Disclaimer:I recognize that this post may be polarizing and I am certain it may anger some people. I want to respond to that anger preemptively in saying this; I do not claim to have all knowledge and understanding on this topic, but I do believe in what I am saying. I say that because, though I do believe in what I am saying, I am aware of the world enough to know I don’t know it all. I am a man, honest enough to admit I have been wrong so many times before and I could be now. If you have anger towards what I say, feel free to comment how you feel, but do not assume I will engage in an endless pissing contest of bible verses that look a lot like daggers and immature doctrine.
If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you may have seen a post I wrote about America’s current political situation, and if you read it, I hope you could tell that what I was expressed is for every situation, not just America. If you’re my friend in real life, you’d know that I follow politics. I have my own opinions that are shaped by many different sources. I am actually quite passionate about politics, which is puzzling due to the fact that nothing can baffle me more than politicians and their followers. In this post I attempt to outline a bit of what I see and my commentary on America’s parody of a presidential race. I will express my opinion as it relates to people who share similar beliefs about God. I want to say this; I believe God is in the business of redemption. I think God’s intentions towards all of our world is not primarily to condemn but primarily to redeem and beautify. My views are influenced by this idea that Jesus really is good. Not only is he good, he is relevant. Not only is he relevant to our personal soul, but to our systems. I pray that whomever reads this post, and does not share in similar beliefs about God, may find hope in what I say. I hope I can redeem, what I believe to be, true Christian beliefs in your eyes a bit more.
I look around, to my left and to my right, and I must lament.
On one side we have a man who is honest about his hostility towards his enemies. A man who requests the exclusion of Muslims from a safer life and a future for their bloodline and traditions. A man who calls for a ban on humans. A ban on fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, the elderly, infants, unborn children, and mentally disabled because they worship a different God. A man who wants a ban on those who are considered to be in the greatest need of help and hospitality. A man who is angry. A man who gets away with too much and claims he could literally get away with murder.
On the other side, we have a woman who is seemingly power hungry. A woman who is in the pocket of one of the greatest forces against humanity. Some would call that force “Big Business” but I call it greed and it’s the root of all evil. A woman who continually lies to the very people she claims she wants to help. A woman who manipulates the poor. A woman who panders to the highest voters. A woman who simply cannot be believed, do to her track record. A woman who has been proven to have forsaken her own people, and get away with it.
One of these two people (who obviously lack the credibility to) are meant to become “The Leader of the Free World”
So what’s my take on the situation at hand? That’s why you’re here right? Well I’ll tell you!
There is an issue with the angry crowd. The angry crowd on the right hates the left and the angry crowd on the left hates the right. The angry crowd (on both sides) chooses to believe lies. The angry crowd allows their leader to tell lies because “That’s how it is”. The angry crowd is driven by fear. The angry crowd is uneducated. The angry crowd is full of compromise. The angry crowd, by nature, can not assume it way be wrong. The angry crowd is always wrong. If you are a part of the angry crowd, step outside of the mob. Stop the search for the next lynch victim and breathe. Try listening to the other side. The Right Wing and the Left Wing are meant to work together. A bird with one wing cannot fly. A house divided will fall. They are not your enemy, they are your brothers and sisters. There is no “them” only us. Only human. Only image bearers.
The alternative is joining a group of thinking that seeks to build and progress. Enter into the redemption business. Think not how you can condemn and lynch but how you can make peace. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons and daughters of God. If you’re a peacemaker, your in the family business of redemption.
Now that is out of the way, here is the topic I struggle with more. I see American church leaders endorsing these two. I find this highly dangerous and unsettling to say the least. I have seen a well known artist question his own listeners’ allegiance to God and their very salvation if they considered voting for Clinton. I watched as a preacher proclaimed that democracy and democratic values are the same of Christ himself. I’ve seen leaders, whom I have great affinity and respect for, endorse a lesser of two evils. Why is this a problem? I don’t think God takes sides.
The Church’s primary function is to reflect Christ. If you can tell me with a strait face that Christ would vote for Trump because he is pro-life or Clinton because she is taking care of the poor, than I am certain we do not have the same ideas about Jesus. I assure you, the Jesus of the Bible would not endorse anyone who’s resolution to an issue included a plan to “intentionally kill families” of his or her enemies. The Jesus of the Bible would not endorse someone whom lacks the integrity that he requests from us.
Now, a person can endorse and vote for whomever they’d like. Some would say that voting is their duty. Still, as a leader of the body of Christ, I feel as if they should at least express that this is their personal opinion, not the opinion of “The Church” or even “Evangelicals”.
When I say endorse, what I really mean is to agree with that persons means and ends. To endorse is to definitively say that this person is the answer of this puzzling election. To endorse is to proclaim America’s 4 year savior. The person who gives an endorsement typically believe that either, this person is the best for the job or this person is better than the other person. Jesus is not looking for a flawed human to be the savior of America. Jesus is not looking for the one who “at least isn’t the other”. Jesus is not trying to get the right person in office to “Make America Great Again” and he does not belong to the school of thought that screams “America is Already Great”. I don’t remember Jesus preaching “Pax Romana”.
Jesus constantly preached peace. The “Pax Romana” or “Roman Peace” was found by squashing anyone who dared rise up to oppose the Empire. Roman peace was enemy hate. Jesus preached enemy love. Jesus told us to “bless those who persecute you” and “turn the other cheek”. It is plainly stated in the Sermon on the Mount. I’m sure you’ve grown up with exceptions to this. I myself, until recent, have made up exceptions that made me more comfortable as a “true blood American patriot.” In Brian Zahnd’s “Farewell to Mars”, I believe he hits this issue on the head when he wrote:
“Creating exemptions for the Sermon on the Mount and explaining when and where Jesus’s teaching does not apply is fine (in theory, I suppose); but at some point you have to decide what Jesus did mean with his kingdom imperatives on nonviolence and enemy love.”
“If our default response to this portion of the Sermon on the Mount is to craft exemptions, we might give the impression that we really don’t believe in Jesus’ ideas of nonviolent resistance and enemy love at all.”
If we do not take the whole Kingdom, do we believe in any of it? We grow up hearing we cannot pick and choose from other religions, correct? Well, chances are, you’ve been picking and choosing in your own. Be careful with this practice. When we do this, we are simply trying to fit Jesus into who we think he should be. We are comfortable with the Jesus who hates our enemies and wants us to bomb them, that’s easy, that’s even pragmatic. The Jews were also comfortable with the idea of a militant messiah, which is why when Jesus was revealed to be the messiah, they beckoned their government to murder him. The idea of a non-violent, enemy loving messiah simply could not be true. He must conform or die. Let’s learn from our spiritual ancestors and take Jesus as he says he is. There is a need for interpretation, but we must do so carefully and in context of the cross.
This is Jesus! He is the embodiment of God whom is defined on the cross, pleading for forgiveness for us as we commit the greatest sin of all human history! Diecide! The murdering of God! Rome’s way of solving issues was to lie to itself so that it could hang the problem on a cross, to murder the problem, to destroy the troublemaker, though he is not guilty! Jesus’ way of solving the problem is a Kingdom of Love based on radical forgiveness! Jesus established this Kingdom of Love not by killing the problem, but by dying for the troublemakers! It is as if Luke surrendered himself to the Emperor to die, instead of destroying the Death Star! It doesn’t make sense, unless we know what Kingdom is being established. If Rome was established by killing “them”, Jesus’ Kingdom of Love was established by the greatest act of love, expressed in forgiveness, so that “them” may become “us”. Rome was systematically xenophobic! Jesus and his Kingdom of Love is systematically xenophilic! Jesus’ Kingdom is, by nature, anti-empire! Anti-Rome!
Am I being clear? Rome is you and I! We think as the Romans did! The true blood patriots, like I once was, would be among those shouting “Crucify Him!” to Jesus’ ideas of peace. Yet, Jesus’ response to our beating of his weakened body was mercy. When we spat in his face, he chose to remain under the shame of the world. When we gripped his beard and tore it out, he took another step towards Golgotha. When we nailed him to a tree, raised him up, naked, and stabbed his side after mocking him and gambling for his clothes, he revealed the very nature of God and his kingdom.
When we cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him”, Jesus responded with a cry of his own. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” This is the gospel! This is the good news! The lord is gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love!
Knowing who Jesus is; an xenophilic, enemy loving, forgiveness addict. It doesn’t seem like he would be excited to endorse either or any of these candidates. The question then comes, who would Jesus endorse?
I don’t know. Obviously, not anyone this year. No, not even the surgeon. I’m leaning towards believing that Jesus wouldn’t endorse anyone for president, ever. I don’t think he ever has. I do believe, however, that God is involved in what happens in government. I do not think he appoints all leaders as Romans 13 1-7 seems to teach (doing more research may give you another idea). If you’re ok with believing that God appointed Adolf Hitler to judge the Jews, gays, mentally ill, mentally disabled, Jehovah’s witnesses, gypsies, and anyone who did not buy into his hateful rhetoric for their sins, than at least you consistent. If you’re like me, and that sounds fishy to say the least, than let me wrap this up.
I know that might be hard to swallow, so let me elaborate. The only person, I assume, Jesus would endorse for President of anywhere and everywhere is Jesus. Jesus has brought his Kingdom and died for it. The resurrection was all of Heaven endorsing the Lamb. The overruling of death, the greatest law of the land, screams of a heavenly endorsement. Heaven sang “Jesus for president”. In other words, Jesus is Lord.
Jesus hasn’t run for president because Jesus is Lord! Jesus came to redeem our systematic flaws! Jesus came to give us a better way! The king of kings!
Jesus has not selected America as the second Israel either. Jesus cares about those Muslims as much as he does you, yes even the murderous ones (however few in comparison to the peaceful ones). Jesus cares just as much about Donald J. Trump and Hillary R. Clinton as he does your children. This is the Gospel! It turns out, God really is love! And love seeks the betterment and redemption of all things! Yes even America!
So, let me conclude. God cares deeply about America, and cares just as deeply about everywhere else. God cherishes man, and man lives under their own government. I think he cares about what happens this election season. God is love and I think he cares far more than we ever could. But, the God of love and his ideas are not able to endorse candidates that express the very thing he seeks to redeem the world from. Jesus came to save the world, and that doesn’t JUST mean salvation. It’s not only about the sweet by and by. Jesus has ideas for the now. Get aquatinted.
The voter’s guide to redemption is this: live out the ideas of Jesus and you will see redemption.
Vote for whomever you like, I really don’t care, just know there is no absolutely correct answer. There is only angry mobs and compromise.