If you have followed this blog long enough you know I try to stay out of politics. I have described my attitude toward politics as an “engaged indifference.” I believe modern Christians put too much hope in politics and have been too willing to compromise their integrity and witness to grasp for political power. I believe Christians should partake in politics as with alcohol, in moderation.
But I am obviously not much of an influence. I watched Evangelicals, including friends and family, run after Trump like a dog in heat. Never mind that Trump openly mocked the disabled, paid off paramours, bragged about sexually assaulting women, supported white nationalists, and retaliated against anyone who crossed him. Evangelicals endorsed Trump because of what he promised to give them. It wasn’t about integrity or principle; it was about what Evangelicals could get from this candidate. With politics it always is.
As a result, Evangelicals said to hell with their witness, just give us our piece of pork like every other interest group. And Evangelicals got what they wanted. Trump delivered on three Supreme Court justices, he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and he protected churches. And let’s not be naive; Trump didn’t do it because he loves Jesus or Christians–in fact, he reportedly referred to Evangelical pastors laying hands on him and praying for him as “bulls**t“–Trump did it because he loves Donald Trump, and he wanted to stay in office.
Yes….an insurrection. A Republican insurrection. Republicans Gone Wild. Republicans breaking and entering, forcibly taking over a government building, and injuring 50 police officers.
When it was Black Lives Matters marching and violence erupted, the Right wanted to label BLM a domestic terrorist group. Now the Left wants to label these Trumper Republicans domestic terrorists.
Much has been written about terrorism in the last twenty years, but I think there is a general consensus among those who study the subject that what usually gives rise to terrorism, whether of the foreign or domestic sort, is the feeling of powerlessness, that there is nothing else that can be done to be heard or bring about change. It is the last resort of the disenfranchised. I offer that by way of explanation not excuse. I have written here before about why resort to violence is neither wise nor justified.
The BLM movement arose because of 400 years of systematic and cultural disenfranchisement of black Americans, culminating this year in some very public killings of black Americans by law enforcement officers. Black Americans were justifiably angry over a history of racism and systemic discrimination and some decided during marches that marching was not enough.
On Wednesday, Trump Republicans gathered in Washington D.C. feeling they had been disenfranchised by an election they believe was fraudulent. Incited by President Trump to march on the Capital, once there many decided that peacefully protesting was not enough and broke in, occupied, and trashed the Capital.
Well, apart from the fallout from an insurrection and a possible upcoming impeachment all the drama from the election may be over. Joe Biden will be President and Donald Trump will not.
To my friends on the Right, I express my condolences. It is true our taxes will likely be higher, the stock market will probably not do as well, and there will be more business regulations. But will any of that prohibit you from loving your neighbor, being a godly parent, spouse, or employee, or from telling others about Jesus?
To my friends on the Left, I express my congratulations. The pandemic will probably be taken more seriously, as will care for the environment, the poor, and racial relations. But will any of that make it easier for you to love your neighbor, be a godly parent, spouse, or employee, or tell others about Jesus?
In other words, how much does the election really have to do with the kingdom of God? GS
1. The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton. G.K. Chesterton is the greatest writer you’ve never heard of, and if you have never read him you cannot imagine what you are missing. Tagged “The Prince of Paradox,” Chesterton has a way of turning a sentence back on itself while clearly expressing a thought you never thought and you never would have thought to write. Chesterton is at his best in this book, which C.S. Lewis called the best apologetic he had read and which influenced Lewis’s conversion.
2. Beyond Bullet Points, Cliff Atkinson. What, might you ask, does a book about Powerpoint have to do with the kingdom of God? Well, it has to do with work—my work as an attorney—and work has everything to do with the kingdom of God. This book swims against tide, arguing that text on a slide does not a powerful presentation make. In fact, Atkinson argues that text actually divides the reader’s attention between the speaker and the slide, making the communication less effective. His suggested solution is worth the price of the book.
3. The Destruction of Jerusalem, George Holford. Written in 1809 by a British lawyer and member of parliament. This book shows how Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem was fully realized in 70 A.D. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. is one of the most important historical events for Jews and Christians alike. For Jews it marked the end of the Jewish sacrificial system; for Christians it marked the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 and puts much of what many Christians worry about as a future event firmly in the past.
The Wife and I have been watching a different Christmas movie each evening in the run-up to Christmas.
In the midst of a party-less pandemic, it is the next best thing.
We started the first night with A Christmas Carol (the George C. Scott version), followed by How the Grinch Stole Christmas, then the next night, my favorite, The Bishop’s Wife.
Then last night we watched a movie neither of us had ever seen, The Man Who Invented Christmas, a loose biopic on Charles Dickens’s writing of A Christmas Carol. The movie is as much fiction as fact, but it led me to a realization: I had never actually read the story Dickens wrote. I had seen several versions of the movie, and my wife and I go every year to the local theatre to see the play, but I had never read the actual words Dickens wrote.
After the movie, I went to my study to do some writing, and while there I noticed one of the temperamental track lights on the mezzanine in our library had flickered off again, so I scurried up the spiral staircase to tinker with it. My tinkering brought light, and when I looked down on the bookshelf where the light shone I noticed on top of a row of vertically stacked books a thin leather-bound book, with gold embossed pages, and gilded lettering on the cover:
A Christmas Carol
I then remembered the book was a gift from my wife, but I had not yet read it.