I've been struggling a lot lately with the political situation in my country.
See, I'm starting to ask questions about a lot of the things that have become second nature to my thinking, things that I grew up with.
Let me be clear from the jump, upfront about my opinion. I believe that Donald Trump is a threat to America. I believe that the evangelical false prophets who have twisted scripture to support him and name him as some sort of "New Cyrus" have sold out both their country and their faith...and I think the second to be a much greater sin. I'm watching the last season of The Man In The High Castle and the similarities in thought patterns between the Nazis portrayed there and many of my fellow citizens and fellow Christians is terrifying to me.
I've been having social media conversations with a couple of folks that I have known from childhood. They are Trump supporters with deep religious convictions about that support. I honestly believe that they would "turn me in" if it ever came to it, because of my beliefs about Trump's criminality and his behavior which I find antithetical to the teachings of the Jesus I seek to follow.
So here are two things that I am struggling with:
The first is that Christianity was born in, and has tended to flourish in, situations of oppression. Early Christians were not people who were citizens of a democracy. They did not have the responsibilities of citizenship that democracy demands. I believe that these were the kind of demands that lead German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer to be involved in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. While that was an extreme choice, I can see why he made it. I can even see why he felt that this was where his faith lead him. So the question comes; "how do we make decisions as Christians about what, how, and why to draw the lines between our faith and our citizenship?"
Here lies the second question. How do I remain faithful to what I believe to be the truth that I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God first and of America second. How do I faithfully frame the questions that will help me make decisions about my behaviors in the face of this administration's behavior?
An easy (for me) place where my citizenship and my Christianity come together well is my opposition to the incarceration of children at the border, separation of these children from their parents, and such racist attempts as the Muslim ban.
More difficult is parsing out my feelings about the rising tide of nationalism. Not that I don't oppose it. But how do I plant myself with an understanding that the reality is that empires rise and fall; and perhaps it is that the empire that is America is falling. The Kingdom of God will stand. How might I live out my faith in a time of upheaval that bordered on apochalyptic? What might such a time demand of us who seek to live out our faith?
Finally, as a pastor, and the pastor of a congregation which because of the poverty and multi-culturalism of many of it's members is personally touched by the sins of this administration and it's supporters from the diminishment of SNAP to the refusal to speak the truth about what is happening.
There are no answers in this blog....just a sharing of the questions....and an invitation to join the conversation. My guess is that my transitional answer will be that of Martin Luther: "Sin boldly. But believe even more boldly in Christ and rejoice."