they’ll reason with me.
The vast majority of Trump supporters I’ve come across are quick to make the claim that, “America is the greatest country in the world.” Other than the fact that you can’t actually prove such a statement, that’s fine to have your opinion.
However, Trump’s entire campaign slogan is, “Make America great again.”
According to Trump, America is not currently great at all, so how can one claim that America is the greatest in the world when there currently isn’t any greatness? That would, by default, mean that another country is the greatest, assuming there’s enough greatness to go around or that a country not called the United States is allowed to be great.
I believe that illustrates the cognitive dissonance pretty well. Correct me if I’m wrong.
I must say, the last three weeks have been pretty nice. My church started 2016 with a social media fast to unplug from technology and reconnect with real people. I had to modify said fast because I kind of make my living using it, so I abstained (with two exceptions) from personal posting. That ends today.
After having time to evaluate pretty much everything regarding social media, I’ve come up with three very basic principles I think we can all get on board with while posting, even if you’re not on the Jesus train with me. This isn’t addressing any potential Facebook debates, which is an entirely different can of worms.
Clarity – Does this post accurately and clearly reflect all sides represented on an issue? It’s easy to misrepresent an opposing opinion, but it does no one any good.
Community – How does the tone of this post affect those who will read it? Too many Christians feel like bludgeoning the world with their take on things. Satire and sarcasm have their places, and I do believe positive changes can come via snark, but there does come a point when it can cut too deep and bleed out your entire point.
Donald Trump – Anything goes. He’s an ass.
I also plan on proper blogging more, particularly with an idea that struck me during this fast. I’m starting a new blog series called Changing the Conversation, where I examine myriad issues and see if there’s a third, more valid option than the two traditional views presented. Subscribe to email updates on the right side of your screen to get all of those.