I smiled to myself this morning as I lay in bed listening to Radio National Breakfast. A commentator who was a professor and member of the Republican party described Mr Trump as being ‘As dumb as a pile of rocks.’ Sadly there is no shortage of people of similar insensibility who are desperate enough and willing to follow this kind of leader. I wrote this before the election of Mr Trump for president. Sadly the United States and the world will have to sleep in the bed they have made for themselves and us.
There are people who have no time for theology, just as there are those who have no time for thinking and as a result put their faith in people like Donald Trump. I’m told that before the Second World War many Germans put their faith in Hitler as a solution to their countries woes. In our day we are getting an object lesson in why people can put their faith in the basest of people. Mr Trump is unsuitable to lead in the United States let alone the free world. Not only because his attitude to women is gross, but because as a leader and a person he is not a representative of good leadership. His attitude to women, however is a function of who He is.
Every Believer should be able to tell the difference between a lesser evil and a greater evil because they do not live in the knowledge of good and evil. Christ is their life. But for many Christians Christ is not their life. The religion of Christianity is their life and Jesus is a footnote. Thus they live in the false perceptions of the knowledge of good and evil and are prone to its deceit and the rants of misguided prophets.
It would be tempting to blame the state of The Donald on capitalism as a system. Certainly this has some bearing in respect of the fact that money-making is equated with cleverness and the ability to lead. Such people can have a larger ego than their intelligence and can be possessed of a low animal cunning as befits life in the milieu of the survival of the fittest and a system where private greed is held to bring public good. It’s unfortunate that so many have put their faith in the kind of right wing Messiah who has become wealthy by ‘screwing’ and despising people like themselves. Where there is no vision the people really do perish.
Christians are right to see abortion as a grievous sin. But that’s not the only form of killing for which we can be responsible. It is unfortunate that wars in the Middle East, started under false pretenses have caused the death of thousands of innocent people. This ill-advised wars, started in folly, have indirectly led to the rise of ISIS and its atrocities. Yet Christians rail against abortion and are silent about this death and mayhem. This is also sin and just as evil as any other kind of killing. The one-eyed obsession with abortion leaves people blind to every other kind of wickedness.
Nevertheless there are honourable, gracious, clever and generous rich folks who have made money by making the world a more intriguing and better place. The fact is that a life that is not Christ is not only de-humanizing but has the potential to make us bestial. It is not a coincidence that the book of Daniel describes national collectivities as beasts, given that numerous individuals unrefined by the grace of Jesus Christ fit this description. Neither should it escape us that that Jesus initiated the Kingdom of heaven among us. But we must live in Him and live Him personally to be agents of new creation life. To live in Christianity as an ideology is to deceive ourselves and betray the world. To live in Jesus; to have Jesus as our life is to initiate the transformation of ourselves and become the agents of love, grace and life. Here we are the agents of the new creation.
Jesus does not compel people to choose Him. Satan is happy for thousands to live out ‘Christianity’ that denies Christ in spirit and in truth. The truth is, if you choose not to have Jesus to rule over you, you are destined to be the victim of the Messiah you get. It makes no sense to have a healing ministry in one’s church, to speak of heaven invading earth and then choose a gross and incompetent person rather than a flawed and competent person to run the country. It’s faintly like choosing Barabbas!
Ordinary people with more discernment and less ignorance that many Christians, can see the strands of similarity between Stalin, Hitler and the ideas of Mr Trump. It’s a sad day, when the United States that was once a light on the hill becomes a faint shadow of its original self and falls under the power of The One Ring that rules them all.
It fills me with dismay that Christians who attend church, hear from God and who sometimes heal people in the power of Christ can be fixated on certain acts of immorality as the prime evil, yet be blind to the immorality and grossness of the economic system that is their ‘other god.’ It’s disappointing when Christians support right-wing-ism. When they deny climate change, align themselves with special interests and greed; when they bear arms as easily as they take on the name of the cross; when they include themselves without shame in the parasite class - the class who assure us they are our benefactors, always take more than they give, yet display the kind of discernment one might find in a donkey.
Jesus is not aligned with the right or the left. He represents life and life-multiplication. Rather than hang on to His stuff and His prerogatives He gave Himself up and suffered the humiliation of death on a cross. In doing so He ensured justice would eventually triumph and that greed would have its own reward. Some attain wealth by cleverness and hard work. Others by digging it out of the ground and treating it as though they own it. Others by being cunning enough to manipulate the economic system to the advantage of themselves and the loss of all they indirectly oppress. You don’t have to be a Putin or an Assad to suck life out of people. You can do this and be esteemed ‘successful’ in the ‘free world.’ Some say that going to hell is being made to live eternally with people like yourself. An exquisite justice if ever there was one!
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; No one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matt 12.18-21 NIV.
There is a life that is full and free, on offer not only to individuals but to nations. There is a King and a Kingdom. This King revives the down-trodden and brings hope to the hopeless. He is the champion of the disinherited and the friend of the oppressed. He is not the King of religiosity or ‘churchism.’ But He is the King of life and justice. You can know this King personally and if you make a life in Him rather than in the knowledge of good and evil, your will know the truth and the truth will set you free from vanity and folly.
‘My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments’ Col 2.2 NIV.
But back to theology. If you are one of those whose attention is captured by praise and worship, you vigorously wave your hands but your powers of reason dissolve immediately it is over, you might like to consider that there is merit in having an attention span that lasts longer than a mist in the rising son. Theology simply means the truth about God, about you and the world.
Martin Luther King observed that ‘Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.’ If you are too lazy to educate yourself and become certain about the truth, you can expect that people will take advantage of you and that your soul and spirit will become captive to those without insight or conscience. Is it possible that some of us could be so dim that if Jesus came again we would join the ignorant and religious in putting Him on the cross?
‘We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing’ 1 Cor 2.6 NIV.
Jesus represents grace and truth. He is grace so that we can be drawn into His truth. Theology is simply the truth about God, about who He is, what He is like, what He has done for us, how He has done it and who we can expect to become as a result of His love expressed on our behalf. It helps to read the Bible. It is important to read the Bible through the Jesus lens. You need to live in the new covenant and not the old and if you do not know the difference be sure to find out. It’s the difference between a life in Adam and a life in Jesus and a life that is actually dead and a life that is alive in spirit and in truth.