Saturday, November 14, 2020


"... Hear now, you house of David!  Is it not enough to try the patience of humans?  Will you try the patience of my God also?"  (from Isaiah 7:13 New International Version)

At the outset, I want to tell you how difficult it is for me to write and post this piece!  In fact, it's so stressful and difficult that I can't find the right words.  But it's something I just have to do!  The prophet Jeremiah essentially said at one point he wanted to just shut up and not do any more prophesying, but he said the word of the Lord was "like fire shut up in my bones" (see Jeremiah 20:9) and he just couldn't stop speaking.  I'm not saying this is "the word of the Lord" but this is something I feel so passionately that I'm almost weeping as I write.  I posted one word on my Facebook Timeline last Sunday:  "ENOUGH".  On Monday I posted:  "STILL: ENOUGH".  I don't think too many people "got" it!  On Tuesday I came across something as I was searching through the computer.  It affected me so much I had to post it.  Here it is:  " 'If you judge people, you have no time to love them.'  (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)".

To try to cut to the chase, this is a post supportive of President Donald Trump at this time.  I will say up front I fully buy the statement that there was major voter fraud in this election, and also that Joe Biden is not the President-Elect.  Maybe, just maybe Joe Biden will be the President-Elect in three or four weeks, and maybe just maybe he will be Inaugurated in January.  I don't know.  God knows.  But there needs to be a thorough investigation, recounts, legal challenges, court decisions, etc.  

Now, here's why I loved the Mother Teresa quote.  It's ironic that liberals (or is it "progressives"?) are supposedly all for "inclusion" and "diversity" and "questioning authority" and all that sort of thing, but when it comes to Donald Trump and when it comes to white evangelicals, especially white evangelical males, and especially white evangelical ordained ministers (like me!) there isn't any "inclusion" or "diversity" or "tolerance" or anything!  There is truly so much on my heart!  I scribbled down a bunch of notes this week.  Now, I'm trying to put them all together, and I think it's going to be just about impossible.  I seriously think if I had the time I could write at least a one hundred page book with all the notes and thoughts I have!  But, sorry, it's going to have to be on this post and if it's disjointed and confusing and doesn't flow well; as my friend Bill Lincoln would say, "Oh well!"

I feel like the Apostle Paul when he wrote the book of Second Corinthians.  He was also "all over the place" and he was on the one hand rather harsh, yet on the other hand worried about how he'd be received, and obviously emotionally and spiritually torn about what he was writing.  Many, many of my evangelical clergy colleagues never and I mean never talk about politics.  Neither I nor their church folks have any idea who they vote for, or where they stand politically.  They feel it's best that way.  And, maybe it is.  I have other evangelical clergy friends who are liberals (or is it "progressives"?).  That probably surprises you, because there's a whole stereotype about evangelical ministers being fanatical right-wing zealots.  Now, I do have many evangelical clergy colleagues who are conservative Republicans.  My openly liberal minister friends and my openly conservative minister friends are not shy to boldly proclaim their political beliefs, in or out of the pulpit.  At one time, circa thirty plus years ago, I was what could be called "a right-wing nut"!  I did have a "Pat Robertson For President" sign by the front door at my residence in 1988. It doesn't get much more "right wing" than that!  But over the past fifteen years particularly, I've not written or spoken much about politics.  I don't pastor a church anymore, but I do teach adult classes and preach publicly from time to time at the church where my wife and I are members.  There, I really don't say much about politics to anyone.  I don't want to be "a stumbling block" to others.  On the internet over the past few years I have only written five or six political pieces.  Some were critical of Donald Trump and some were positive about Donald Trump.  I think the best one of all is a blog post entitled, "DONALD TRUMP - GP/AJ" in which I tried to explain why people like Donald Trump and how his personality can best be understood.  That was the last blog piece I posted, on May 30, 2020.

Like many conservatives I listen to Rush Limbaugh, and I love the guy.  But I also devour National Public Radio every weekend.  I love "The Moth Radio Hour" (and I've actually been a speaker on "The Moth Radio Hour".)  I love "This American Life".  I love "Snap Judgment".  I love "Selected Shorts".  I listen to "The New Yorker Radio Hour".  It has a very progressive bias.  And one of my all time favorite National Public Radio shows is "On Being" with Krista Tippett.  I spend Sunday early mornings with Krista Tippett and her guests every week!  I also have theologically liberal and politically liberal clergy friends.  Don't have a heart attack, but some of them are gay.  Do I agree with them on "everything"?  OF COURSE NOT!  But I still consider them friends.

 I am so sick of the stereotyping of conservative white males.  I am so sick of the stereotyping of evangelical white male pastors!  Read Mother Teresa's quote again.  Do you see why I liked it?

 Yes, I could write a one hundred page book but I won't.  I am devastated by the hate and insensitivity and intolerance by the left wing folks on social media right now.  People like me do not deserve to be talked to like we're stupid and unwanted.

Ironically, I really didn't like Donald Trump when he entered the race four years ago.  I wrote a blog piece (which I later took down) in which I urged evangelicals to not vote for him.  I was grieved by the nasty things he said about John McCain and by his making fun of a disabled reporter.  I'm still grieved by those things.  BUT, when it came down to voting in November of 2016 there was absolutely no way I could vote for Hillary Clinton!  I voted for Trump in '16 and '20.  He hasn't been perfect, but overall, I think he's done a good job. As far as how he's handled COVID-19, although the media portrays him as some sort of sinister murderer from Transylvania, I think he's done a good job.  I may lose a lot of friends over this, but I would have handled COVID-19 about the same way were I the President, and I'm serious.

If I'm unfriended and reviled and hated by many because of this, so be it!  I really don't hate anybody, but this is what I think and how I feel.  In 2000, we didn't know who won the election for weeks.  In a way it was easy for me that year because I voted for a Third Party candidate, so I really didn't care!  But as I recall the national attitude about who would be the ultimate winner, Gore or Bush, was kind of like "Whatever!"  Am I saying 2000 was "the good old days"?  Yes!  Nobody was off the wall with hate the way people are today! 

Joe Biden is not the President-Elect.  There has been serious fraud in this election.  Things need to be investigated and if necessary, a final legal decision will have to be rendered.  At that point, the country will "go with" whoever the winner is.  But for now, PLEASE... Can we be patient, quiet, and reasonable for a few weeks (and I'm mostly talking to liberals and Democrats)?  Can we just let the process be worked out?  And on both sides, can we stop acting like jerks?

Suggestion:  If you want to "fire" at me, at least give it twenty-four hours so it will be thoughtful and not merely reactive.