Show Your Work

A defense is making the rounds in the Christian Pro-Trump camp:

We need to understand that God uses ungodly people for His purposes. The Bible has story after story about the unlikeliness of who He chose to lead a people, a nation. I support Pres. Trump for his policies .. not his personality.

I’ve asked people who’ve declared some version of this viewpoint to name those people in the Bible. I’ve yet to get a response, so I am going to try to defend their statement for them:

First, it’s a Biblical claim, so we have to find it as a truth in the Bible. Also, we have to conclude that whoever is in office is put there by God — he wasn’t elected; free will didn’t come into play.

I can’t resolve the “free will” question here, that’s too much. Suffice it to say I lean most heavily to the belief that God gives us free will to do right or do wrong without him forcing us either way, but will assume, for this purpose, that God does control who is in leadership. (I know, the logic bothers me deeply, too, because … Hitler and such. But suspend logic for a few minutes to see if the belief is accurate.) I’m going to eliminate the “free will” debate and proceed with the rest of the statement.

So … to the point of Trump being ungodly, but at the same time, “of God”:

God did use ungodly, even evil leaders and kingdoms to deliver justice to his own people (always leaving a remnant to keep his covenant with Abraham). But look at that … he used evil people to annihilate the evil that his chosen people had become. Like the flood long before Abraham, only with death at the hands of evil soldiers.

We can make it work only if we accept that Trump (good or not) may be in power to deliver justice to us … to deliver judgment to American Christians. If they will allow for that application, we can leave it in, but not if they allow for it to be only true according to their own values and beliefs (ex. to drain the swamp). If you know God, you know you don’t get to tell him what to value and think and do. You have to become less so that he can become more. You have to give up your own values and thoughts to adopt his. Or not. But if you know better yet don’t yield to him … there’s always that judgment thing looming.

Still, I’m going to try to make their argument true:

So where did “chosen” happen in the Bible? King David fits the “chosen by God” argument, because he was … it is documented. But it gets a little gray right away; God didn’t want to do it. There was a whole tug of war over it: God wanted his people to continue to be led by priests; they saw neighboring kingdoms led by kings and pushed to get one. He said no, they said, gimme gimme, and he relented, having Samuel select David when he was still a shepherd boy, to later take Saul’s throne. I still think it can be solidly argued that he was chosen by God.

David also fits the “unlikely” and “sinner” comparison, due to knowingly setting up a death (Bathsheba’s husband) for his own agenda. But here the comparison ends. Since there is so much in the Bible about him, we get to see who David was: contrite … utterly contrite. Repentant. Sackcloth and ashes remorseful. Determined, before and after his terrible sin, that his life and his reign be pleasing to God.

And there is the Biblical “you will know them by their fruit” truth… and “out of the abundance of the heart a mouth speaks” concept that is to help know who people are … David was godly, we can read it, and God called him so. If Trump were handed a quill pen to write psalms, we already know what he would write. Copy and paste his tweets, and … he “ain’t no King David”. And the U.S., frankly, “ain’t no Biblical Israel” either.

Long before David … Abraham (and Isaac and Jacob after, although they were leaders due to a covenant), and Joseph, and Moses were also leaders selected by God to lead God’s chosen nation, but again … to consider Trump as advancing God’s plan as they did is to say Trump is an Abraham; he is a Joseph – or we have to diminish them to the same level as Trump.

On a side but I think important note: to presume God views the U.S. as his chosen people is something I am unwilling to do. Individuals all over the world are “his”, yes. America chosen as a nation as “his”, no. Biblically, the chosen nation scattered. It wasn’t until post WWII that Israel had a land again to call theirs. Should we be certain that we can insert “the U.S.A” in place of “Israel” in order to claim the Biblical principles that politicalized Christians do? I don’t think we can.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David … Those men were willing (or in Jacob’s case, wrestled) to yield their lives to God to the extent that they gave the majority of their lives to be trained and equipped to lead according to God’s standards. They didn’t get the place of power until God called them ready. They were trained in deserts and wildernesses, in slavery and as servants, and on the run from powerful, evil people determined to take their lives. They were faithful regardless God’s terms of development. They feared God.

To claim that Trump is “of God” then, is to claim that he was equipped and trained by God for the presidency. He doesn’t hold up to Abraham, Joseph, Moses, etc. To alter God’s ways is to be braver than I am. I shutter every time politicalized Christians/ Trump loyalists elevate Trump, America, and our flag above the world. Above God, even. To them, it’s not, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son …”, it is “God so loved the USA and its values as we say that he gave his only son …”

It is daring (and I believe uber-foolish) to tell God what his intentions and standards are. It is audacious to presume Trump was chosen by him, or that Trump is pleasing in God’s sight. If they know God, as they say, why do they not fear him? He alone is God, not me and not you and not Trump and not America. To start with our political beliefs, then to stretch them to encompass God, and to declare God chose and is carrying out his will according to our beliefs … is a boldness I’m too scared to have.

I took a re-look at the Chronicles, 1st and 2nd Kings, and 1st and 2nd Samuel, where we see the leaders of God’s people (even if we stretch we Americans to be called God’s people). There, in the chronological stories of the kings, is a conclusion of each leader’s life. Only a handful (looks like 5) were pleasing to God. The majority of 50- ish kings of Israel/ Judah (I did a quick count only) did not please God. He simply called them evil. The leaders of the Children of God’s kingdoms … he called them evil.

To breezily presume Trump was chosen by God and is doing God’s will …. again, I can’t do it.

We can view it as a math teacher wanting to see how a student drew their conclusion. We hear the conclusion all the time, but we have yet to “see their work”. I just attempted it, above, and couldn’t draw the same conclusion.

Then The King Will Say …

Matthew 25:31-46

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Pendulum

 

I can’t count how many times I have read or heard some version of the following rationalization since Trump took office:

“We need to understand that God uses ungodly people for His purposes. The Bible has story after story about the unlikeliness of who He chose to lead a people, a nation. I support President Trump for his policies .. not his personality.”

I have yet to hear an example so that we can look at a story together and consider the person, the context, and the lessons God intended.

There are centuries of reigns by kings documented in the Bible, their lives distilled to one of these two statements:

1.) He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left, or …

2.) He did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord his God.

As for the status of those kingdoms of God? — Each went the way of their king. The pendulum swung back and forth over the centuries. The whole kingdom swung to good. The whole kingdom swung to bad.

In the book of Samuel, we learn that God never wanted kings. His will was that his chosen priests continue to lead. During the time of the priest Samuel, the people of God’s kingdom rejected God’s will and demanded a king. All the other kingdoms had kings, they wanted one, too. God ultimately relented and they chose Saul. David, meanwhile, was handpicked by God (via Samuel) to later take Saul’s place as their first God-approved king.

Not because it was God’s will. Because it was the people’s will.

Still, David was a man after God’s own heart. He was not sinless, but repentant and intensely recommitted to God after, for an overall lifetime yielded to service of God. Most kings after David, however, were not “pleasing to God”. They did what was evil in His eyes. Read Kings 1 and 2, and 1st and 2nd Samuel, and the Chronicles, and the lesson over and over is that God allowed free will and the rise to power of evil kings as well as good.

Just because a president is elected, does not equate to “he is who God chose”.

Just because a president claims to be a Christian, does not equate to being pleasing in the eyes of God.

Just because a party claims that God endorses that party, does not make it so.

Just because a president tackles single issues, such as abortion, that line up with a specific religion’s stances, does not equate to “God chose Trump (or anyone else)”.

To someone who claims, “Trump is accomplishing God’s will”, I ask:

Is he? How did you land on that conclusion? – because people told you so?

Or because God told you so?

What about the other stances important to God, like caring for the most vulnerable people in society? More is written in the Bible about that, yet those directives are alright to ignore? Policies against those people are alright?

When political stances and figures are weighted with “God endorses him”, we’d better be hearing it from God himself, not people. To do otherwise is to prioritize people over God.

To oblige a person or group instead of God … does not end well.

Take a look again at God’s kingdoms of old.

Image result for pendulum

Job 28:28 And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

 

Spacious Place

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature

Psalm 18

13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature

Puppets and Pawns

 

 

During last Week’s State of the Union address, the attendees moved to their poles just as they were trained. Much of America did the same in their homes.

We have become a nation of puppets.

The memes tell us we should go all in to the extremes. Newscasters tell us we should do the same. Leaders effectively rally us to groupthink.

Peers pressure and scold us if we don’t join in.

But we can’t just blame the influencers …

Each person who ended up in blind loyalty allowed it to happen. We let ourselves be played. We let it happen. We walked right into the traps.

We don’t think for ourselves. We don’t investigate topics until we understand them. We don’t break ranks from groupthink to search for solutions. We read a meme or hear an angry voice and let them inflame us too, without spending a minute more time to investigate the topic further.

Inside the trap of extremism, we like the feeling of righteous indignation that constantly blares from the speakers there. We like to hear the din of like-minded people affirming our views and spurring us to hatred and aggression toward those who disagree.

We like keeping the pot constantly stirred, so we can feel pride and self-righteousness over and over again.

In short, we like being awful; we like being pawns.

But it didn’t come without cost. When we chose our extremes, we abandoned reason, independent thinking, ethics, morality, empathy, and any attempt at resolution. 

When will people tire of being manipulated?

When will enough be enough? When will people stop digging in their heels in their existing stances, and move together to make change? When will we give up being “right” to look together for what is right for all?

I’m ready. Are you? 

There He Could Hear You

Cindi Gale

For The Songless Hearts

[Verse 1]
Awake, glad soul awake
The sun has risen long.
Go now to His grave
And bring a tuneful heart… and song.

[Chorus]
When He was laid in the tomb
He laid right next to you.
No one could hear your hopeless sorrow
But there He could hear you.
When you were sad and wept alone
Child, He wept for you.
When you were dead in a song-less slumber
He sang a-a-and died for you.

[Verse 2]
Awake, glad soul awake
Your shoes are all worn low.
Far enough, you cannot say!
Just past those clouds He comes for you You know?!

[Chorus]
When He was laid in the tomb
He laid right next to you.
No one could hear your hopeless sorrow
But there He could hear you.
When you were sad and wept alone
Child, He wept for you.
When you were dead…

View original post 107 more words