Ok I know social media is not the place for this kind of topic, but I can’t keep my heart in my chest and my words in my head. If I don’t let them out I will explode. Consider this for me as much as it is for anyone.
I honestly didn’t think I would be affected as deeply as I am by this election. Probably because I am a straight white male, and my life wouldn’t change much no matter who won. But I have been shaken. Not by Trump, necessarily. Yes he repeatedly offended me and the people I love, but I think that he has the potential to do a good job, if he listens more than he talks. I have been troubled by his support from people who really really hate other people. I understand there is frustration with the current political climate, and the system that many feel overlooked in. I can sympathize with those who feel that Trump is the way to get back at the weak liberal nonsense that is so “un-american” (btw the diversity of political ideals is what makes democracy great, not weak. Liberal Americans are just as American as Conservative Americans. But, that’s a different discussion). What I want to talk about is the Church.
The Church. Where do we stand?
I love Jesus, I love the Church. I am deeply committed to God’s Kingdom being moved forward in radical ways. God chose to use His Church to bring the good news to the world. The problem is the world has no idea what the good news is by watching us. What the world sees is a religious establishment ready to condemn, demonize, alienate, mock and bully the weak in society. Is that the good news of Jesus? Is that the message of the Kingdom of God? Where we seek justice, love mercy, protect the widow and orphan, and those cast out of society?
We now are in a dangerous place. Literally and metaphorically. We have targets on our back. Not in the good way, as Jesus said, when we follow His way of life (peace, grace, hope, generosity, forgiveness, love for the outcast) the World will find us weird and want us to stop. We have a target on our backs because of a political scenario that painted all of us with the character traits of one man. One broken, sinful man (just like the rest of us).
Now I don’t care who you voted for. It doesn’t matter. Simply because Trump got the Evangelical vote, the world sees us the way they see him. According to non-Christians, and our even our liberal brothers and sisters, we now all support racism, sexism, fear, hate, discrimination, the list of awful things goes on.
Already there have been reports of violence, sexual abuse, bullying, white supremacy chanting all in celebration of Trump’s victory. I know that’s not a reflection of all Trump supporters, but according to the world, it is. And why wouldn’t they make that assumption? These are all things that Trump has demonstrated, and the Evangelical voters didn’t think were big enough reasons to not support him. I don’t think Trump created these problems and people, but his election removed the fear of those people acting on their impulses. “Why shouldn’t I do that? The president does it.”
I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you’re on. I don’t care which way you voted, and why. Maybe his stance on the issues really was worth overlooking his offensive nature. It doesn’t matter; Trump’s values of fear and division are now tattooed on the foreheads of anyone claiming to follow Christ.
So we have work to do.
First, to my non-straight-white-male friends:
Please know that I am a safe place. If you need to talk, hide, yell at a white guy, whatever. I am here for you. I want you to know you are loved, valued, by God and by other humans. Please share your stories. Please be honest and open, even if it feels hard. I want to know you, to know your pain, and to walk with you through it. How can I support, uplift, encourage, and empower you? I’d love to use my straight white male privilege for healing and strengthening. Let me know how I can help.
Second, to my Christian brothers and sisters:
Please remember that Jesus’ way of strength is through weakness. Don’t take this opportunity to defend your principles and prove your moral superiority. Take this opportunity to listen. To enter into the fear and pain of those around you to understand them. Talk to those who are being “targeted” by Trump’s zealous supporters: Muslims, African-Americans, Hispanics, women, the disabled, the LGTB community. Don’t know any people in those groups? Reach out. Go find someone and hear their story. This is the only way that the Church can prove their love for the people of our communities. Talking about it within the church walls does nothing. You support Trump but you’re not like those hateful people? Prove it. Go find someone and show them with your actions that Jesus loves them. That you love them. You voted for Clinton and now you’re pretty sure all white people are bigots? Go talk to them. Get to know them. This is the only way we as a Church can move forward with integrity.
It’s going to be hard. You’re going to find yourself in uncomfortable situations. It’s ok. Jesus was in some pretty uncomfortable positions, yet he thought the people he talked to were worth it (the outcast, the leper, the women, the half breed Samaritans, the sinner, the adulterer, yes, even the rich and powerful).
So I am affected. Deeply affected. I fear for my friends of color. I fear for my Mexican wife and her family. I fear for my half Mexican kids and what the future holds for them. I fear for my LGTB friends and what must feel like an immovable wall of judgement falling down on them. I fear for the weak.
But I will not let fear win. Jesus is the good news we need. His perfect love casts out fear. Where I see fear, I will move in love. Where I see hate I will lean in with mercy. Where I see anger I will reach out with kindness. Christians, if we are to be the Light, the Hope that Christ calls us to be, we have work to do. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.
2 thoughts on “Now what?”
Thank you Peter for you candid, honest remarks. Thank you for encouraging Christ’s way & not man’s way.
This is beautiful. Thank-you Peter.