The 2017 Challenge

How can Christians who voted for Hillary show charity to Donald Trump?

This fellow doesn’t seem to have figured it out:

The “Year of our Lord” 2016 deserves the label, “The Year of the Jerk.” It has been a long time since exhibiting the maturity level of a toddler has been enabled so fiercely or rewarded so completely. Donald Trump looms as the obvious example in a crowded field. Trump’s bombastic style elevated the antics of schoolyard bullies to morbid political theater.

Many of the very people who encouraged me to stand up to bullies as a child in my small southern town were fervent flag wavers for the bully of bullies this campaign season. Rather than rejecting his candidacy due to these antics, Trump’s supporters seemed to feed on his absolute disdain for his fellow humans. Each broken taboo was like throwing red meat to a den of lions for many of his enthusiastic supporters.

Over and over again, we heard fervent Trumpites express their conviction that Trump is “real” because he “tells it like it is.” Yet there was nothing original, or even remotely factual, in much of what Trump had to say. It was the crass way he said it that appealed to an angry subset of American culture. The candidate himself, a trust fund product whose persona was manufactured by tabloid magazines and reality television, could not have been more manufactured, inauthentic, or unreal.

None of this is inherently wrong or objectionable as part of political debate (nor is it wrong to recognize Trump’s failure to manifest the fruit of the Spirit). But how do you promote Jesus’ message, the guy who hung out with publicans (not republicans) and tax collectors, and then do what the Pharisees did?

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17 ESV)

When oh when will the Christians who voted for Hillary stop being so unforgiving of the president-elect? When will they show charity even to sinners?

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21 thoughts on “The 2017 Challenge

  1. “How can Christians who voted for Hillary show charity to Donald Trump?”

    They can start by instituting outreach programs to understand the hopes, fears, struggles, anxieties, sorrows, and disappointments of Trump voters. Call it Trump Voter Reconciliation. Progressive Evangelicals and Urban Reformed Missional Millennials can invite these outcast and marginalized Evangelical Trump Voters into their homes and churches for coffee and croissants to discuss this new aspect of The Gospel. Racial Reconciliation and Trump Voter Reconciliation can now be seen as complementary additions to The Gospel.

    Think of the Trump Voter as The Other, The Outsider, The Immigrant, The Refugee, The Scapegoat. Feel the pain of the Trump Voter as he is put down by Russell Moore and Rachel Held Evans, Thabiti Anyabwile and Tony Campolo. He is a Stranger in a Strange Land. A Man Without a Country.

    #LoveWins.

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  2. Then there are those anti-Trump Christians who don’t go in for the Kumbaya stuff in the first place–charity schmerity. Let him roast.

    Sean, I keep seeing this. What exactly is the problem with White-Trump connection?

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  3. Zrim, not sure I understand what you’re asking, but the basic gist of what I’ve seen ranges from white supremacists(KKK variety) base to ignant, poor white trash, to middle aged white folks afraid of losing power, to more kuntry PWT who like to handle snakes and send in seed faith checks who also voted for Trump-Horton’s not so subtle insinuation. Basically, PWT overcame sophisticated, white, city folks and elected a carny president.

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  4. One can oppose Trump without engaging in internal violence–that is violence of the spirit which can be demonstrated in terms of how we speak about a person. The practice of avoiding internal violence was a key part to the demonstrations led by Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, the biggest claim to fame for those Christians who supported Hillary is that they have sins forgiven because of what Jesus has done. Thus, Christians activists have a choice between protesting as either the Pharisee or the Publican from the parable of the two men praying.

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  5. Sean, I don’t read Horton to be making poli-cultural points like that. Maybe incidentally (in which case, charity schmerity again, let Trump-a-teers defend themselves, Kumbaya be damned).

    I read him to be making a point about false religion, i.e. using the WP stage to call out Word-Faith Prosperity Inc. With all due respect, this is an old chestnut of his, which frankly has long since become boring. I see other eeeevangelical writers hyperventilating about the White connection (a heretic praying the Pres-elect into office?! Hide the womens and chillens!) and what comes across is the suggestion that high profile politics and false religion ought not go together. Not very 2k (or American).

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  6. Zrim, in the nook and cranny world of W-W’s, I evaluate everything. Including platforms utilized, timing, sponsorship, unspoken alliances, etc. So, I don’t disagree with you or Darryl’s point but I’m unwilling to be naive about either Horton or WP’s(maybe even more so) intended and unintended consequences and collateral effects. I doubt either mind the consequent associations that are made.

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  7. If you look at the titles that predominate the recent list of “Top 100 Christian books”, I think it justifies Horton’s calling out the Word-Faith heresy in 2017 though it may be cut-and-paste, recycled material for him. Does it mean he expects that a President-elect will invite an orthodox Nicene Christian to the stage? I didn’t get that impression.

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  8. Sean, I doubt it as well. Horton seems to be using WP to make his point about WF, and WP is likely glad for anything anti-Trump (and with religious clout to boot).

    mboss, I don’t either. But then one still has to wonder what the problem is in the White-Trump connection (it actually makes sense and says more against Trump than White). Would Horton be critical if Trump invited his daughter’s rabbi to do the honors? After all, Judaism isn’t Christian either. Somehow I doubt it.

    Darryl, don’t go sweet on us now.

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  9. Zrim, I won’t put words into Horton’s mouth or pen, but I think the problem is not the ecumenical spirit of the inaugural, but that it creates the perception for the watching world that WOF and White accurately represent the Protestant Christian faith. Inviting a rabbi or Catholic to the inaugural doesn’t create that confusion. And, it is not surprising in the least that Trump would associate with fellow charlatans and hucksters.

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  10. mboss, why complain about politicians hanging around with charlatans and hucksters now? Happens all the time, unless you believe in American exceptionalism.

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  11. mboss, that’s what I imagined might be one reason. But don’t the bank accounts of prosperity peddlers seem to suggest that they don’t need much help in fooling the masses into thinking it’s all good Christianity? And I’m not sure how a confessing Protestant who wants keep everyone informed on what erring Christianity is can demur on a Catholic cleric. Is WF worse than RC? Isn’t Horton always saying the Reformation protestations continue? Seems selective, that is if the point is to clarify biblical Christianity from errors.

    Darryl, phew.

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  12. zrim,

    And I’m not sure how a confessing Protestant who wants keep everyone informed on what erring Christianity is can demur on a Catholic cleric. Is WF worse than RC? Isn’t Horton always saying the Reformation protestations continue?

    Now you’re talkin’.

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  13. Well the rest of them are Arminians (or Romanist) who believe that the prosperity of inheritance in the age to come depends on what the human will does with grace (at least they are not Pelagians) but at least they are not females or prosperity preachers https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/why-franklin-grahams-salary-raises-eyebrows-among-christian-nonprofits/2015/08/18/023ce940-45f2-11e5-9f53-d1e3ddfd0cda_story.html?utm_term=.62fd4fc2687c

    And don’t forget that evangelicals like George W Bush and Bill Clinton will also be there. As Kate Bowler explains, those who teach the prosperity gospel demonstrate evidence for their faith with the financial success of other people in their family (and covenant).

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