Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Changes This Election Brings

I wish President Elect Trump well. I did not vote for him. I did not support the idea of him being President. I feel that the Republican Party gave into popularistic tides so that, instead of saying, "NO" to Trumps run for the office, they rolled over and allowed themselves to compromise their entire ideology. But choices have consequences. Now we have to live with their choice.

But the election of Donald Trump leaves all of us facing some uncertainty about the future. And there are changes coming. The question is are we prepared to face them?

Can we accept the permission for hate, racism, and bigotry that the Trump campaign has granted to certain groups?
Can we accept the tens of thousands of people who were receiving NECESSARY medical care under the Affordable Care Act who will most likely lose their health care coverage?
Can we accept that our neighbors will be screened and profiled for having brown skin, wearing a head scarf, or associating with non-white, non-Americanized-religious types?

Here is the biggest change that I have to face personally. I can no longer associate myself with the descriptor EVANGELICAL.

For nearly 25 years, I have been proud to declare that I was an evangelical. It represented the worldview I tried to live out as a Christian. It represented the belief that the Bible was a message of Good News for all people. It represented that the mission of the Church (universal) was to bring a better life for all people on Earth. It represented the offer of a grace, hope, and forgiveness to anyone without judgment or condemnation.

But that word no longer represents those things to me. It doesn't represent those things because exit polls showed that 4 out of 5 self-identified evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. It doesn't represent those things because 4 out of 5 self-identified evangelicals were accepting of the lifestyle the Donald Trump was unrepentant about; bigoted, misogynistic, abusive, and fowl in his treatment of people he decided were un-worthy. Women reporters, Hillary Clinton, people of other races and nations, people with conditions that Trump found subject for humor. All of these were publicly documented facts. All of these were part of his campaign to become the leader of THESE people, ALL people. And 4 out of 5 self-identified evangelicals found NO PROBLEM WITH THIS BEHAVIOR.

But I guess it is worse to be gay than a bigot. I guess it is worse to love someone of the same gender and want to support them than verbal/emotional/physical abuse of a woman just because you have power. I guess it is a greater sin to think that all people are of sacred worth than to permit violence against a people group because they are different.

So be it.

I will no longer associate myself with 4 out of 5 evangelicals. I will no longer use that descriptor in naming the things I hold dear.  I will no longer use that descriptor to look through toward the world.

I will still believe in a God who is love, has shown love, will use me to extend love. I will still believe in Jesus Christ, who I believe walked on this earth, died by human instrumentation to fulfill a bigger agenda, was raised by the power of God beyond human understanding, and who reigns in full authority over this world until God's Kingdom can be fully established among the people of the world. I will still believe that the Church (universal) represents God in this world and offers a better world to all people, not just white men with wealth and privilege and women who follow them. I will still work under all the power God has given me to touch lives and improve them when and where I can.

I will stand with the oppressed, the broken, the lost and the least.
I will not ignore the cry of the needy or the forgotten.
I will open my door to the stranger and feed the hungry.
I will use my training to bind up the broken, the sick, the hurt as far as I am able.
I will love my "one anothers" (those connected by blood and bond), those who are like me, those who are different than me, and with God's help even those who want to hurt me.

But I am not an evangelical any more.
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