There are Two Kinds of People
James Dobson recently called Mr. Trump a "baby Christian" and joined the ranks of plenty of other evangelicals endorsing Trump. In the NYT article, Dobson is quoted as saying that Christians need to give Trump slack because "he didn't grow up like we did." Dobson, whether consciously or not, is saying that he believes there is one kind of Christian: the kind that grew up like he did. I don't know who the "we" is he's talking about, but I know a lot of Christians, and here's the thing: their upbringing does not fit into a nice, packaged box. That's the beauty of the Christianity I love: it brings together people from every type of background regardless of race, gender, religion, economic status, social status, etc. Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, who was born in a stable and buried in a borrowed tomb, the Lord of Lords who washes disciples feet and reminds the pious that they too are sinners, the Man who was God, the God who was Man—who dealt with temptation and lived a blameless life nonetheless, the sometimes-quiet and sometimes-loud Revolutionary who chose the road of nonviolence. This is Jesus Christ, the One who was, who is, and who is coming again—and yes, while we need to recognize that only Christ is perfect, and we need to give each other slack; we also need to call out the things that are wrong, and be reminded that while we "guard each man's dignity" we also "see each man's pride". Jesus tells us to go remove the plank from our own eye before we remove the speck from another man's. But he doesn't tell us to leave the speck in the other man's eyes! Yes, we need to self-reflect. Yes, we need to make sure the Gospel we preach in public is one we preach to our own flesh in private moment-by-moment.
If Trump, who is claiming he's a Christian, can openly criticize full sectors of human beings simply because they are a specific religion or ethnicity—we don't just need to "cut him some slack", we need to show him what following Christ is. He can take the word evangelical. But I won't sit back and let him redefine what it means to be a Christian. I am a Christian, and being Christ-like means laying down bigotry and racism, even when I don't want to. It means learning to undo hate, even when I feel justified in hating. It means valuing human life regardless of what label that life fits into. So I'm sorry Mr. Trump, but if you want to call yourself Christian, you need to start acting like one. I'm afraid you are simply doing this to get more "evangelical" vote; and while I value your life (or struggle each day to do so) I do not value your deception or your outlook.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think human beings fit into two categories and those who don't. I'm one of the latter.
The American political system is one that fits people into two categories. And most Americans do the same. You either love Coke and hate Pepsi or vice versa. You are either a football fan or you aren't. And we do it in the Church too: you're either a left Christian or a right. You're either one who feeds or one who eats. You're either a Calvinist or an Arminian. You've either said the sinner's prayer and accepted salvation or you haven't.
Unfortunately that leaves a lot of people out: I'm just as happy to be drinking a Coke as I am a Pepsi (mostly because I NEED caffeine and I don't drink a lot of soda). Sometimes I'm OK with watching American football, but when I start thinking about how much money the sport makes and the corruption that goes on with that love of money I get discouraged and wonder if my watching it only helps that love of money (I know I think too much). I'm neither right nor left on the Christian spectrum, though with my "right" Christian friends I think I don't quite fit in and with my "left" Christian friends I think the same. I'm neither Calvinist nor Arminian (You can call me a 3-point Calvinist or a 3-point Arminian depending on what day of the week it is.) And some people haven't said the sinner's prayer, but they are on the road to salvation; while others who have said it are still on that same road.
Unfortunately our two-party political system is polarizing its people once again. The government of the people, for the people, by the people is leaving out a LOT of people, and turning into the government of the polarized, for the polarized, by the polarized. We've got Trump and Hillary. I'm not sure it's ever been so evident in my lifetime how much our country needs a three-party system. And how much Christian Americans need to remember what Tony Campolo recently said:
"The Kingdom of God will not come from the White House, regardless of which party wins the coming election."
"[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." -Romans 14:17 (AMPC)
6/29/2016 09:50:15 am
Right on Gena, sometimes we just need a John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, bringing back common sense and the simplicity of the gospel and accountability. So maybe you are the next "Gena the Baptist" crying out through the written word for simplicity of the gospel, truth and accountability to what we profess.
6/30/2016 04:05:27 pm
Again! You hit the nail on the head with your words. Wonderfully said. "Gena the Baptist" Thanks Craig for this name :)
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