Reason for Writing This
I write this in both sadness and great joy at the same time. I have planned for a few weeks to send this as an email and post it on facebook saying this is I will have no other political posts. Finally, that time has arrived. The time before Nov. 3rd, a presidential election, where I implore you to vote no matter what your political bend or candidate you vote for. But I mostly implore you to put full trust in God no matter what the outcome.
I have never in my life seen such division. In the country, in my family, AND in the church. I am extremely thankful that my church has been a leader in how to work through division by allowing different opinions and viewpoints to exist in the Church while being a beacon of light for Jesus (www.hosannalc.org) at the same time! Praise God for that!
I feel sadness because in the last 4 years Donald Trump has been seen as the initiator of this division in country, family, and church. And he clearly does and has thrown fuel on the fire of division and chaos. I feel sadness because I (along with 81% of evangelicals) voted for a guy that manipulates our country more than manages and leads it. Trump started a language of division, mockery, and chaos and led us into a crisis-like division in our country. On top of that, he has not led or managed our country well through a genuine crisis (a world wide pandemic) well and even down plays the truth to Americans as if we are little children that need to be sheltered from the truth.
However, in many ways, Trump outlines a much bigger pandemic in the world. That is a problem of trust: for me, Christians with political agendas, and the rest of this world.
This BLOG post is about that Trust
When I was a young Christian, My wife (Sue) and I took some bible study classes at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Ia. They were led by a guy, Steve, that I continue to look back and still respect to this day.
Steve predominantly led couples classes and classes on marriage. I learned a lot from Steve and he laid the foundation of my faith today. However, Steve did something else. He also sent out signals and partisan cues that as a Christian we should also be lining up with republican values. As I look back at the dysfunction today, I see that this attitude and bend for partisanship in the Church as something in the church (sin?) that has paved the way for political predators like Trump to take advantage of evangelicals for their vote. Ultimately, evangelicals are one big voting block of people that allowed a liar and political manipulator to get elected,
Many believe a person like Steve was created by the religious right and Christian parachurch ministries that had a a political agenda while masquerading as Christian to accomplish their agenda. Their agenda: to pull people into the republican party. I recommend Randal Balmer’s book, Thy Kingdom Come, to understand more of why that statement is true. Randal is religious historian and a Christian. He is also Pastor and has a pastoral heart.
That might be partially right: Steve is a product of the religious right. However, as Lydia Bean point out in her book, The Politics of Evangelical Identity, this partisanship in the American Christian Church has no head and no leadership. It is a zeitgeist, a spirit in the Church, that has no head and no leadership. And let me be clear: this zeitgeist in the church is a spirit that does not FULLY represent the Jesus Christ I see in scripture. In other words Steve is a product of many dysfunctions in the American Church because politicians see the evangelical voters as a crucial block of people to get elected. Evangelicals and Christians are the target of many politicians manipulative words.
Steve, was also why I aligned my Christian beliefs with the republican party. Today, I see this partisan alignment as something that did not come from scripture. It did not come from the Spirit of Jesus Christ or even The Message Bible. It came from a spirit in the Church that runs contrary to Jesus’ character. Jesus allowed political diversity in his disciples. He even had a antigovernmental zealots and pro-government tax collectors. They all had a primary allegiance to Jesus as their lord and savor over their politics. They all trusted Jesus more than government or politics.
Thing I Affirm And Will Continue to Stand For
I feel the need to apologize for this division in my family and for the division in our country. However, before I do that, I want to say what I will continue to stand for:
- I will continue to call out Trump as a political predator for the evangelical vote. He clearly is. He demonstrated nothing of a deeper faith and daily flies in the face of Jesus moral vision in Matt 5 (The beatitudes), Matthew 5 is Jesus moral vision for His Christ following community and Trump represents that LESS than any president in my lifetime. However, this will not be done publicly on Facebook any longer
- I will continue recognize that a significant portion of American Church community (including some in my own family) have become victims of partisan theology that sees their faith through a partisan lens. They fell to the the same schemes I did.
- I will call out partisan cues when they masquerade as Christian when done by Church leadership — either lay leadership or other. Either they must (1) not allow partisanship to enter your view of God, or (2) allow equal representation of all sides and perspectives. I won’t do this by confronting them publicly but rather I will talk to them privately. If it continues I will remove myself from that individual or Church entity.
- I will continue to be a chief end voter. I wont fall for any political party to use a single issue like abortion or the environment to sway my political opinion into their camp. My primary voting priority will be: (1) To vote for the candidate that will glorify God the most (Matt 5:1-48 and Proverbs 6:16-19), (2) To vote for the candidate the makes the world best and lasting for my grandchildren, and (3) lastly, the other policies of the candidate.
- I dont apologize for calling abortion a political football for the right. It clearly is. Neither prolife nor pro-choice are prolife enough for me. To read more about this I recommend Randall Balmer’s book Thy Kingdom Come. I have a section of this article below dedicated on abortion since this idea is very important to me as I move forward.
Below is my Offical Statement on Abprtion as it is regarded in politics
Is it possible for a Christian to be both pro life and pro choice? Absolutely!
Although i prefer to say the pro life movement is not pro life enough for me. Neither pro choice nor pro life represent the Jesus I see in scripture any more or less than the other side. The basic question for me is would Jesus be for an unborn child or for an overwhelmed, often underage mother. For me the answer is YES… to both.
Love always requires a CHOICE. The goal of pro life politics is to make abortion illegal. This falls far short of what Jesus wants. Our goal should be to make abortion….. unthinkable. The only way to make abortion unthinkable is to come alongside the mother and family with grace and mercy while putting down personal agendas.I believe this idea represents MORE of Jesus and Gods character than either just the pro-life OR pro choice politics!
I believe that the only way forward is to adopt a Kingdom vision that transcends the civic and political vision on this issue. If we continue to hold the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate hostage by treating it as merely a political issue, we will get nowhere.
Below is an some general information on the history and origin of abortion being used as a political football in politics. Please do your own research. Balmer is a religious historian and a Pastor. It has been used as a political football by both religious right parachurch ministries as much as politicians.
I highly recommend Randal Balmers book Thy Kingdom Come. He is a Christian and a religious historian and then do some historical research on abortion in the moral majority and protestant America. For 6 years after Roe v Wade, protestant America did not take a stance either way. The Southern Baptist Church even had an official stance to not take a stance on Abortion in the early 70s.. Then in 76 Pat Robertson, Falwell and others supported devout Christian, democratic, pro choice Carter. In 80 they supported Republican Reagan.
Why the change? Because carter threatened to take away tax exempt status at Christian Universities because … drum roll please … they were highly segregated Universities, Bob Jones U did not allow inter racial dating and barely allowed blacks to enroll.So they formed the “moral” majority under Falwell. They had no decent leg to stand on in a racial ethical fight so they formed focus groups on how to “pull” people into a voting block of people. Out of the focus group… 6 years after Roe v. Wade, they finally decided abortion was the topic to use as political ‘bait’ to pull people into the republican party.
Tell me… in the last 40 years since the moral majority started pulling Christians into the republican party what have we all gotten for voting republican on the abortion topic? Zip! Why? Because its only bait for politicians and the religious right to get and maintain political power. All you might get out of it, if you are lucky, are some political table scraps.
Add to this historical information the statistical fact that under democratic presidents the abortion rate has had steeper rates of decline than their republican counterparts, I see no reason to use abortion as a reason to vote for either party
Things I Do Confess
- I need to learn to trust God even when I see other church leaders giving hidden partisanship cues linked to their faith. This also includes people in my family
- I need to ask for forgiveness of people in my family
- I have been living a half measured trust and I need to trust God more fully
Trust and Glorifying God
As I stated at the top of this topic, the last 4 years of Donald Trump outlines a much bigger pandemic in the world. That is a problem of trust: for me, Christians with political agendas, and the rest of this world and America.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen. And trust is intentionally jumping into faith’s assurance and conviction with every aspect of our lives…. not just some aspects. I believe the tendency is for people to confess a full hearted faith… but we end up living a half measured trust. We confess God with our lips but we really dont live that way each and every day: This includes:
- We dont put trust in God with our money
- We dont put trust in God with our family
- We dont put trust in God with our future
- And We dont put trust in God with our politics
Instead we put trust in a vast menu of things the world puts before us. This includes
- Trust in this political party or that political party
- Trust in that candidate or this one
- Trust his policy or that one
- Trust this process or that one
Scripture tells us to Trust God with our finances , with our future, and with our children. Scripture never once asks us to put trust in those things but to trust God with those things. In the vast menu of life our idolatrous nature continuously wants to put trust in something other than God.
We are clearly living a half measured trust even though we confess a full measured faith. And I am putting a stake in the ground and saying it is time to stop having a half measured trust.
A few things I heard from a sermon this morning. (Yes. God was working as I prayed over writing this BLOG topic.)
- We will never learn to trust God if you are always blaming others
- You will never learn to trust God if you are blaming the other party and idolatrously trusting in your party over God
- You will never learn to trust God if you think it is your job to fix your family
Inherent to trusting God is self evaluation. Inherent to trusting God is being willing to trust God even when things don’t go your way. When you are constantly blaming others (or the other party or guy),when your constantly casting off responsibility, then what you are really saying is that God is not at work at everything in your life.
We can’t serve two masters. And to serve two masters is a violation of the first commandment to have no other Gods. We can’t serve God and money. We can’t serve God and family. We can’t serve God and country. We can’t serve God and a political party for our future. Our finances, country, political party all work best when we trust God with those things and not trust IN those things. Living an idolatrous life and a having a half measured trust is a sin.
After much reflection the perfect thought came to me via a sermon on trust this morning
Trust is found when we carry an abundance mentality while in a scarcity reality
No matter what the circumstance or who is in charge of our country, my full trust is in God.
This does not mean we quit using common sense, cast care to the wind, or stop being good stewards of the environment, our finances, or our vote. It means we stop putting our trust in other gods, in our portfolios, in our abilities, and in my political party, and definitely NOT in Donald Trump (or in Donald Trump losing as I have). It does, however, mean we trust God to provide in everything. It is time to confess that Lord is God. When we have radical trust in God, your life and the life others around are changed. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).”
It is time to put a full measured trust in God instead of the vast menu of this world… including the vast menu of ideas that politicians place before us. Through faith alone only can we achieve the goal of no longer living out a half measured trust.
It is time. This BLOG will be attached to a Facebook post saying I will no longer post anything political. I will continue to vote for the person that will most likely glorify God the most — republican or democratic. I will strive to be truly independent voter as I do this and to be good steward of my vote as I do this.
But what is it really time for? It is time to trust God fully. It is time to make Jesus King over finances, politics … and Donald Trump. God came here with a mission. To over come evil and to reconcile the world back to him through Jesus Christ. I trust God will do all of that ! I trust God!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).”
No more political posts!