Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A New President - Election Day 2016 Post #6

(Just a warning: I am a pastor, and I’m about to share an opinion that might be considered political. If you don’t think pastors should share political opinions, you might want to stop reading now.)

I did not think he would really run. And he ran.

I did not think he would really be nominated. And he was nominated.

I did not think he would really win the election. And he won.

I do not think he will really be able to implement his campaign promises.  And …

And for me it’s not only about the specific campaign promises he made, it’s about the tone he sets.

I did not think that a majority of voters would approve of that tone. And ... it actually turns out they didn’t.

It was close, but there were just over 200,000 more Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Donald Trump (at the time of this writing). So there’s not a decisive victory, no clear mandate to advance his agenda. We are a starkly polarized country, and this election showed that very clearly.

Let me say this before I proceed. Although I did not support his campaign, I will respect his role as President of the United States.

And at the same time, I will hold on to what I know.

I know that bullying is wrong. I know that racism is wrong. I know that misogyny is wrong. I know that discrimination against people who are gay is wrong. I know that allowing fear to motivate your actions leads to terrible results.

I know that God is real. I know that every person is beloved. I know that we are different from one another, but no one is better than anyone. I know that evil, injustice, and oppression exist and need to be confronted. I know that love will always trump hatred.

I also know that not everyone who voted for Donald Trump this year shares his worldview. Far be it from me to use the same kind of prejudiced language about “the Trump voters” as he uses about “the Mexicans” or “the Blacks” or “the Muslims.” But here’s the deal - I’m going to need people in that category to join with me to speak with some pretty loud voices of condemnation if or when President Trump’s worldview impacts his actions as President.

Finally, I’m not lamenting today. I’m actually feeling, like my friend Greg says, “Bolstered.” I mean that sincerely. I can be rather conservative about certain things, but overall I am pretty progressive in my thought, my politics, and my theology. And while that puts me at odds with the prevailing governing authorities of the season, nevertheless I’m in fairly good company.

The way I see it, we are in the midst of an enormous cultural shift, and this year’s election was a sharp, sudden backlash to that shift. But the tide is still turning, this year’s results notwithstanding. This election has illuminated a lot of really dark places in our society, and that’s a really good thing. Now, with those dark places lit up, the fear, prejudice, racism, and other horrible stuff that usually hangs out there has no place to hide.

Every member of every United Methodist Church in America has promised to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” as a part of our membership vows. Well, let’s get to it! We’ve got some work to do.

In the midst of new dimensions, in the face of changing ways.
Who will lead the pilgrim peoples wandering in their separate ways?
God of rainbow, fiery pillar, leading where the eagles soar,
We your people, ours the journey now and ever, now and ever, now and ever more.

Should the threats of dire predictions cause us to withdraw in pain,
May your blazing phoenix spirit, resurrect the church again.
God of rainbow, fiery pillar, leading where the eagles soar,
We your people, ours the journey now and ever, now and ever, now and ever more.

- Rev. Julian Rush, 1985

(I apologize to those who have read this and think it is unseemly for a pastor to have an opinion about things. To be fair, I gave you advance warning!)


Unknown said...

Andy, if you had not posted something I'd have been concerned. One of the reasons I like and respect you is that you are much more than a Pastor - you are a person who has no problem expressing your thoughts and feelings. That's a good thing!
You need not apologize in the future, just continue to be who you are.

Garra Crews said...

Thank you for posting that...and, especially, for being you. I'm so very glad that CUMC provided the service on Tuesday night, and I'm thankful I was able to attend. It really helped me in lots of ways- but especially, being able to look around at all the people I love and admire and know that if they could see things differently than I did, then maybe I could see things differently, too.

Franci Schwartz said...

Well said!

Katy B said...

Thank you for your eloquence in saying what so many of us feel. It's a fearful state of being right now for anyone who wasn't born white, male or straight.

Bev said...

Thank you for posting this -- I enjoyed reading it and it gave me a lot of food for thought. I think it's a fearful state of being for everyone right now.

Anonymous said...

I love your speaking out! We have many people we need to support with these words!

Walter Johnson said...

Thank you Pastor. I share the same position.

Anonymous said...

I supported him because I wouldn't support evil & corruption. Nice article, but quite frankly I cannot believe a minister supports a pro choice candidate. (Among other things)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pastor for your honest insight. Too bad my Catholic Pastor, my Catholic faith supports this dark side. To Anonymous, God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. Then God BREATHED life into her. Prolife is not what you get from this years' President elect or this centurys' republican party, absent is feed the poor, heal the sick, clothe the naked, free the captives, visit the imprisoned, ect. Republicans are not pro life, only probirth.

Donna Bray said...

You should always opine like any other citizen,whenever you want.
Being a pastor is not a barrier,it is invaluable to those of us who are not.
Donna Bray

Rick said...

Andy, Just because your a pastor doesn't mean you can't have an opinion. I do however wish you could see the shortcomings of both candidates. Hillary lied, stole, cheated and was irresponsible. I myself would liked to have had better choices on both sides. But like you I'm assuming, I felt like I had to make a choice between two evils. I was personally voting for Mike Pence and Ben Carson. I felt it was better to at least have Godly principled men or women sorrounding our president. Hillarys ticket had no morals or principles from the top down, i.e. Destroying evidence, lying about emails and the deletion of emails, using foundation money to pay for her daughters wedding, having media give her questions to a debate and excepting them without question. I would be horrified if my son had the displayed morals of Donald Trump and I hope you would be horrified if your daughter had the displayed morals of Hillary Clinton. I do believe the left gave us Donald Trump because he gave people their voice back. People in America can't have an opinion or different point of view anymore without being labeled. Unfortunately that even happens in our churches today. I have a different opinion than you on such things as homosexuality according to scripture, so called racial issues when it comes to officer involved shootings, safety in our country when you talk about refugees. Like I said, they are my honest opinions beliefs and feelings. I'm not saying I'm always right but I do have an opinion. When I hear you talk about those things from the pulpit, I hear words like homophobe, racist, bigot, islamaphobe. How can I feel like I have a voice in my country or my church if I'm always met with a label that is meant to shut me down. I am saddened by some of the things Donald Trump has said and done but I also know God has used different men and women for different times. I think we can all agree that it was a miracle that he actually won the election with the avalanche of negativity that was piled against him. I just pray that God will humble him, protect him and show him favor in the next four years. May God truly bless America.

Andy B. said...

Rick, I deeply appreciate this feedback. Thank you so much for this. I humbly apologize for any times that I have ever placed a label on a person. I try so hard to avoid doing that, especially from the pulpit. It breaks my heart to hear that I have labelled people.
You are right, I have addressed homophobia, racism, bigotry, and islamophobia, as well as other evils, injustices, and forms of oppression in the world. I do so because of what I see as a clear Biblical commandment that all disciples of Jesus follow. I will continue to confront these, as I know we all will. However, I will be extra careful with my words, so as not to label people.
Please keep me accountable to this. I cannot become a better follower of Jesus without people like you reminding me of what that means. Shalom, my brother.

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