Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

An Election Year Plea to Preachers


According to the polls, Donald Trump is the leading candidate among Evangelicals. To me, this is clear sign that the American Dream has replaced the Christian Gospel. The American Dream that compels me to make a way for myself, to “get mine,” could not be more contrary to the Gospel of the Christ who came to give not to get, to empower the marginalized not to extol the powerful.

Donald Trump has made more than a few comments denigrating women, minorities, and the poor. Listen to any speech he gives and you will quickly note the arrogance and egotism that drives him. Narcissism hangs all over him like a bad $4000 suit. Yet, Trump is the leading candidate among Evangelicals. How can this be? I don’t hate Trump or want to demonize him. I pity him. My expectations for Trump are rather low. However, my expectations for the Church of Jesus Christ, the one who came to serve in selfless love, are really high. Frankly, I am disappointed not in Trump or the Republican Party. I’m heart-broken by the Church for even considering a candidate like Trump to be not only viable but desirable.

Perhaps Trump, if elected, will get us closer to the American Dream than many of us under 50 have ever been. Taxes will be cut. Illegals will be booted and kept out so we have more. If taxes are cut and illegals are gone, we might end up with enough discretionary income to buy a second or, better yet, a third car. A larger home in a better neighborhood is a likely result. But will we better off?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ in more than a few ways flies in the face of the American Dream. In fact, one cannot simultaneously chase the “stake my claim” dream of the West and the values of the Christ. That split allegiance leads inevitably to a double life that tares the soul in two. Professing Christianity while practicing Trumpianity will lead to disastrous disintegration.   

How do we fix this thing? Enter the Christian preacher. While preaching, in part, may have gotten us into this mess, I’m convinced preaching may be the way out. Maybe it’s time for preachers to change the title of our sermon series from How to Manage Your Money to Overcoming American Greed with Christian Generosity, from The Road to a Better You to Making the World a Better Place, from Your Best Life Now to The Christ-Life Now. To the point, preaching in America, perhaps now more than ever, must articulate the distinction between Americanology and Christology, calling the Church to forsake the former to embrace the latter.

I’m not suggesting that preachers ought to stand up this Sunday and rail against Trump with hair-fire, I mean hell-fire and brimstone. As tempting as this might be for some of you, it will merely apply a temporary band-aid to a surgical need. The better way is, as is often the case, the longer way. If we preach “Christ and him crucified,” as Paul did, over and over again, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, in creatively insightful ways, the tide will turn. If we preach the will and the way of Christ in a winsome and faithful manner now, when another Trump-like figure arises in a decade promising to fulfill our self-centered dreams, we won’t budge from the anchor of the cross.         

Am I oversimplifying complex issues with a simplistically myopic response? Well, you make the call. Just don’t say I’m ugly or assume that I’m a criminal because of my ancestry or build a wall to keep me out of your sight. That wouldn’t be very Christian.

7 comments:

Michael Ortell said...

1 Samuel 8 continues to come to mind every time I read or hear comments about the candidates. As long as we look to a king, other than God himself to lead us, we will continue to suffer the ups and downs the Israelites did. Should we strive to elect the most appropriate candidate that aligns with our faith? Absolutely. But this too is very subjective for many reasons. But in the end, the danger remains if our resolve is to put our trust in a hunan king. "God told Samuel, "Do what they say. Make them a king.""

Paul Tillman said...

"hair fire" Best line ever!

Lenny Luchetti said...

I agree Mike. Jesus for President! But, as we know, Jesus was quick to resist this. Paul thanks for catching "Hair-fire.":-)

Jason Stevens said...

Luchetti for Presi !!!

Lenny Luchetti said...

Now that would be a recipe for disaster, Jason:-)

RDavid said...

This may help clarify things a bit, and make you feel a bit better about Evangelicals:

"What I found is a trend that has been widely overlooked. A voter’s gender, education, age, ideology, party identification, income, and race simply had no statistical bearing on whether someone supported Trump. Neither, despite predictions to the contrary, did evangelicalism. Here is what did: authoritarianism, by which I mean Americans’ inclination to authoritarian behavior
...one soft spot in Trump’s support. Regular, weekly church attendance — as measured by a standard Pew Research question included in my survey — predicted a statistically significant and substantive opposition to Trump."

http://www.vox.com/2016/2/23/11099644/trump-support-authoritarianism

Jerry Beers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.