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.

Can Christians Be Feminists? Part Six of a Six-Part Series on Christianity and Feminism

When I started this series on Christianity and feminism many months ago, I told you why I do not consider myself a (secular) feminist. I found secular feminism to be philosophically shallow, and said that I thought Christianity offered a more robust basis for gender equality, but that because equality based in God wasn’t equality on our terms, we may not like the implications.

The catalyst for this series was a Christian Ethics class I took last fall as part of my program at Fuller Theological Seminary, and one of the things I’d learned from my exploration of this issue as part of that class is that my disagreement with my classmates and with the authors we read boiled down to how much authority we assigned to the Bible and (consequently) how we interpreted it.

So, in the first post of this series, I walked you through what the Bible is. I told you how the Bible came to be what it is and how that story, coupled with the high authority I assigned to the Bible, led me to interpret the Bible using a biblical narrative hermeneutic, which is just a fancy way of saying that I interpret the Bible as one cohesive story, from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.

Continue reading Can Christians Be Feminists? Part Six of a Six-Part Series on Christianity and Feminism

Where’s Your Hope? Why Conservative Christians Fear the Syrian Refugees

Last week, a host of Republican governors openly declared that their states would not welcome Syrian refugees fleeing the terror of ISIS and their war-torn country. I was deeply troubled by their remarks, because before the Constitution was even ratified, it was already clear that the control of immigration would rest squarely with the federal government. (See Arizona v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 2492 (2012), for a history.) But even more troubling for me has been the response from the community of people who claim the name of Jesus.

This is just one more heartbreaking episode of a recurring drama in American political life. Those who claim to know Jesus—the God-man who summed the entirety of the Old Testament law in two commands: Love God and Love Others—are the very same people who more often than not assume a political posture that is cold if not outright hateful.

In one conversation I had with another Christian on the subject, I was belittled for thinking that the Bible says we are to care for the marginalized and the oppressed, even at great cost to ourselves. Beyond that, my knowledge of the law was questioned because it did not comport with his view that Obama wishes to be king and the States are doing a brave and noble thing by saying no to those in need. Continue reading Where’s Your Hope? Why Conservative Christians Fear the Syrian Refugees