Pastoral Rant in thinking about Trump, God, and the future….

This upcoming election has taken me into a dark place.  This upcoming Presidential election has taken me into a dark wilderness.  Where is the Promised Land?    Donald Trump has taken me, spiritually, into this dark space.   I fear for our nation.  I fear for our children and grandchildren!  I fear that the ways of the world we have enjoyed may come to an end!   Or can faith in an almighty power – GOD – help us recapture a path through this wilderness?  Can faith in the living Christ help us walk a path that leads us through trying times?

 I.  LIFE IN THE WILDERNESS—WITHOUT GOD

Donald Trump in his campaign to become President is projecting hatred and fear into the lives of people from coast to coast.  With all the struggles of the world surrounding us, Trump is giving uimple answers without serious solutions.   He is saying he is the “parent” who will make America great again!    How?  We don’ know.   I don’t hear the slightest hint that Trump knows what he’s doing.  In my opinions, he doesn’t have any credible leaders surrounding him.  We hear more deceitful lies than anything else.  And there are his taxes!  Trump won’t let anybody see his tax returns.  What is he hiding?

Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer of “The Art of the Deal” says:

 “Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true.” 

I need to hear Trump answer questions without dancing around avoiding serious answers.   I want to hear the truth.   I want to hear serious answers to questions about how our next President will lead us for the next four years!

I wonder what America will look like if Trump becomes President.  I sense our nation will become divided, once again, by race and religion and class.  People around the globe will no longer trust us.  Who knows what will happen with Donald Trump’s index finger just a few inches away from that button that can destroy the globe?   How are our global partners to relate with a nation that reaches a point of no longer caring for the globe?  Is this great experiment called “America” failing?  Are we losing our constitutional anchor?  If Trump is elected, what will happen to the ideals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?

Some have suggested that Donald Trump is on the road to becoming another Hitler.  I share this fear that Trump will become a Hitler-like global leader—and he may not even recognize this is the road he is leading us down.  Another topic for debate!

Donald Trump is fueling fires of hatred and fear.   People of many different walks of life are listening to this negative rhetoric.  Trump has created a ‘Cult’ with millions drinking from the cup of hatred, violence and division.  From the wilderness, I wonder if Donald Trump is leading us toward another civil war?

II.  FAITH IN GOD LEADING US THROUGH THE WILDERNESS

From a spiritual dark place, I now search for ways to think about this election knowing God is always with us.  What hope emerges from faith?  Scripture?  God?  Christ?  With my training as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian tradition with over forty years of experience, what do I/we as women and men  who believe in God need to teach?  Preach?  Where is God’s love and hope?  What are some of the biblical themes that can help us work with all this broken world throws our way?  With the help of some colleagues, several themes come to mind.   I acknowledge this is a rather short list of just a few of the positive things that emerge from scripture that can help women and men of faith live through these troubling times.

Preaching / Teaching Ideas:

1.  Let’s teach and preach advocacy for non-violence in managing conflicts.  Perhaps we also need to become non-violent “activists”, like Christ,  if we are to find our way through  darkness and wilderness periods In life? 

2. Let’s teach and preach “truth to power”.  I for one will re-read some of what Walter Wink has to say on this subject.  Where is the divine presence of Yahweh or Allah or God in our world?

 3.  Let’s recapture what it means to preach, without fear, the gospel of God’s love for all people of all walks of life—even those we may feel are our enemies.

I also lift up one of my favorite texts:  Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hears and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Each and every day, I commit myself to affirm God’s presence as a source of light in times when darkness consumes me.   On those days I fear this American Experiment is going to fail, I need to look to God for hope for God’s Will to prevail.  God (or whoever we believe is our divine foundation) is always going to travel with us leading us toward those things we believe God promises all people…..love and peace and hope and life and liberty and joy and freedom  —  and happiness!

Ending this rant I come back to an ancient, confessional question and my personal answer:  What is the Chief End of Humankind?   My chief end is to give glory to God and to find ways to enjoy God (and life God has given me) forever!

 

A GRAND NEW PARTY? :(

I have a hard time imagining Donald Trump as President.   While it troubles me that Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz might also have a small chance at becoming the Republican candidate, Donald Trump really worries me.  He seems to have the support of what some call the GRAND NEW PARTY! 

I have spent the last few days listening to a host of reputable commentators who predict that Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for President.   Conservative stars, at this time in late February, seem to be aligned for this to actually happen.  One issue seems to stand out:  Donald Trump is tapping into the anger and frustrations of people who feel Washington has failed them.  Trump doesn’t hold back in sharing his own anger and frustrations with inappropriate things he says. 

I still ask as a democrat:  what has happened to all the good things that can be documented that Barack Obama has done to make this a safer world that is much more economically stable than eight years ago with unemployment under 5% and millions of people now getting health care they never had a chance to receive before?  Barack Obama will be known in history as one of our greatest Presidents.  Obama looks and sounds Presidential.  He is respected by leaders around the globe.   Before even receiving the GOP Nomination, world leaders have shared the fact they are worried about what Donald Trump would bring to the world stage. 

I have to pay attention to those who say Republicans, at a core level, speak of Trump and Cruz and Rubio just as Democrats, at a core level, spoke of Barack Obama as a young African-American Senator running for President.  I must ask of myself, are some of the things I am feeling the same things republicans felt prior to Obama’s being elected?  This is a question I must ask.

In all of this I am trying to step back in trying to be a careful ‘listener’ in hearing what Donald Trump supporters are saying to us as a nation.  I share the frustration and anger when it comes to a senate that refuses to support anything that comes from the mouth of Barack Obama.    

What has happened to the decorum required to be leader of the free world—President of the United States of America.  What are leaders around the globe going to say if all that Trump anger and lack of  decorum is found in the next President?  I would like to see a person in the White House who acts Presidential.  Trump, as President, would be an embarrassment—domestically and around the globe.  Trump is clueless when it comes to having a command of all the issues a President must face.  

More important than ever before, this nation needs to elect a democrat to be President.   It is also time for the democrats to take control of congress.  It is time to get out the votes for a democrat to be the next President of the United States.

 

 

JIM WALLIS BLOG ON ISIS

Jim Wallis’ Blog, God’s Politics, is a must read in understanding why so many young people, some from the United States, are drawn to the ‘dangerous theology” in describing the war with ISIS. This article points to all the miss information being fed to us by Bill O’Reilly and Fox News slamming Obama (no surprise) in defining this conflict with ISSIS as a “Holy War”.

Bill O’Reilly, Fox News’ top-rated political pundit and talk show host has devoted a great deal of attention to ISIS atrocities and what he believes the Western response should be. Unfortunately, while O’Reilly rightly condemns ISIS as evil, he frames the conflict as a “holy war” that ISIS is waging against the West, Christians, and anyone else who does not share ISIS’ extreme views. O’Reilly defined his “talking points” as “Judeo/Christian philosophy versus the Jihad.” According to O’Reilly, “this is now a so-called holy war between radical jihadists and everybody else including peaceful Muslims … The holy war is here. And unfortunately it seems the President of United States will be the last one to acknowledge it.” While it’s a common Fox practice to turn everything into a partisan issue against President Obama, O’Reilly is also spreading a very dangerous theology.

I found Wallis’ five points helpful especially when it comes to our call to take responsibility in helping young people understand why it’s so dangerous for young people who are getting swallowed up with the “cult like” propaganda being fed them.

This is the link to the Wallis Blog:

http://sojo.net/blogs/2015/02/26/5-things-know-about-isis-and-theology-evil

Obama Speech–Executive Actions on Immigration

The immigration system in our country is broken.  The congress has failed to inact reforms.  The Senate has approved a reform bill, now over 500 days ago.  The house leadership refused to take the bill to the floor for debate.

Millions of undocumented immigrants want to play by the same rules as everyone else in this country.  I hear the news media call them “illegal” immigrants.   I believe UNDOCUMENTED is the correct term.   People by nature of their humanity are not illegal (another debate).

This is a link to the actual speech President Obama gave on Thursday evening.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/immigration-action#

For those who didn’t hear the President speach, this is a good read.