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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Post-Election Requiem

If you didn't realize it before the election, I hope you realize it now: the United States is a racist, homophobic, misogynistic country, and there's no use pretending anymore that it is not. We're still a great country, but the veil has been lifted. I've known this for a long time, and I always appreciated the veneer of civility that we would use to try and make our virulent hatreds a little less controlling. But the law cannot change the hearts of people. The Apostle Paul knew it, Martin Luther knew it, and now we know it. Law can keep us civil, but it cannot erase sin.

There are a lot of people, of course, that want law to erase sin. Their cause is admirable, as law has been about the only thing in the last 4000 years that has kept us civil. And the more civil we got, the more we stretched the law and its limits in hopes of erasing sin. But the law cannot do that, and sin always wins against the law. Even if it takes a long time...sin wins that battle eventually.

And if you've tried to make sense how the fraud Trump became President-Elect, you realize it's a lot like trying to put a square peg in a round hole--it just doesn't fit know matter what angle you try. That's how sin works. It ignores the rule of law, so that law is powerless to defend ITSELF against sin. What sin attacks is law, and sin always finds a way to work that law cannot go. And sin wins.

Image result for pantocrator  In the Christian tradition we hold that only one thing defeats sin, death, and the devil, and that is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Or, in a catchier, post-election slogan, what we call the Word of God. The love of God, unlike the law, does not play by regular rules. The love of God is based on God's love for every single person, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and all the rest; the love of God is for every man, woman, trans, no matter how young or old; the love of God is for every person, regardless of the color of your skin. The love of God is for all people, no exceptions. Only that love has the power to defeat sin.

I want to live in that love, don't you? Don't you want to live with people you can trust? Don't you want to work with people who care? Don't you want to be celebrating with people who know joy? Wouldn't you want to grieve with people who know despair?

To live in that love, it seems to me, means we have to start loving those everyone tells us not to love. Otherwise, how will you be able to trust them? We might start celebrating with those whom we don't know, or else how will you know their joy? We need to grieve with those who weep, or we fail to know their despair. And, here's the funny thing about that love, it will allow people to trust, celebrate, and despair with you  as well.
Image result for rublev icon

The fraud Trump cannot take away that love from you. He can kill you for it, but a lot of people have died for that love. But know this, because God's love cannot be defeated by sin, death, or the devil, every time we die for it, love wins. I am sad that people will have to die for God's love to win, and I have arrived at the conclusion that I may very well be one of them. So be it. If God's love is good enough for me in this world, God's love will be good enough for me in the next.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.


Anonymous said...

Due to space limitations I'm going to have multiple submissions to reply to the above.

Part 1 of my response:
I thought I'd take the time to reply to the above.

I'm not sure why the above refers to Trump as a fraud. He has been more 'raw' and upfront than any person running for President than I can remember.

Yes, he is not a politician but never said he was. I don't believe he was pretending to be someone he is not. He is a very successful business man with business successes and business struggles. He doesn't ever drink alcohol (due to his brother struggling with it and dying from it). His children have said that has always been there for them and has been a very good father. Employees, business associates, and people that know him personally talk very highly of him. He has been described as a very hard worker and very ethical with his business dealings. During his campaign, he funded the campaign himself with the assistance from regular citizen donations. He didn't take any money from special interest groups. Also, as President, he says that he doesn't want to be paid and if he has to be paid, then for him to only be paid $1.00. All of this says a lot to me about him.

He has opinions and has shared them very openly. Yes, certainly, there were times that he said things that were inappropriate or offensive to people that I wish he didn't say. But, at other times I have greatly appreciated his openness without worrying about being politically correct. As a people and a country I believe at times we have gone too far with political correctness - such as being so careful not to offend that we have actually given people 'special rights' over others to help protect their differences. I don't believe differences should necessarily mean 'special rights' or even condoning sin. But, we should certainly show them respect. God loves us and we are to love others but we are not supposed to condone sin. Trump is not sinless - none of us are. But, often times when he spoke out when it was offensive to others, it really was against the sins that we have been allowing to occur in our country under the current 'system'. Unfortunately, Trump at times used generalizations and offended some people.

Trump was not my first Republican choice. I thought Carson and Cruz were at the top. However, once he became the Republican candidate, I knew it was crucial for me to vote and to vote for the candidate that was more closely aligned to my beliefs and values as a Christian.

As a Christian, I proudly voted for Trump and Pence over Hillary Clinton for so many reasons.

To be continued...

Anonymous said...

Part 2 of my response:

I saw Pence speak in person and he talked about these items below and stressed the importance of faith and prayer. The event I attended was opened with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem. It was great. Pence said he is a Christian, Conservative, and a Republican. This was very apparent in his speech.

I knew I couldn't vote for Clinton because I do not support Abortion - especially in the way that Hillary Clinton does (all the way up to the moment of birth/due date). I also struggle with her shady past with all of the inappropriate dealings she has had and inappropriate use of the Clinton Foundation money. I also struggle with how she handled her email security as a leader in our government. Plus, so many of the things she wants in place for our country are so opposite from what I want for our country. This is why I am a Conservative.

Trump wants to improve the current immigration system to help resolve the issues related to it. Immigration is wonderful in so many ways but we should not allow criminals into our country. We need appropriate vetting to occur and we need our immigration laws to followed. In addition, people coming into our country illegally should not be rewarded by getting special treatment/benefits/money/handouts etc. They broke the law! During our history, millions of people have come into our country legally. It was a big deal and an honor for them to come here. I found family heritage papers where even the family church was involved in giving their approval, blessings, and prayers to my immigrant family member in the late 1800s for the journey over here. The immigrants came here to pursue the American dream - to make a better life for themselves and family. Many of them started businesses. How wonderful! It was done legally though and with appropriate vetting. (If you look out our previous vetting process, if the immigrants were ill - depending on the illness - they were sent back to their original country. We had our country's bests interests in mind - meaning our current citizens at the time.)

Also, the financial benefits and handouts we have for people in need are wonderful as well. Originally, the churches were to take care of those in need but over time our government has gotten involved. Either way, it should be controlled in the sense that it is for those that ARE in need. It should not be for those that just want an easy way out and just don't feel like working for it. For example, we need to ensure that people out of a job are showing that they are actively looking for work. There are many references in the Bible about how we should not be lazy, how we should appropriately plan our tasks so we don't lose out, how we should work for our food etc. I believe this is in the Bible a number of times in various ways for a reason. For example, I don't know this as fact but I would think that people that have jobs also have greater happiness, greater self-esteem, and feel like better role models for their family members and friends compared to those that can work but choose not to work just to get free handouts. Trump wants to reduce the current dependency on our government and I believe that is the right thing to do.

Also, I voted for Trump because I think people should have a right to own guns if they want to whether it is for hunting or personal protection or some other reason. The 'bad' guys will always find a way to hurt others regardless of what the gun laws are. I read a little 'story' once that said the 'unmanned' gun didn't shoot anyone the entire day. It isn't the gun that is the problem - it is the people that want to hurt others and they will find a way to do it even if they don't have a gun.

I also voted for Trump because he pledged to take better care of our military and our veterans - these have been neglected for too long.

To be continued...

Anonymous said...

Part 3 of my response:

Trump also wants 'smaller' government. For example, I am also strongly against Common Core and the Federal control of our education. Under Trump, he wants to give the control back to the states so they can modify their education accordingly - they are aware of their specific needs since they are closer to it. The Federal Government should never have control over the education. If it is government ruled education and curriculum, the government can brainwash children to think anything they want them to. This can be dangerous.

He wants taxes reduced in multiple ways. I appreciate that!

He wants to change a large part of ObamaCare to make it more affordable. Sounds great to me!

He wants to make sure that the United States isn't getting the short end of the stick for trade agreements. That makes sense to me!

He wants more jobs in the United States vs being outsourced to other countries. I also like this idea!

He wants the United States to be self-sufficient for our energy needs so we don't have to rely on other countries for our oil which also will create more jobs. I think this would be terrific!

Again, yes, I wish he didn't say some of the things he said. However, from what I have heard, he is a lawful man (significantly more than Hillary based on the various investigations involving her). He may speak from the hip at times. But, I believe he has great ideas to help Make America Great Again.

It is frustrating seeing the various protestors exhibiting such hate for Trump (many of them are paid to protest). I wonder how many of them really know what they are protesting against and what Trump wants for our country. Regardless, we need to remember that we are to love ALL people and we are to love Trump too. To love also means showing respect - regardless of Trump's mistakes, he deserves our respect as well.

To summarize, it is the bigger picture that matters for me. Therefore, as a Christian, I proudly voted for Trump based on my values and beliefs.

God Bless America!

Anonymous said...

To 3-part response: Excellent response! It is scary to think that Scott thinks Trump wants to kill us. Apparently, he knows nothing about our President-elect Trump who only wants to make America Great Again! Too bad that Scott has such a narrow view. I agree with the 3-part response and wish more people regardless of who they voted for would respect our elected Trump.