So, what if your turning to Donald Trump in your time of trouble revealed your love crisis?
What if it shined a spotlight on your failure to recognize the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal?
Because, if Christianity is the story we are in, then the loyal love all flows from your God, and because of his very nature, it’s impossible for him to land on the betrayal end of the binary value.
But, it certainly isn’t impossible for us. In fact, it’s more than possible. We all know from our shared human experience, it’s quite likely we will find ourselves on the betrayal end of that equation often.
Now, I’m no Christian, and don’t believe we’re in the Christian story. But I would think that the way a person would think, if it’s the Christian story we are in, is that when one finds oneself on the negative end of that binary, it’s all driven by what one wants in any given circumstance, right? Can you see why we are asking this question over and over again on this web site…what do you Christians want?
And, at any point that one might cross over to the negative end of that binary, it’s a relational betrayal with your God, right? Just like in the garden.
So, are you tracking with me here? It makes sense that loyal love/betrayal is also the binary core value in all our own personal stories.
But – did you Christians make a mistake by thinking the binary core value in the story we are in is not loyal love/betrayal, but — right/wrong or good/evil?
Because Paula showed us some examples of this.
Here is an expression of the good/evil core value in an article which a well known conservative supporter of Donald Trump wrote about why evangelical Christians supported Donald Trump…
I have spent my life making the case for good character: that God wants us to be good more than anything else; that our children’s character is way more important than their grades; and that the most important question a society can ask is how to make good people (since we are not born good).
Evangelicals realize that the moral good of defeating the left is of surpassing importance.WHY EVANGELICALS VOTE FOR TRUMP. A CONSERVATIVE DEFENSE, By DENNIS PRAGER, Newsweek, February 8, 2018
Surpassing importance? Does that fit with what your God wants you to want?
Let’s revisit the very popular The Bible Project video that tries to tell the story in the Bible in just over five minutes. By the way, this is a very difficult task to do, condensing your Bible into a five minute story. So, they have our respect.
But, let’s look more closely at the text in that video. And look at how they express what they appear to believe is the binary core value…
As the humans go about this task they’ve been given, they’re faced with choices about what is good and evil. Will they trust God’s wisdom, or will they seize autonomy and define good and evil for themselves?
The tension between the just and generous creator God and the rebellious nations who have given into evil develops the plot conflict that drives the storyline of the entire Bible.
Enter Jesus of Nazareth who is sometimes called Immanuel, meaning God with us. …. Humanity and Israel’s embrace of evil had created a world of violence and death, but Jesus was a man of compassionate power. He proclaimed that he was bringing God’s kingdom back over the earth and he would confront the tragic effects of evil.
His followers continue to look to the day when he will return to finish what he started: conquering evil completely while fully establishing his kingdom on earth with us forever.
On that day, he will return to fully confront and deal with evil in all of its manifestations, removing it completely from his good world.The Story of the Bible, HOW TO READ THE BIBLE: EPISODE 2, The Bible Project
Did you pick up on all the good/evil language?
And here’s the discussion questions that go with that video. Look carefully for the clues that they possibly, not understanding story enough, boil down the Christian story at it’s core to good/evil binary core values…
1 From the Tower of Babel story through the rest of the Old Testament, what specific consequences manifested themselves from choices that individuals and whole groups of people made in defining good and evil on their own terms rather than on God’s?
2 Why is it so tempting to eat the “forbidden fruit” and define good and evil on our own terms?
5 How does God/Jesus’ definition of good, as serving others and practicing self-sacrificial love, ultimately triumph over the evil we often choose for ourselves? Where else can we see evidence of this triumph at work in the world?
6 In the end, when all wrongs are made right, all evil is eradicated, heaven and earth unite, and humanity rules together with God, will it be because humanity finally chooses God’s definition, or because God overwhelms us with so much goodness that we have little choice in the matter? What are some other possible scenarios?The Story of the Bible, HOW TO READ THE BIBLE: EPISODE 2, The Bible Project
But would that view of the Christians story fit with how your Chan Man sees the story?
If we believe that, as Jesus said, the two greatest commands are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself,” then this passage has a lot to teach us. Basically, Christ is connecting the command to “love God” with the command to “love your neighbor.” By loving “the least of these,” we are loving God Himself.Francis Chan, Crazy Love
And that good/bad way of seeing seems to run counter to what the Moser Man sees…
According to Paul, Jesus Christ as Lord and as Giver of God’s Spirit came from God to identify with us humans in our weakness and despair, in order to offer us life with God (1 Thess. 5:9—10), while he represented God in righteous and merciful agape (Rom. 5:6—8). As God’s befriending mediator for humans, Jesus aims to represent, and to offer a personal bridge between, God and humans. Specifically, he seeks to reconcile humans to God with the gift of companionship anchored in merciful agape as the power of God’s Spirit. This Good News, according to Paul, is inherently theological and Christological and hence cannot be reduced to a story of morality or ethics.Paul Moser, The Severity of God
The Gethsemane model of divine—human interaction is no mere moralism just about what is morally good or bad. On the contrary, it requires human responsiveness and volitional conformity to God, who intervenes first and aims, in corrective reciprocity, to sustain divine—human cooperation toward the redemption of humans.Paul Moser, The Severity of God
Maybe you should consider a change. Because we came to wonder– is it possible that your binary core value problem is contributing to the division in American society?…
In tribal warfare, there are no degrees of tribal loyalty. It is Manichaean, and it is binary. And so a movement that began with the exposure of horrific sexual abuse of power swiftly expands to cover much less serious offenses. Start with the crimes and horrors of Harvey Weinstein … and end with firing Ian Buruma for publishing a controversial essay. For a single lapse of judgment, if that’s what you believe it was, Buruma has now been punished in the same manner as Les Moonves, a grotesque serial abuser. (Full disclosure: I have known and deeply respected Ian for decades.)America, Land of Brutal Binaries, By Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Intelligencer, September 21, 2018
Motive attribution asymmetry doesn’t lead to anger, because it doesn’t make you want to repair the relationship. Believing your foe is motivated by hate leads to something far worse: contempt. While anger seeks to bring someone back into the fold, contempt seeks to exile. It attempts to mock, shame, and permanently exclude from relationships by belittling, humiliating, and ignoring. So while anger says, “I care about this,” contempt says, “You disgust me. You are beneath caring about.”Arthur Brooks, Love Your Enemies
It looks like your good/bad approach is actually accelerating the division in your house…
But I will say we have a kind of tribal America, two tribes. A politics of “I am right. You are evil. So I should do anything to stop you, anything is permissible, and everything you say is a lie. There’s no objective facts anymore. And I can even find sources on the internet saying, the news or even on cable in certain hours, telling me I am right no matter what.”
MURPHY: See, the problem is, our politics is so tribal. Even a lot of Trump voters aren’t enthusiastic about Trump, but they hate his enemies.Mike Murphy, Conversations With Bill Kristol, June 20, 2017
Politics is no longer about ideas, but rather about polemics and personality contests. People say horrible things to one another over the most mediocre of difference on social media, whether on principle or “for the lulz.” One can argue whether Trump himself is the cause of this plague or mere symptom. But there is no doubt he is the face of it.
The idea of warfare as an extension of politics may be as old as Clausewitz, but the converse—where politics is an extension of warfare—is a dangerous one indeed.The Age of Trumpshevism, by SHAUN KENNEY, The Bulwark, MARCH 29, 2019
MURPHY: Yeah, and we have this politics now where, as we’ve said I think last time we spoke, “I’m right, you’re evil.” So all tactics are okay against you and everything you say is a lie. Trump does that and they’re learning from him. And so the institutions are the ones that get wiped out.
MURPHY: Well, we’ve normally held the thing together not by like some law of how you operate in politics but by accepted norms of good, elite, behavior. And those are being torn apart by Trump because he’s going to generate impersonators. And in the “I’m right, you’re evil” equation you can give yourself a pass to do almost anything, because you’re fighting evil.Mike Murphy, Conversations With Bill Kristol, November 20, 2018
Wow. …”give yourself a pass to do almost anything”…sobering, don’t you think? And are you aware that many of our secular story allies are playing the same game in your unfolding drama?
One of history’s most dangerous games begins with dividing the world into the good guys and the bad guys and ends with using any means necessary to take the villains out. New Atheists play this game with brio, demonizing Muslims, denouncing Christians and Jews as dupes, and baptizing their fellow “brights” into their own communion of the smarter-than-thou saints. Like fundamentalists and cowboys, they live in a Manichaean world in which the forces of light are engaged in a great apocalyptic battle against the forces of darkness.Stephen Prothero, God Is Not One
So, it looks like, since your divided house is your great danger, that by embracing the good/bad binary core value, you are actually accelerating America’s Death March into the Danger Zone of the House Divided.
Have you ever read this, from the Chinese dissident who was a Nobel Prize winner? …
Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy.I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement, Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Lecture in Absentia, December 10, 2010
And now we are wondering if your God chose the Donald to reveal all this in a very unique way — as a good/bad character in your story.
So, if you want to keep your nation from coming apart, you may want to at least consider changing and embracing a different way of seeing…
Even if humans prefer a law or a system of rules as their ultimate guide, God could send a perfect personal agent for a better redemptive effect, in virtue of a direct reflection of God’s personal moral character (see 2 Cor. 3:18). This divine option is, in fact, a central part of the New Testament message of redemption. If the divine redemption of humans includes interpersonal divine—human companionship, then God’s sending a personal agent would support this goal. A person can enter into genuine companionship with another person but not with concepts, rules, laws, principles, analyses, explanations, or arguments. We shall see how the intended companionship in question brings severity in its wake.Paul Moser, The Severity of God
And what if your Chan Man is on to something in relation to change?…
Change is not only good; it is critical. If you do the same things today that you did five years ago, you need to closely examine your heart.
To repent means to change. You discover areas of your life that are
not under God’s control, and you repent, you change.
The word repent means “to turn.” It has the idea of changing directions and heading the opposite way. It involves action.Francis Chan, Crazy Love
What if, then, you began to see how those binary values can fit together in the story?
God is in love with the human race and the story of the Bible is the story of this great love. In ways that puzzle theologians, simple Christians and even angels, God’s purpose embraces the race as human, with all of its attendant weakness and sin. The ultimate expression of this is the crown jewel of Christian orthodoxy: God himself has become eternally human in order to bring the fallen human race back to the creation, back to itself, and back to him! And a subtext to this great meta-narrative is that God has chosen human beings to be his assistants in this work—as ministers of the Word.Classical Pastoral Practice for Today: Let’s Be Human!, by Thomas N. Smith, Reformation and Revival, (Summer 2003)
Scripture is a record of the same story told again and again, in different ways but always with the same theme, for more than three thousand years. God loves man. Man betrays God. Then God calls man back to his friendship. Sometimes that call involves some very painful suffering, and for good reason. God respects our freedom. But he will not interfere with our choices or their consequences, no matter how unpleasant. As a result, the struggle in the human heart between good and evil – a struggle that seems burned into our chromosomes – projects itself onto the world, to ennoble or deform it. The beauty and the barbarism we inflict on one another leave their mark on creation.Charles J. Chaput, Strangers in a Strange Land
But still God loves us, and his love endures forever.
So, all this has our attention.
Because, if you missed seeing what the binary core value in
the story is, then what if the best way forward for you Christians is to pay more serious attention to the story you
Donald Trump and the Mysterious 2 Timothy Profile
Your good/bad approach really has our attention. We are now wondering if your God chose Donald to shine a spotlight on it.
You see, Donald the Proud wanted your loyalty – and some of your Christian leaders willing to give it to him…
“I think evangelicals have found their dream president,” Falwell said.Jerry Fallwell Jr.: Evangelicals Have Found ‘Dream President’ in Donald Trump, BY BRANDON SHOWALTER, Christian Post, April 30, 2017
Of course, you weren’t the only ones who saw him as a dream come true…
For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!, by Henry Alford, Vanity Fair, November 11, 2015
When we watched you Christians embrace Donald Trump it was such an enigma to us, given the Christian story we were finding in your Bible.
But, we found it to be fascinating when we discovered that while you Christian supporters embraced him, you also ignored a very direct – and mysterious –warning about the Donald found in your scriptures.
And it’s a very clear warning – which ended up putting your binary core value choice of good/bad on stage.
Do you know it? Have you not heard? Are you ignoring an important warning?
Once we came to understand that what Donald Trump wants is so very far away from what Jerry Jr. helped us see that your God wants you to want, Paula Wong showed us something which sure made a lot of sense — and strikingly caught our attention because of what it reveals about what you Christians want…
In the Apostle Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, he includes a graphic description of the kind of behavior that will be on display in the last days. Penned nearly two millennia ago, it bears striking resemblance to the life and times of one Donald Trump. Those of us who call ourselves Evangelicals will do well to review the passage and heed its warning.
“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:2-5).Trumped by Pride: The Compromise of Evangelical Values, by George Otis, Jr, February 23, 2016
The George Otis fellow was right.
Donald Trump fits the profile.
Our team found Donald Trump fits with every single one of those characteristics listed in the 2 Timothy 3:2-5 passage.
It’s a fascinating match.
So, look at these observations…
If elected, Trump would be the first president to:
Be married three times to different women, leaving each for the next woman.
Be proud of his sexually liberalities, openly stating in his book “Think Big: Make it Happen in Business and Life” that he has had sex with with some of the “top women in the world.”
Build and own casinos, including the first American casino ever to have a strip club that allows lap dancing and an all-male revue club for women.
Regularly use the f-word in public speeches along with other obscenities so vulgar network television would be required to bleep out these words to avoid violating Federal Communications Commission rules.
State publicly that he has never asked for God’s (or anyone else’s), forgiveness and that he doesn’t forgive.
Have said about his daughter on that “if Ivanka were not my daughter, I would be dating her.”
Give America a first lady who has posed in the nude.
Use bankruptcy laws four times for failed business dealings.
Openly advocate for revenge, “as viciously and as violently as you can.”3 questions evangelicals should ask about Donald Trump, By John Stemberger, CNN, January 6, 2016
Trump’s background and beliefs could hardly be more incompatible with traditional Christian models of life and leadership. Trump’s past political stances (he once supported the right to partial-birth abortion), his character (he has bragged about sexually assaulting women), and even his language (he introduced the words pussy and shithole into presidential discourse) would more naturally lead religious conservatives toward exorcism than alliance. This is a man who has cruelly publicized his infidelities, made disturbing sexual comments about his elder daughter, and boasted about the size of his penis on the debate stage. His lawyer reportedly arranged a $130,000 payment to a porn star to dissuade her from disclosing an alleged affair. Yet religious conservatives who once blanched at PG-13 public standards now yawn at such NC-17 maneuvers. We are a long way from The Book of Virtues.The Last Temptation, By Michael Gerson, The Atlantic, April 2018
Trump supporters, do you have such admiration for Donald Trump that you would like to be the kind of person he is? How about this: Would you like your children to emulate him? If you reflect unqualified zeal for Trump in your home, aren’t you representing him as a role model to your children? How do you feel about that? Do you want to teach your children that getting ahead is the main thing to shoot for, and that this end justifies any means? (Can you convince me that’s not the way Trump operates? Again, have you read his book?)
And has it occurred to you that maybe you’ve accepted the relativism of the age, and bought the same line: “The end justifies the means.” Have you decided that a vote for Trump, whatever reservations you have about his character and reliability, is the means that is justified by your desire to “Make America Great Again”? Is this the right way to do that? In other words, do YOU believe the end justifies the means?Super Tuesday and the “Cult of Trump” by Doug Geivett, February 29, 2016
It isn’t that he cares about a cause, but as a demagogue he loves to be loved, and as a vulgar man he has an affinity for whatever is vulgar.Why Donald Trump Is No Gentleman, by Harvey Mansfield, Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2016
Even that dishonesty pales in comparison to his outright lies. He said he didn’t try to lobby Jeb Bush’s team for gambling in Florida, but the record in undeniable that he did. He claimed he never criticized Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, but the criticism is found on his own website. He prevaricated about thousands of Muslims allegedly celebrating 9/11 in one New Jersey town; he lied about the turnout and ethnicity of the crowd at a South Carolina event; he claimed to be self-funding his campaign, which must be news to his 75,000 donors; he said this year that he “was never thinking about running for office” even though he publicly considered running for governor of New York twice and for president four times before this year, once actually even filing papers to do so; he said of Vladimir Putin that he “got to know him very well” even though the two have never met … and on and on and on.Trump: The Worst Human Being, by Quin Hillyer, Weekly Standard, December 7, 2015
The real chaos, as Brody and his viewers see it, is happening in the culture outside the walls of the White House. Brody might be right that most white evangelicals will remain loyal to Trump no matter what; he has certainly been right before. What he can’t bring himself to see, it seems to me, is the reality of where white evangelicals’ support of Trump has led them. In pursuit of an imagined 1950s gentility, they have allied themselves with a man who brags about grabbing women’s genitals, mocks the disabled, ridicules war heroes, and effectively endorses white supremacy.Bless His Heart, By Ruth Graham, Slate, January 4, 2018
And in our research we also came across the interesting phenomenon of how Trump’s sins were sometimes presented in a list form…
And we were amazed that the Christians in America seemed to push away the possibility that the Donald had a connection to a group of people whom in the past, well, look at this…
Glasser: The other thing we didn’t talk as much about was the mob connection or lack thereof.
O’Brien: We’ve got the original casino regulatory interviews with Donald, in which they were asking him about his original partners in Atlantic City, when he assembled the parcel for what became his first casino, that Trump Plaza, at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway, which was the best site you could have in Atlantic City, because you’ve got everybody driving into town.
And he assembled a real estate site with a guy named Danny Sullivan—Wayne has done a lot of reporting on it; he was essentially a labor racketeer in the construction trade—and Ken Shapiro, who was a bag man for the Scarfo crime family in Philadelphia. Atlantic City was petrified of becoming Vegas. They wanted to make sure people coming in were clean. They asked him about these relationships, and he said he thought they were good guys, he didn’t see anything untoward about any of them, and so on.
And then, when I was reporting my book, we were on his plane, somewhere over the Midwest, and we began talking about these guys, and I said, “Did you ever think that Ken Shapiro or Dan Sullivan had mob ties?” And Trump said to the effect that—and I should go to the book for the exact quote; I don’t have it with me—but he said, “Oh, sure. I was definitely worried. There were rumors that Dan Sullivan killed Jimmy Hoffa. And, uh, yeah, maybe because I was wary of these guys, that’s what saved me,” which was completely at odds with his reported testimony in the early 1980s.
And this isn’t the only incidence of him intersecting with people with complicated backgrounds as business partners. Wayne knew a lot about Roy Cohn’s relationship with the Genovese crime family.
Barrett: It wasn’t just Genovese. The heads of all five crime families, according to federal files, used to meet in Roy Cohn’s office, because they could all claim lawyer-client privilege, and the feds couldn’t eavesdrop on any of the conversations. So Roy was pivotal with all five crime families in New York. Absolutely, totally the fact that I reported in my book is that the head of the Genovese crime family at the time, Fat Tony Salerno—who only got 100 years in prison, subsequent to this; he died there—met with Donald in Roy Cohn’s offices, and Donald winds up using a concrete company that Fat Tony controlled, at Trump Plaza.Trumpology: A Master Class, By Susan B. Glasser and Michael Kruse, Politico, May/June 2016
So all the above made us then realize that the following confession from the Donald really did show his orientation…
Mr. Trump revealed a little more about his inner spirituality during a Q&A session with pollster Frank Luntz at the recent Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. Luntz asked Trump whether he had ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions. Mr. Trump seemed unprepared for the question and responded, somewhat haltingly, “I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so.” Then he added, “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”GOD AND DONALD TRUMP, by Timothy George, First Things, July 27, 2015
I know, that was way back in 2015 and maybe he was just a baby Christian then, right?
With all that’s riding on this man, not just in your country, but in the whole world…there’s so much I’d like to say, but just let us remind you…
Scripture declares “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs says that “everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.”
Trump is not just proud. He is proud of being proud. But don’t take my word for it. Just listen to most any speech he gives. Trump has said, “part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”
All of us are sinners in need of grace. But what are we to do with a professing Christian who is openly proud and brags about his sin and who wants other Christians to trust and support him to be our next president?
I do not believe every Christian has a moral duty to only vote for Christians. In the Bible, God used even evil leaders for his purposes. But when a choice is given, should evangelical Christians choose to elect a man I believe would be the most immoral and ungodly person ever to be president of the United States?3 questions evangelicals should ask about Donald Trump, By John Stemberger, CNN, January 6, 2016
So, look at that passage again…
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
You were told to avoid such people.
And Donald Trump is one of those people.
But in the midst of your time of great trouble, you didn’t.
Was that choice an expression of your love crisis?
And our team is curious. Did this passage from your Bible also fit with your situation in some way at all? …
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them;
And we appreciate your Drollinger guy for this, which so fits with the Donald…
Prideful people will often display attitudes and actions of scorn (open dislike and disrespect); derision (the use of ridicule); and mockery (a counterfeit appearance) to manifest contempt. Scoffers are quick to pass judgment on others. The Psalmist warns us not to go near them: Do not sit in the seat of the scoffer, he says, lest you learn his ways.Dealing with Pride: in Life and in D.C., BY RALPH DROLLINGER, Capitol Ministries, MAY 1, 2018
And when were thinking one day about Donald’s claim to you that he was a great Christian and would be the one to rescue you, Paula showed us this…
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
And then Paula also showed us this one, which brought Donald to mind…
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
So, if Christianity is the story we are in, is it possible God the Great Storyteller put the Donald into the story to shine a light on your love crisis?
In the light of Trumpism, many hard truths about American Christianity — its divisions, its failures, its follies, its heresies — stand ruthlessly exposed.
And the truth, we’re told, will set you free.Donald Trump’s Christian Soldiers, by Ross Douthat, New York Times, March 10, 2016
But Jerry Falwell, Jr., whom our team is so deeply grateful to, doesn’t believe such a distinction – that you should avoid certain people — can be made…
Falwell was one of the first prominent evangelical leaders to support Trump’s candidacy during the 2016 Republican primary. He’s urged evangelicals to look beyond Trump’s history of multiple marriages and vulgar language – including a 2005 recording where he brags about touching women’s genitals without consent. In an interview with NPR in May, Falwell said no leader is without flaws.
“Because the ones that you think are so perfect and sinless, it’s just you don’t know about it,” Falwell said. “They’re all just as bad. We all are, and that’s the bottom line.“Christian Writer Banned From Liberty University Campus After Criticizing Trump Ally, By Sarah McCammon, National Public Radio, October 31, 2017
Of course, Jerry himself had an admirable view of the Donald…
Falwell said his “admiration” for Trump continues to grow, and he’s especially excited whenever he gets to visit the Donald’s offices in New York. With each sycophantic sentence he sounded less like the head of an academic institution and more like a boy bragging about his dad to his friends on the playground.
Falwell rattled off a list of Trump’s charitable endeavors, calling him generous and friendly and personable. He beamed that Trump “cannot be bought” because he’s not a “puppet on a string,” unlike “other candidates.” The unrepentant butt kissing went completely off the rails when Falwell hailed Trump’s “servant leadership” and insisted that Trump “lives a life of loving and helping others, as Jesus taught.” Falwell didn’t stipulate whether trying to steal property from elderly widows so he can build casinos fits under the “loving and helping others” umbrella.
He dismissed Christian criticisms of the candidate by saying the qualities needed to run the country aren’t the same as the qualities needed to run a church. Finally, in a moment that appeared to be a desperate cry for help, Falwell began comparing Trump to Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr, and his own father. After about 15 excruciating minutes, he wrapped up his introduction/adoration ritual by declaring that Trump “loves this country and desires more than anything to make American great again.”
It wasn’t an endorsement. It was practically a marriage proposal.Dear Christians, If You Vote For A Godless Man, You Are Asking For Tyranny, by Matt Walsh, The Blaze, January 19, 2016
So, Jerry thinks a distinction can be made in the positive direction, just not the negative.
But that part of the sentence — “desires more than anything to make American great again” – reminded us again that Donald doesn’t want what your God wants him to want…
Finally, Trump appears to be a narcissist. This might work for reality television or real estate deals, but it is not a desirable trait for the President of the United States. The most important moral principle, according to Jesus in the gospels, is to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. The Christian understanding of love is that it involves sacrifice, self-denial, and preferring the good of others over one’s own. It does not appear that Donald Trump understands this.A Christian Case Against Donald Trump, Michael W. Austin, Huffington Post, December 18, 2015
And then, this passage from your New Testament book of Galatians really caught Paula’s attention in relation to seeing what your God wants you to want and how Donald fits with the profile of the kind of person you have ignored the warning against –- and, the house divided consequences your country is experiencing…
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
And in light of Donald’s claim to be a great Christian, Paula got us wondering if there is something in play with this passage…
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
So, now we are wondering about something. By putting your hope in the Donald, have you put yourselves at risk?
Whatever a man trusts in place of God will one day turn to devour him.
And is the Guinness Guy right about what you should have considered doing instead of turning to Trump?…
It is a mark of healthy societies that, in times of change and crisis, they throw up leaders worthy of the hour. At this point, the United States urgently requires such a leader to lead and the nation to follow.Os Guinness, A Free People’s Suicide
Something very strange and surprising may be going on in your unfolding drama in America.
And in the midst of all this, my team member Paula Wong helped us begin to see the astonishing importance of looking at your greatest commandment through the lens of story from the inside out.
Paula began by explaining that after we came to understand the self-glorification Donald Trump deeply desires as he pursues his quest – which most of you Christians would describe with the term “pride” — she came across this evaluation of pride, from the celebrated Christian author C.S. Lewis…
The Great Sin
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
She then began to nose around your Bible and found that it does appear Lewis is reflecting what is written in the book you claim to embrace.
And if pride is the Great Sin which leads to every other vice, then you should see the title of this article which Paula showed us…
… because that title fits with the description of a proud man which comes from — you guessed it — C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity…
But a proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you.C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity…
“See that?” said Paula. “Okay then, now look at what I found in the douchebag article in the Daily Beast.” And she read us this excerpt…
And yet, the wildest and craziest interview Trump gave on the Stern Show came two years earlier, back in 2001.
Stern’s guest that morning was the New York Daily News’ volatile gossip columnist (and E! host) A.J. Benza, who was on to promote his recent tell-all tome, Fame, Ain’t It a Bitch. In the book, Benza claimed that his girlfriend, model Kara Young, had left him for Trump, and that the situation wasn’t exactly aboveboard.
“And look what Trump said to A.J. Benza in the interchange,” she continued…
“A.J., any girl you have, I can take from you—if I want. Any girl you have, I can take from you. …. So any girl you have, I can take. That I guarantee. And that was proven before.”Donald Trump’s Douchebaggiest Interview Ever: ‘Any Girl You Have, I Can Take From You’, by Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast, August 2, 2015
Paula looked at me and smiled. “Reminds you, doesn’t it, of Shih Tzu’s moves against you back in our days in Hollywood!”
I smiled back.
And wished that she wasn’t on my team.
I wanted to pursue a deep love relationship with her, but couldn’t, because of the rules which prohibit such professional… well, you know what I’m talking about. She’d have to leave my team. And I hadn’t worked any of this out with her yet, because I wasn’t sure what she wanted.
And then one day she sent me this…
“I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.
“Augustus,” I said.
“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”John Green, The Fault In Our Stars
That so fits with our version of the story!
And, as you can imagine… well, sorry, back to the Donald.
“So,” said Paula, “Trump fits the profile from C.S. Lewis. And that means that if pride is the Great Sin, Donald Trump is a great sinner.”
You can imagine our surprise when Paula next showed us this…
Speaking to a crowd of 2,300 at West High School in Sioux City, Trump pleaded with the crowd for help.
“Will you get these numbers up?” Trump asked the crowd. “I promise you I will do such a good job. First of all, I am a great Christian –- and I am –- I am. Remember that. And I do well with the evangelicals. But the evangelicals left me down a little bit this last month. I don’t know what I did. But I am a great Christian.Donald Trump’s Message: ‘Let Me Win Iowa’, by John Santucci, ABCNews, Oct 27, 2015
“I’m a Presbyterian, I’m a great Christian.”Trump on His Lost Lead in Iowa: Polls ‘Are Wrong’, By Rebecca Berg, RealClearPolitics, October 24, 2015
It’s a strange claim, isn’t it, coming from the Donald?
Why didn’t he expect you Christians to just laugh, like our team did?
After all, your Bible says…
It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.
And Paula pointed out how those claims to be a great Christian sure seemed to fit with a way Trump described himself in his most famous book…
“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal
So we’re curious. Were you aware he was playing this game?
Because of the ‘greatest commandment’, wouldn’t a “great Christian” like Donald Trump be focused on loving God with all his heart, soul, and mind, instead of focusing on loving himself?
So, if the Greatest Commandment is to love the King of Kings with such intensity, it’s very easy to see then how Donald Trump’s Quest for self-glorification clashes with the focus which the King of Kings has commanded human beings to pursue.
By pursuing an Internal Quest of Self-Glorification, Donald Trump is effectively saying to the King of Kings…
“Sorry, but I’m not interested in pursuing what you are commanding me to pursue. I have a different focus in life. I don’t want what you want me to want.”
Our team was not surprised then, when we came across that quote we showed you earlier from an interview Donald Trump did with the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in the spring of 2016…
“I’ve come this far in life. I’ve had great success. I’ve done it my way.”Trump Does It His Way, by Maureen Dowd, New York Times, April 2, 2016
He certainly has chosen to do it his way. And don’t think he will abandon that quest now that he’s in office. Watch this video and weep, remembering what Peter Kreeft says while your new president dances away your country, doing it his way…
The national anthem of Hell is “I Did It My Way”.Peter Kreeft
So, by the way, if that has become your national anthem, is it possible that as the drama in America unfolds, this song will become your new national anthem?
Anyway, all that helped our team see this…
Christians have long recognized that different sins have different consequences. And yet, the underlying heart issue of all sin is the same: It is us saying to God, “No, I’m going to do it my way.” Every sin, from a little white lie to a ruthless murder, is rooted in a worship of self over God.Apologetics at the Cross, by Joshua D. Chatraw and Mark D. Allen
And that seems to fit with this…
The acceptance of pride in our culture is so prevalent that some will argue with what I’ve said. Allow me to illustrate its prevalence.
Frank Sinatra sang, “I did it my way” and Whitney Houston popularized “the greatest love of all…is learning to love yourself.” Both made millions from the sale of such albums. “Taking pride in one’s work” is a commonly held axiom, and who hasn’t witnessed the myriad of “proud parent” bumper stickers or monotonous, arrogant “I did this” political speeches? Even some Christian ministries believe that engendering pride (often under the guise of infusing “self esteem”) in a child is a good thing. But, no matter what you believe about the need for “self esteem” or “the adult quest for meaning,” all hold in common a subtle or not-so-subtle focus on one’s self. Oh, and did I mention the “selfie” craze — look at me, here I am! These are the seedbeds of an increasingly self-absorbed culture where in conversational skills (among many other things) the subject always revolves back to me.Dealing with Pride: in Life and in D.C., BY RALPH DROLLINGER, Capitol Ministries, MAY 1, 2018
Oh, and she also showed us this…
I had perceived—via God’s grace, not my own wit, surely—that since God is love, we must therefore love God and love whatever God loves. I now knew that if we turn to the divine conductor and follow his wise and loving baton-which is his will, his Word — then the music of our life will be a symphony.The Three Most Profound Ideas I Have Ever Had, By Peter Kreeft, PeterKreeft.com
And that seems to fit with something else your famous preacher, David Jeremiah, helped us see about the Donald…
It is my pride that makes me independent of God. It’s appealing to me to feel that I am the master of my fate, that I run my own life, call my own shots, go it alone. But that feeling is my basic dishonesty. I can’t go it alone. I have to get help from other people, and I can’t ultimately rely on myself. I’m dependent on God for my next breath. It is dishonest of me to pretend that I’m anything but a man-small, weak, and limited. So, living independent of God is self-delusion. It is not just a matter of pride being an unfortunate little trait and humility being an attractive little virtue; it’s my inner psychological integrity that’s at stake. When I am conceited, I am lying to myself about what I am. I am pretending to be God, and not man. My pride is the idolatrous worship of myself. And that is the national religion of Hell.Howard Butt, “The Art of Being a Big Shot” (speech, Layman’s Institute, Dallas, 1963) quoted in David Jeremiah, What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do
The unruly tongue engages in lying, cursing, and swearing, slander and filthy language. From man’s point of view the hasty word, shading of the truth, the subtle innuendo, and the questionable joke are shrugged off as insignificant. Yet from God’s perspective they are a violation of the command to love the Lord God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. A breach of this command renders man’s religion of no avail.Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: James and I-III John, quoted in David Jeremiah, What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do
Do you see this?
If Christianity is the story we are in, the Greatest Commandment sends you the opposite direction than the Donald was going.
So, all this made us wonder if there could be something more in play which you Christians are not seriously considering…
The Devil is a nihilist. He is the same devil of the Hebrew Bible who tormented Job, but with this difference: whereas Satan tortured ancient man by taking away what he required, he tortures modern man by offering him whatever he wants.France’s national suicide, by David P. Goldman, PJMedia, November 16, 2015
And if that’s possible, then you can imagine why the following also caught our attention…
Bishop Darrell Scott of Ohio said,“I wouldn’t change a thing. Be you and keep being consistent. That’s what people like about you. You’re not playing politics.”
Trump looked around the boardroom table and laughed. “So you’re saying,‘Don’t change’?Well, that’s interesting!” Darrell replied, “Right! People would see you change and know it isn’t you.”Why I Believe Trump Is the Prophesied President, By LANCE WALLNAU, Charisma News, October 5, 2016
But maybe that Bishop might want to help Donald change his way of seeing.
And so… we want to know… whether you Christians want… what your God wants you to want?
Because, well, we see things like this, which make us wonder…
Importantly, gratitude is central to understanding God. We practice gratitude with our brothers and sisters on this earth so we are better able to do so with God. Gratitude is the only thing we can give him, and the only thing he wants, the only thing he cannot simply command if our free will is truly free.Hugh Hewitt, The Happiest Life
That doesn’t sounds like what your King told you he wants. So, let us know…
What do you really want?
Because we are so taken by the reality that in your time of trouble, you turned to Donald Trump — someone you were warned to avoid.
So, you really were not embracing your binary core value of good/evil. Instead, your pushing away that warning from your God showed how the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal was on stage.
And Paula showed us again that passage from your Bible which shined a spotlight on your turning to strongman Trump out of your fear…
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
Donald Also Wants Your Loyalty
As you know, the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal runs through the story of Donald Trump…
If I write that Donald J. Trump is a lowlife who has cheated on his wives and betrayed his own family and the families of others through his remarkable personal commitment to adultery, Trump has no recourse, because this is true.Trump vs. the First Amendment, By Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, February 28, 2016
Boasting about his sexual exploits with married women in his book “The Art of the Comeback,” Trump bragged, “If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller ….”
Trump appeared on the Howard Stern show multiple times discussing his female conquests in a way that might even make Bill Clinton blush. Maybe.Donald Trump Helps Women Break Marital Vows; Why Trust Him to Keep Campaign Promises? By Susan Stamper Brown, Christian Post, February 6, 2016
So, you can see why this caught our attention…
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.President Donald Trump, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2017
A week exactly after his inauguration, seated for dinner at a small, oval table in the Green Room of the White House, Donald Trump said to the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation what might end up being the six most consequential words of his presidency.
“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
All leaders want loyalty. All politicians. All presidents. But in the 241-year history of the United States of America, there’s never been a commander in chief who has thought about loyalty and attempted to use it and enforce it quite like Trump. “I value loyalty above everything else—more than brains, more than drive and more than energy,” Trump once said.‘I Need Loyalty’, By MICHAEL KRUSE, Politico, March/April 2018
Trump has one standard, and one standard only: How loyal are you to Trump?Imperial Me, By Mona Charen, National Review, August 24, 2018
He has called himself a “great loyalty freak.” He has said he values loyalty “above everything else—more than brains, more than drive.” And one of his greatest strengths, at least of a certain sort, always has been his ability to engender unwavering, slavish, even sycophantic allegiance. But it’s also been so brutally, consistently one-sided, and the Cohen flip brings to the fore the fragility of Trump’s transactional brand of loyalty and potentially its ultimate incompatibility with the presidency.‘He’s Unraveling’: Why Cohen’s Betrayal Terrifies Trump, By MICHAEL KRUSE, Politico, August 22, 2018
To Trump, love means loyalty. No, not loyalty. Obligation. No, not obligation. Submission. Complete submission. No criticism, no matter what.
No matter all the women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct. No matter all the brutal bigotry falling from his lips. No matter the natural disasters getting worse under his watch of climate denial. No matter the crimes against humanity along the southern border that we will all one day have to atone for. No matter his desire to spend billions on a border wall when America’s infrastructure is collapsing. No matter all the high crimes and misdemeanors described in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
And he loves America? He is demanding submission. He has been demanding this submission since his 2016 campaign.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voter, okay?” Trump said at a campaign rally, as he formed and fired a gun with his fingers. “It’s, like, incredible.”Trump Is in an Abusive Relationship With America, By Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic, August 1, 2019
According to people who know him well, Trump’s definition of loyalty is blunt. “Support Donald Trump in anything he says and does,” Roger Stone, the president’s longest-running political adviser, told me. “No matter what,” former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res said. “Or else,” added Louise Sunshine, a friend of Trump for nearly 50 years. “I think he defines it as allegiance,” biographer Tim O’Brien told me. “And it’s not allegiance to the flag or allegiance to the country—it’s allegiance to Trump.”‘I Need Loyalty’, By MICHAEL KRUSE, Politico, March/April 2018
And we understand that. The Chinese Communist Party wants loyalty too…
China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.
The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives.Group: Officials destroying crosses, burning bibles in China, By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, AP News, September 10, 2018
Chinese President Xi Jinping started 2018 as he ended 2017, demonstrating to all 80+ million Chinese Communist Party members that he is demanding absolute loyalty.Xi Jinping demands loyalty at major political meetings, By Bill Bishop, Axios, January 12, 2018
Totalitarian takeovers demand a degree of submission that leaves little room for sentimental humanistic ties answering to such private imperatives as love, friendship, or personal loyalty. And it was precisely these ties between family members and friends—the most fundamental building blocks of any healthy society—that were most gravely ruptured by Mao’s Revolution.To Forget or Remember? China’s Struggle With Its Past, By Orville Schell, The Washington Quarterly, Fall 2016
So, we really want to know if you Christians in America who embrace the Donald have a deeper love and loyalty for him than you do for your God.
What do you really want, here in the story?