We all desire to be relevant. Whether we are living out of a grocery basket, working at a counter, working behind a desk in the corner office, at a religious publication, in the pulpit, or in the Oval Office. We struggle to be relevant; the problem is how to do that in the midst of a broken culture, and more importantly, under the authority of a holy God.
At present we find ourselves in the midst of a great uncivil war, testing whether this nation will survive. A “food fight” such as I have never witnessed before is being played out daily across this great land as each asserts their version of relevance… and morality.
It seems the current fuel for this relevancy stems from November 9th, 2016. Something caught the world off guard. At the end of the night something had happened which very few would have predicted: Donald J. Trump was elected president of these United States. Immediately theories were promoted as to how this could have happened. After all, it was a giventhat the next occupant of the Oval Office would be Hillary Clinton, at least in the minds of many, including mine. What had happened? Were there not enough dead people who had voted? Was there a problem with the voting mechanics? Did Russians sneak in? Was it a broken electoral system? Was there nefariousness run amuck? Was it an abundance of “crazy white evangelicals?” Could it even have been divine intervention? Did God “put him” in office? Or did God simply “allow” him to be in office?
Like I said, it has been a food fight ever since with infighting across parties, within parties, within families, churches and communities… you name it. Christians who voted for Trump are being challenged as to whether they are even Christians because they voted in such a way. Christians who didn’t vote for Trump are being challenged because they voted in such a way. “How dare you. How could you?”… ”How dare YOU! How could YOU!” The cries to remove him from office are just as loud as the lauds of his “lemmings.”
And we find ourselves with food, rotting food all over the place as the intensity grows. Pieces of “moral” food, “theological” food, “logical” food, “philosophical” food, “political” food, all putrefying in this relevant battlefield of constitutional civility. It is hard not to notice, or get pieces of it on you.
Any actions or ideas promoted will be met with criticism; it’s the way we do it nowadays, only nowadays we do it with a little less filter. It’s always easier to throw stones at the other side rather than work together, or even worse, acknowledge that the other side may have it right. We need to calm down.
May I say that there has never been a person in the Oval Office without the tainted DNA of depravity. All have revealed brokenness in their thoughts, actions, words, and life. It will continue to be that way. Some have seemingly been better than others, but from here on out the only people to choose from are broken, depraved, sinful… choices; the variables are only in slight degrees. Should someone be removed? What would that look like? Then what? What next? Who next? No one has really attempted to answer that question… The next person elected will certainly be better… or worse. One must wonder, what kind of vacuum would exist, and who would be sucked into power in the wake of any person’s removal? Aye, that’s a democracy!
Just for the record, if I have a choice to support two men of opposing parties whoever they may be, and they have both been found to be of dubious character, both have desecrated their marriage vows, both have been seen to compromise morally, and been in great part self-serving, all things being equal otherwise, and yet one chooses to help babies out of the fire while the other is willing to throw babies into the fire… I vote for the one who is pro-life. Simple as that; at that point, I am a one-issue voter. And yes, I do understand that the judges on the Supreme Court who legalized this whole mess of abortion were in great part Republican. And they were wrong! Biblically, morally, ethically – wrong. Now, the other party is wrong to embrace this policy. Both will have to answer to a higher court of authority.
For those who are truly confounded by the notion that conservatives and evangelicals voted for Trump, continue to support Trump, and are committed to voting for him again in 2020, I would suggest that it is in large measure due to his stance on abortion. For conservatives, the idea of killing the unborn is nothing less than sacrificing these lives upon the altar of convenience to the god Molech – it is nothing less than human sacrifice. Abortion is a dividing line, a major one, if not the primary one. As confused as Trump may be in other areas, he is in our corner on this one. Those outside this conviction do not seem to grasp that.
I understand that there are many other areas of valid concern and passion: poverty, immigration, morality, the environment, and the economy. But those do fall along a muddier political spectrum, don’t they? If abortion cannot be seen for what it is… if it is justified by any other euphemisms… if it cannot be identified as absolute brutal murder for the sake of convenience, then perspectives on those other matters is pretty well compromised.
Back to questionable leadership. This depravity sounds all too familiar with other leaders of other nations across the globe and across time. I think of some of the first “leaders,” the kings of an undivided Israel. Only one administration removed from the perfect government of theocracy, and right out of the gate – it failed. Saul was tainted. And, over time, removed, divinely removed. Next up, a man after God’s own heart… the Shepherd King of Israel, who had stood before a giant to defend the Name of the God of Israel, and in time checked out a hot chick bathing on a nearby roof-top, a woman who was another man’s wife. Swing and a miss!
“Immoral” would be an understatement to describe what marred this man’s administration. He would lust. Connive. Commit adultery. Commit murder. Proceed to cover up his “indiscretions.” As he commanded his general to place Uriah in the front line and retreat, he abused his power as Commander in Chief, subjecting others to possible death in order for personal gain. He committed all these offenses… aaannd still serve out his 40 years of Divinely appointed sovereignty. I wonder if Jerusalem Today called for his removal from office. I wonder if they would have accused God himself for “voting” against His own religious principles in allowing such a flawed man to remain in office. I would imagine there were some or many who would have cried for his removal had they known. But David, eventually revealed a heart for God, repented, and returned to Him.
Perhaps, it is altogether naive to forget that when God “appointed” and anointed David to be the chosen king of Israel, He knew David would fail in every one of these areas… and He still sovereignly decreed David to sit in that position of authority… well beyond his shelf-life (from our perspective).
Remember, the next guy to take the throne was the “wisest in all the land,” and he stumbled as well, and broke the nation in two. But he continued to be “faithful” to his 700 wives and 300 concubines and served out his 40 years as well. Yes, he was very flawed as well.
And, lest we forget, God had a morally pure, undefiled agent whom he placed in a lead governmental position in the Garden of Eden, aaannd… well, we all know how that administration ended… that one was impeached… and removed from office.
Look, I get it. The man currently in the Oval Office makes me uncomfortable. Full Stop. His past, his present communiques, his tone, his spiritual health, his spiritual advisers… yes! And, he invites it… he gives as much as he gets, and then some. A bad leader will draw the ire of many. Hey! Even the actions of a good leader will draw fire… from the opposing side. He would do well to have and listen to wise advisors. Aye! That’s a democracy for ya!
Maybe a king was a better idea. But wait! Whaaat? As a young man, I remember my pastor communicating that in the absence of a theocracy (a nation under God’s rule), a righteous monarchy was the best form of government… key word there is righteous… for the most part that falls into the same category along with unicorns and leprechauns.
Seriously, I do want a good man in office. I want a Christian in office. I want a man who loves and honors his wife. I want a person in office who is moral and makes me proud to be under his leadership. An individual who honors God and leads this nation down the road to glory – God’s glory. For that matter I want these kinds of people throughout government, all government. And, I don’t think that I am going to get it, him, or her, anytime soon. Ultimately, God has the final say… I think we forget that.
I pray that Trump would truly come to know Christ, “that God would grant him, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in his heart through faith; and that he, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19). I pray that same reality for Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, Schiff, McConnell and McCarthy and the rest. But even if they are saved… they will still be flawed.
Someday, I will enjoy the perfect Leader in governance over every element of His creation. A Creation that is in perfect alignment with His will and authority. Those who would have wanted Him out of office will have been removed from the scene. All consequences of sin and the Fall will be obliterated. The reign of Christ will be pure and un-impeachable.
Until then, as a Christian, I have a road to walk regardless of who is in office. Micah 6:8 says it well:
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
Where I can effect justice I should…beginning in my own life.
I am called to embrace kindness, to let mercy be a touchstone of my being.
I am called to walk reverently, in step with God.
Yes, I have enough to deal with on my own plate… anyone who knows me knows that I am willing to fight, and make my case, but I must guard my own heart as well. I see too many hearts becoming so hardened in our toxic culture.
Back to relevancy – I can pick up a piece of old chicken, or a rotting Brussel spout and fling it with the full force of “grace” I can muster, or I can seek to walk humbly and to do justice, I can seek to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I can seek to love people as God loves them. I can be a faithful vessel to carry the message of hope, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this very broken world.
It is then, in that spirit, I will be relevant… to the Kingdom of God, and for His glory!