Friday, November 11, 2016

Following the Jesus Way in a Trumped America

I am a proud American citizen. But I am also a person of faith, and my faith happens to be Christian. As a Christian, it’s my greatest desire to follow the way of Jesus as best as I can in a world that defies it at every turn. So the fact is, I rarely have had the opportunity to vote for a presidential candidate who shares my values. I am always compromising, in a sense. 

Like other Christians, I try to weigh my desire to follow the Jesus Way against what the candidates seem to stand for. I realize that we all put that weight on different issues. We may not come to the same conclusion, so I cannot dictate to other Christians how they should vote. I can only vote responsibly for myself. 

As I read the Scriptures, I see that God is all about mercy and justice. And by justice, I don’t mean that in a law-and-order kind of way. God’s justice can’t be separated from God’s mercy and compassion. God’s justice is about leveling the playing field. Lifting the lowly and toppling the mighty ones from their thrones. So, God’s justice has a bias—a bias for those on the bottom. Jesus embodied that bias in his life, from the manger to the cross. That’s why, for me, following the Jesus Way means standing on the side of the poor and marginalized. 

All that being said, it should be fairly obvious which presidential candidate I could not vote for and which one I did. And mine was the losing choice. I’m not happy about the outcome, but I can’t change it. So, what I need to determine now is how I will continue to follow the Jesus Way in an America where Donald Trump will serve as President. 

As one doing the best I can to follow the Jesus Way under a Trump presidency, here's what I intend to do:

I will pray for our President. I will neither delight in his failure nor resent his success. I will pray that he becomes the kind of president our nation needs. I will give him the benefit of a doubt and the opportunity to prove himself. I will be open to the possibility that he could do a good job. I will do this, not just because it’s a good idea as a citizen of the United States of America, but I will do it as the follower of the one who teaches me that vengeance is destructive and the way to peace is not to do to others as they have done to us. I will pray for President-elect Trump because the Jesus Way—the way of healing, for ourselves and others—is turning the other cheek and praying even for those who would do us harm.

That is not to say that I will roll over and play dead in the face of injustice. I will not allow intimidation or fear to silence me. I will not look the other way when injustice is done to the most vulnerable among us. I will continue to stand with those I have stood with for so long: the LGBTQ community, persons of color, refugees, the disabled, children in poverty; people who could lose everything, including their lives, when they become sick; victims of sexism, ageism and religious intolerance. 

It might be easy to put my head down for the next four years and ride this out. After all, I’m the beneficiary of a privileged life. I have a stable job, health insurance, a nice pension plan, a home, and a pedigree that seems to guarantee me more of the same. I could point to those who voted for Trump, smugly fold my hands over my chest and say, “Good luck with that.” But I can’t. Why? Because I follow Jesus. No matter who our President may be, that’s not going to change.

2 comments:

Bill Gohl said...

Helpful, pastoral, comforting and challenging. Thanks, Pr. Nancy!

Anonymous said...

If only you were happy !