The Trumpy Blues, and How to Cure Them

I awoke this morning to a palpable depression in the energy around me. I didn’t need to interact with anyone to feel it. So many around me were sad, grieving the loss of someone…or something. Things weren’t any better when I went to class this afternoon. Our professor was so depressed he couldn’t teach, and so our class spent twenty-five minutes talking about the election.

As I sat observing and meditating on what I was seeing, I realized that people were literally feeling as though someone had died. Even my family snapped at me when I reminded them that I saw Trump’s victory coming back in August. (Please know that I didn’t care who won, but I know human nature enough to know well in advance who would. More on that another time.)

I continued to reflect on what I was observing and feeling in the energy of those around me as I moved from Administrative Law to Evidence, and only then did I realize that people had lost someone—or, more properly, something.

If you’ve ever read the Old Testament, you see this pattern in ancient Israel: falling into the worship of idols, repenting, and returning to a relationship with Yahweh. We look back on these ancient humans and wonder to ourselves how they could’ve been so ignorant or naïve, bowing down before manmade chunks of wood.

But we don’t have a leg up on the ancients. We do the same thing. Sure, our idols aren’t made of wood, but we still put our hope in things and people other than God, and that’s exactly what an idol is: someone or something, other than God, in which we’ve placed our hope.

For the last year-and-a-half, I’ve watched men and women, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat, Christian and non-Christian, put their hope in America instead of in the King who sits on the Eternal Throne.

Last night, as the votes were tallied and the election results poured in, the false god in which so many people had put their hope breathed its last. The heart-rate monitor flatlined. Their idol died. The idealistic utopia that people believed America to have been was exposed as a fraud. She never existed. America is and always has been a sexist, racist, and bigoted nation. Nothing about the last hundred and twenty years changed that, and last night, people saw America for what she really is.

If you are one of the people who put your hope in America, please hear me when I say that I’m sorry for your loss. Truly. I’ve put my hope in many false gods over the years, including America, and I know how much it hurts to lose them. I know the feeling of loss and the hopelessness that comes with that.

My hope and my prayer is that this election will serve as a wake-up call to feminists and advocates for equality. Your methods are not working. You cannot continue shaming your opponents; you must learn to love them. While our instincts are to hate and shame the rapists and the white supremacists, we must take our cue from the One who told us to love our enemies and to pray for those who oppress us. We must remember that he did not save this world by fighting for legislation or condemning those plagued by evil, but by laying down his very life—an act that would eventually topple an empire and lay siege to evil itself.

My hope and my prayer is that this election will serve as a wake-up call to a Church who has whored herself to a nation and rulers other than her One True King and Bridegroom. It is well past time we left the pig sty and returned home. We have abandoned the work of the Kingdom of God and sworn allegiance to a republic that is a far cry from His Name, forgetting the warning that we cannot serve two masters. We must stop looking to political candidates and parties to solve our world’s problems and start loving our neighbor—even if he or she is gay, black, Muslim, or an undocumented immigrant. Vesting our hope in this false god of America distracts us from Kingdom work, and it’s well past time we pulverized the golden calf.

The Dichotomy of Truth and Comfort

I still remember sitting around the lunch table in Martine’s with a bunch of businesspeople, lawyers, and family as we celebrated my dad’s 59th birthday. The conversation was lighthearted and cheery as the group laughed together, reminiscing of times past and looking forward to the times to come.

Then the conversation got political. One of the people sitting around the table sabotaged the camaraderie with a jab against Republicans, and it wasn’t long before the rest of the group joined in. Having been raised in a liberal family, I was used to this, but aided by the training I’ve received at Fuller Theological Seminary, this was the first time I was able to actually be just a fly on the wall, observing the people around me and reflecting on what I was seeing.

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Are We Doers or Thinkers? What the Modern Church Gets Wrong About Human Nature

Back when I was in college, I was a part of a Christian student group on the University of Utah campus called Utenited. Every Tuesday night, we would meet together in the Chase N. Peterson Heritage Center for a forty-five-minute study break that entailed exceptional worship and a five- to seven-minute Bible-based message to encourage and give life to everyone gathered, whether or not they believed in the doctrines of Christianity.

As powerful as these nights were, though, they were not the essence of our mission. Our mission was to be the group that serves, and throughout the school year, we would engage in various activities both on and around the University of Utah campus to serve the University of Utah, its students and their groups, and the broader community in which it exists.

We tore down tables and chairs at PlazaFest, long after most of the other student groups had left. We rearranged an entire ballroom from theater seating to a dining room in record time and left the University’s Orientation Office perplexed at how we did it so quickly and with such joy and enthusiasm.

Continue reading Are We Doers or Thinkers? What the Modern Church Gets Wrong About Human Nature