Monday, July 25, 2016

The American Church & The Rise of Donald Trump:

May I be honest for a minute? I am scared. I look at the candidates for the two leading parties in America and they both scare me. In reality, one of these two are going to be our next President and the future of America could not look more bleak.

When I scroll through my Facebook feed (I know a reliable source) I see my white, male Christian friends urging me to vote for Trump and I see my friends from other ethnicity and backgrounds urging me to vote for Hillary.

To be perfectly honest in good conscience I can not nor will I vote for either one of these candidates (let the hateful comments come on).

As I examine the rise of Donald Trump I can not help but feel some blame as a Minister of the Gospel for creating an environment in which Trump would rise to power.

I am sorry for my role as a Minister of the Gospel in creating an environment in which Donald Trump could rise to power. Below are eight factors which I believe have contributed to the rise of Trump.

1) I am sorry as a Minister of the Gospel for not speaking out against racism:
Donald Trump has risen to power playing on the racial tendencies which exist in each one of us. Each one of us has a propensity to gravitate towards those who look and act just like us. This is wrong. As a Minister of the Gospel I am sorry for not speaking out against the sin of racism. I am sorry for saying statements such as, "God is color blind." "If there's an African American Month shouldn't there be a Caucasian American Month." "All Lives Matter." I am sorry for not standing with my brothers and sisters of different ethnicities and speaking out against racism. I desire from this day forward to teach my kids and the students under my care not to be colorblind. I pray they see white, black, brown, yellow, the whole spectrum. Color makes the painting beautiful and what it is. Each color represents a culture and each culture represents a unique, one of a kind person made in the image of God. So, I will teach everyone under my Pastoral care to see different colors, to see different viewpoints, cultures, and lifestyles.

2) I am sorry as a Minister of the Gospel for emphasizing safety instead of Gospel proclamation:
Donald Trump has risen to power playing on the fears that the majority of Americans feel towards people who are different. He has advocated for the removal of illegal Hispanics based on the fear that they are taking our jobs and He has advocated for a ban on Muslims based on the fears that all Muslims are Terrorist. Somewhere along the way Pastors have given the impression that our safety and the safety of our children should be our number one concern. This is anti-Gospel, anti-Bible and yes, anti-Christian. Our safety is not our number one concern. The safety of my children should not be my number one concern. My number one concern should be getting the saving message of the Gospel to every person on the planet. I will strive as a Minister of the Gospel to teach another generation of the importance of sharing the Gospel and not prioritizing safety.

3) I am sorry as a Minister of the Gospel for promoting ethnocentrism or the belief that America is God's chosen land:
I am sorry for taking verses which apply to Israel and applying them to America. I am sorry for giving the idea that America is God's hope for the world. Donald Trump has risen to power on his slogan "Make America Great Again" and his promise to put America and Americans first. His Republican nominee acceptance speech made him sound more like the Great Messiah coming to rescue us all rather than a political candidate. He appeared to be advocating for a larger government which he would lead and help the people. I am sorry for elevating America when I should have been elevating Christ. Jesus Christ is the hope for the world and the only hope to make any country great again.

4) I am sorry for allowing infidelity to take place among Christians:
As a Student Minister I have done a poor job teaching the importance of purity both in our physical actions as well as in our thought life. I fear that people are overlooking Donald Trump's infidelity within marriage because of the sexual sin which exists in their own life. I am more comfortable talking about homosexuals than I am confronting church members looking at pornography or flirting with co-workers. All types of sexual sin are evil in God's sight and need to be dealt with from the pulpit and in discipleship. Fidelity before marriage and in marriage is what the Bible teaches and when Christians are living holy lives they will be able to speak out against infidelity in others.

5) I am sorry for not teaching logic:
I am sorry for not teaching people how to think for themselves. I am all the time hearing people say, "if you don't vote for Trump than you are voting for Hillary." There has been a lot of ink already spilled pointing out the fallacies in this argument so I will not waste anymore ink on it but I will say if my non-vote for Trump is a vote for Hillary, then my non-vote for Hillary is a vote for Trump & it all evens out. I will work harder to teach students how to think through and listen to a particular argument rather than getting caught up in the emotions of the speaker.

6) I am sorry for the rhetoric that has been used from the pulpit to demonize people who disagree with us:
Pastors are horrible (myself included) at over-simplfying from the pulpit and making people who live as non-Christians or who disagree with us look worse than they actually are. Donald Trump has risen to power through name calling and censoring those who disagree with him. This should not come as any surprise that Evangelicals are flocking towards him since this is something we do every Sunday from the pulpit when we talk about "those people" out in our community who do not know Jesus. From now on I will work hard to fairly represent everyone's viewpoint in the best possible light. Teaching students to disagree agreeably and not resort to name calling or demonizing.

7) I am sorry for promoting easy believism or the false belief that all you have to do is walk an aisle and say a prayer and you are in to the Kingdom of Heaven:
Donald Trump has recently come out along with other prominent Evangelical leaders saying he is a Christian. Instead of pausing and saying OK let's wait and see the fruit. Evangelicals have been flocking to him because of this profession. Maybe we should wait a little while and see if his confession of Christ was genuine or just something he has done to garner more votes. I need to work harder teaching my students that it is not a profession of faith that saves them but a possession. There salvation is made evident through a lifestyle of following Christ.

8) I am sorry for promoting the CEO/Celebrity Pastor model:
Once again watching Donald Trump's acceptance speech I couldn't help but notice how many times the word "I" was used as he promoted himself as the only one who can make America great again. We have promoted this mindset in the church of following one person and building large empires around him and allowing one man to lead us. As Pastors we need to return to giving the power back to the people. Allowing ordinary church members to lead in our churches.

In conclusion, I am sorry as a Minister of the Gospel for creating an environment in which Donald Trump has risen to power. I realize it might be too late to apology for this election cycle but I will not stop training the next generation to ensure that the next generation does not make the same mistakes.

I am sorry.

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