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!