Donald Trump and the Prophetic Voice of America

Has there ever been a more polarizing election year in the history of our nation? If so, then certainly not one so televised and “shared” via social media, which makes the polarization even more evident.

Who the hell are these people?
No, not only the candidates themselves, but also their die-hard fans. Their loyal donors. Their faithful followers.

Who is okay with this!?

Most of the people I know are watching in utter confusion as some of the most spiteful, hateful, and radical candidates in history take the stage to the whoops and hollers of screaming, supportive fans.

Donald Trump is running for President.
Let that sink in for a moment.
And then let it sink in that he will likely be the GOP candidate for the general election. Which means that he has the potential to actually become the POTUS, with the support of a political party whose social agenda used to be one closely associated with conservative values, the American dream, and grandma’s Sunday afternoon apple pie.

Look how far we’ve come.

Now before you assume that this post is meant to be an indictment against Donald Trump, let me make one thing clear: We are all to blame for this. And this isn’t really about Donald Trump. Whether you share Donald Trump’s specific rally cry or not, you probably have more in common with him than you think.

(I’m gonna get a little preachy here, so I’m sorry ahead of time for people who were just hoping I’d rail against Donald Trump.)

Donald Trump is the prophetic voice of the American people. He is speaking a damning word over us all and we should be ashamed of ourselves.

“Who? Me? Never! I am voting for Bernie Sanders!”

Yes, you. And me. And that guy right there. Because Donald Trump isn’t the only one speaking for us and over us these days. The prophetic voices in our culture are loud and strong and broadcasted over every loud speaker and television screen and facebook feed on the planet.

The message?

“I’m okay. You’re not. You created this problem. I will solve it. And then you will pay.”

The enemy is always different, so, take your pick.
Who caused all of your problems?

Was it the lazy black man?
The entitled white man?
The backroom-dealing CEO?
The lesbian feminist?
The illegal immigrant?
The backwards redneck?
The fundamentalist Christian?

Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Sure, Donald Trump may take the prize for Worst Rhetoric Of Any Presidential Candidate Ever, but the underlying message of his campaign should come as no surprise because it’s the same self-righteous garbage that lies at the heart of our culture at large. It’s the same self-righteous garbage that blames feminism for “destroying the family,” blames Capitalism for poverty, and only blames other countries for our insecurity. It’s the same self-righteous garbage that allows us to justify crooked cops and misbehaving black men by just blaming them one on the other.

“I’m okay. You’re not. You created this problem. I will solve it. And then you will pay.”

This is the message our modern day prophets are speaking and we should see it as an indictment on all of us. Especially people of faith. Because the message of the Gospel is entirely different:

“I am not okay and neither are you. We are all a part of a problem that we cannot solve on our own and all owe a debt that we cannot pay on our own. Jesus is both the solution to the problem and the satisfaction of the debt.”

You may not buy the Jesus stuff and think Christianity is one of the enemies. Or you may have a much higher view of mankind and believe that everyone is, at the core of their best selves, really “okay.” You may think that it’s a good thing that the Christian faith is going out of fashion in our country. (In some ways, I kind of agree with you. Popular faith has a tendency to lose its potency.)

But, before you bid “good riddance” to the Christian worldview, it’s important to understand what we lose when we trade a shared complicity for personal self-righteousness. And how we got to the point where it’s no longer possible to even stand in a room together with someone who disagrees with us without calling names and throwing punches.

One of the beautiful things the Christian message does is it completely levels the playing field by saying that there is not one man or woman in the entire world who is “righteous.” Not one. So, instead of pitting black against white and rich against poor and legal against illegal or liberal against conservative to fight about who can solve the problems of our world, it turns us away from each other and lets us stand side by side to confront the Creator of the universe with our own failures and to plead for help.

This is how, in the Kingdom of God, there can be neither “Jew nor Greek, slave nor free.”
We are all broken; we all need to be fixed.

But we–we, collectively–don’t believe that anymore. Even people who still call themselves “Christians.” Instead, we let fools like Donald Trump speak the message our hearts already believe, which is: I’m okay. You’re not. You created this problem. I will solve it. And then you will pay.

He speaks for us all, whether we want to admit it or not.



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