One of my favorite emails after the Trump situation at the RedState Gathering was this piece of hate mail, which I present to you in its entirety from email address to email signature line, lightly edited.
Subject: What event?
Date: August 8, 2015 at 3:40:49 PM EDT
To: [email protected]
You disinvited Trump! We’ve disinvited you. we had planned on streaming the event. That won’t be happening in our household. Hopefully you will become a conservative organization with some balls one of these days.[named removed] He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22
Let us review shall we.
This guy considers himself heaven bound. He is a Christian. He quotes scripture at the end of his emails. His is reflective of many I encounter in social media and my email inbox. He is angry, wishes someone had some balls, and he loves Jesus.
Those of us of faith in this country are being confronted by just where exactly we put our hearts. Scripture tells us we are to love God will all our hearts. (Matt 22:37 and Deut. 6:5) But a great many Americans have concocted an Americanized Christianity where they love the country as a substitute for God.
In that Christianity, their faith can be on Sunday and their Americanness on Monday to Saturday. They can witness in their email while also telling others to grow balls or go to hell or get pancreatic cancer — I’ve had a lot of Christians in the past few weeks hope I’m anally raped.
Now, to be sure, many of them are not really Christians, but a lot of them are. And they are deeply angry by the state of this country. But I have reached a tipping point on this with other Christians.
My Bible tells me to put my faith in the things of the Lord, not the things of this world. A lot of American Christians are putting their faith in political candidates for a country that will, in fact, one day fade as Christians are just passing through. Politicians are no more perfect a vessel than any of us other sinners and while they might be throwing money changers out of Washington or “insert your cause here”, they are not necessarily tempering that passion with the humility of a servant’s heart or the grace of one who stands humbled before the Lord.
For example, a lot of the heaping scorn being thrown at others who are perceived as not fighting like Trump are actually being directed at those who may very well fight, but speak more softly and act more humbly. Just as the world is confounded by the Christian who turns the other cheek, a lot of Christians are interpreting the meekness of other candidates in contrast to Trump as weakness, but it is the meek who will inherit the earth. But the Trump issue is not alone. Though some of his supporters are the most vocal, there are others in the same boat. They want their candidate, not Trump, for some issue and have lost the ability to show grace to any who disagree with them.
We are, I believe, supposed to leave this world better than we found it. Because I believe a Christian worldview sets up the best ordering of society, I should be working to advance that. Unfortunately, a lot of American Christians practicing American Christianity have decided their faith and politics are two separate things. They have begun living a compartmentalized Christianity separated from politics.
I cannot do that. Paul, in Colossians 3, wrote, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) That includes our work in democracy. That includes our work in our jobs. We cannot compartmentalize our faith. We cannot say I’m a Christian, but this is separate. We cannot tribalize Christianity and too many loud voices claiming their support for various candidates are doing so out of tribalism — arguing not that a candidate is best, but that the candidate will give us our turn.
A lot of American Christians have let their anger about the state of the nation consume them. I cannot separate my faith from politics. It is increasingly hard to delve into the rage and outrage politics of the day because of it. I believe in a Heaven and a Hell and a last day on which I will stand on the winning side because of Jesus. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I, like everyone reading this, am a sinner who has asked God to forgive my sins. I cannot fathom the anger of people who perceive the world around them crumbling when Christ remains and wants their share of the ruin or their turn or payback.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Col. 2:6-8)
I can be a terribly graceless person for all the world to see. I am a sinner who has done awful things. We all have. And probably even within twenty-four hours of writing this I’ll do something that others will view as hypocrisy based on this post. But that does not mean I’m intending to be graceless. It does not mean I’m intending to be an ass. I think all of us need to work on more grace, we should not be confusing humbleness with weakness, and we should not be in anger looking for an American savior. We, as people of faith, already have a Savior who is perfect and blameless unlike any of the two thousand or so candidates for President.