Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Some preliminary thoughts on what trump as president means

Many of us woke up this morning to the surprising, and if I am honest, disappointing, news that Donald Trump is the president elect of the USA.
We don’t know what Trump will do. His statements have often made little sense. Some (maybe many) of his statements have clearly been made to stir up a response from his target audience (angry whites who feel disenfranchised).
I feel disappointed by evangelicals (both here in Canada and the USA) who have been strongly anti-Clinton because she is pro-abortion. Trump may have made some anti-abortion statements, but the overall tone of his statements (I cannot use the word “policy” because I’m not sure he has any) are not pro-life. Single issue voting is almost never good. And pro-life is so much larger than the abortion issue.
I have a sense that Christians in the USA have an eschatology of politics. When people, and specifically Christians, become confident because their party wins, or when they get depressed and feel hopeless because their party loses, then they are caught up in the empire-shaped eschatology of politics. It is a sign that their hope is more in politics than in Jesus; a sign that they are more citizens of their country than of the kingdom of God; a sign that they are listening more to the gods of this age than the God of the ages.
Exit polls[1] indicate that white evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Trump. Which, at least in part, indicates that character has become unimportant to evangelicals. It’s time to speak up and remind Trump and ourselves (as evangelicals or conservatives or atheists or liberals or whatever label you chose to wear) that immigrants are made in the image of God, women are not tools and toys, racial and religious prejudice must be confronted, and so much more. We are called to speak truth with love.
Trump in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning said: “We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us… [we will] reclaim our country's destiny.” Those are scary words. They go back to the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. They open the door for political bullying on a continent and global scale.
But having said all that: I went to bed on Tuesday night with Jesus as Lord. I woke up this morning and Jesus is still Lord.
Trump or Clinton was and is not the hope of the USA and the west and democracy. Our hope is in God.
It was the South African missiologist, David Bosch, who in his book Transforming Mission impressed on many of us that the church’s mission is not in fact the church’s mission but God’s mission. Our calling is to participate in the missio Dei, the mission of God in this world. That’s where our hope is.
Our hope is in the gospel of God. God’s mission is gospel-shaped. Some today want to reduce gospel to personal salvation while others want to convert into public politics and secularize the kingdom of God. The gospel is about Jesus the King and the gospel is about kingdom citizens living under the king regardless of who is in “power.”
Our hope is in the gospel of God that creates God’s people. God’s gospel-shaped mission creates a new people of God, that transcends all differences and man-made distinctions. The gospel creates kingdom citizens who live in this world and live the vision of the kingdom of God. We need to soak up how God’s gospel-shaped work always and forever creates a gospel people.
Someone has written: “every hour [‘chronos’ time] is pregnant for possibilities for God’s kingdom to break in with transforming significance [‘kairos’ time].” Lord Jesus break in, in this time, transforming our world. As David Fitch tweeted this morning, “Maybe not since the 60's or even Hitler's rise in Germany, has it been this important for the church to discern what it means when it says ‘Jesus is Lord.’”
And so this morning:
  • Lament, deep lament. For all those who felt threatened, triggered, attacked, vulnerable, through the whole campaign process and now to have to face the uncertainty of a Trump presidency, may you find communities of support and protection. May you find strength for the coming days. May fear not rule in your hearts. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
  • For women, refugees, immigrants, people of color, religious minorities, Lord hear our prayer. 
  • The fact is, our Lord tells us in the last days things are going to get worse not better. I think that is happening and is going to continue to happen. I am sorry I am not more positive but the one thing I know is that the Lord is here and His Spirit is with us.
This morning, among the people I see and talk to, I will continue to try to:
  • Love and not hate
  • Embrace and not divide
  • Take down walls and not build them
  • Trust and not fear
  • Put down stones instead of throwing them
  • Have faith in a God who is bigger than Hilary and Donald and Justin and the USA and Canada and ...
  • Seek justice within my influence and not neglect
  • Be thankful for my job, home, church, family, community and not greedy for more of what I think I deserve
  • Hope and not despair
  • Listen and not shout
  • Be patient, kind, gentle, good and not angry, mean, and disrespectful.
  • Seek peace and not war


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