The Write-In Campaign

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
~ 1 Chronicles 12:32

“This is the most important election in our lifetime.”
– Everybody every election year

Four years ago many conservative Christian voters in America faced a crisis choice. Donald Trump was running for president and the Republican party failed to mount any serious challenge to his campaign. We laughed when he entered the race and thought there was no way he would be on the ballot by November. Once all the chads were counted, Donald Trump was the Republican nominee running for president against the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

In the early going, many conservative Christians had vowed on foundational principles they would never vote for Donald Trump. The terrifying prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency, though, spring-fed water at about the midst of that block wall foundation. Directly, Donald Trump wasn’t all bad. He had a way of talking to his political opponents and the liberal media that made us snicker to our buddies. Never mind that spring produced both sweet and bitter water, he was saying some things out loud that many have wanted to say but lacked the courage or opportunity, or perhaps the sense of impropriety.

The prospect of draining the swamp and making ‘Murica great again began to resonate. Maybe some of those economic ideas weren’t so bad. The idea of American Made sounded good and decreasing foreign dependencies wasn’t a hard sell. Building a wall was something that somebody in the Bible somewhere was once in favor of, so that had to be good. Plus, a bunch of liberal celebrities were supposed to renounce U. S. citizenship should Trump win the election. That would be fun. Many embraced the inevitable and thought it was time to hold the nose and pull the lever.

Not HaHa Funny

But then something funny happened. Pinched noses became flared nostrils, supplying the lungs with abundant inflation to bellow full-throated support for Donald Trump. He was embraced and openly promoted. But it got stranger still. No longer were conservative Christians merely hopeful that the President’s policies would be good for the country, many are convinced Donald Trump is God’s choice instrument to restore America.

Some brethren of the more zealous sort are conducting a vigorous write-in campaign for Donald Trump. From pulpits and presses we have listened to Donald Trump being compared to the Persian King Cyrus, who issued the decree allowing Jews to return to Jerusalem. Trump has been compared to famous revivalists and reformers in Israel, like Jehu and Josiah. His “sufferings” have been viewed as messianic persecutions against a righteous leader who would establish justice in the land. The blessed hope of his presidency is the supposed appointment of righteous judges to the Supreme Court so there shall be justice from sea to shining sea. They have thus far stopped short of calling him God’s anointed. Something about that doesn’t set quite right, but they haven’t put their fingers on it yet. That may not be far off though.

The New Crisis

This brings us to the new crisis for conservative Christians. The new crisis isn’t quite like the old crisis. No, no. The old crisis involved a choice for the lesser of two evils … Ah, the lesser of two evils … Those were good times and simpler times. No, the crisis choice now is for the greatest of goods, for the trueness of conservatism. Loyal support for Donald Trump has become the new badge of conservatism and rightness. Never-trumpers today are mocked and dismissed. Such pestilent fellows are fit for nothing but treasons, stratagems, and spoils. The crisis choice is not whether to be a conservative, but what kind of conservative to be.

The deep divides in this country extend to the ranks of conservatives. We have political conservatives, economic conservatives, moral conservatives, and probably many more than I can recall. There is no necessity for any of these to overlap. They can, but they don’t have to. Conservative Christians giving unabashed support to Donald Trump have clearly chosen to move more conservative, whether we call it political, social, economic, moral, etc.

Of course, they must needs find justification in Holy Writ for such exuberance and support for Donald Trump as missio Dei. The great irony in all this is that efforts to become more conservative politically have resulted in becoming biblically liberal. Liberal expositors mishandle, misuse, twist, and even rewrite Scripture to suit their purposes and justify their choices. Such support for Donald Trump has bent and crimped the Scripture and rewritten the biblical narrative to tell us all about what God is doing to save and restore America. Is that what the Bible is about? Conservatives cry out for textualists on the Supreme Court, but apparently textualists aren’t needed in church behind pulpits.

Not About Voting

I don’t care who you vote for in November. Voting is a right, a privilege, and a free choice of conscience. You will account for your stewardship before God, as will I. But, don’t tell me how Donald Trump is “like Jesus” and voting for him is sure to dispatch the signalmen to the middle of America so they can direct the New Jerusalem to set down somewhere between Chicago and New York. Don’t misuse the Bible to tell me how God plans the salvation and restoration of America. Don’t insert Donald Trump into the lines of Scripture so that he runs parallel the heroes of the faith. Be a conservative. A biblical conservative. Conserve the original contextual meaning of the text of Scripture.

How did we all the sudden get so many biblical liberals among conservative Christians? That’s a good question and my first suggestion would be that it hasn’t been as all the sudden as you might think. Mix together a penchant for spiritualizing Scripture, a neglect of contextual exposition, a habit of using the Bible for support, and a strong dose of Americanism, and you have a recipe for all sorts of textual tampering and tomfoolery.

The pulpits in small conservative churches in America left the text decades ago in favor of tribalistic indoctrinations. They’ve been mishandling the Bible this way for years. What is all the sudden about it is mishandling it to justify a politician, as if his presidency is some sort of holy quest.

The pulpits and pews are more attuned to the conservative news outlets than they are the 66 books. The Bible tells us repeatedly not to put our trust in horses and princes, but every four years we’re assailed by professing Christians telling us how this is the most important election and if we don’t elect this or that candidate all is lost.

We all need to calm down and have a long hot soak in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. We need to listen to the story the Bible is actually telling and quit trying to write America and Donald Trump into the narrative of Scripture. Write-ins are for ballots, not for Bibles.

The Bible has things to say to America, as well as it does to China, Mexico, Canada, Zambia, and Chile. However, the Bible is not about America. God has made no covenant with America, nor promised this new land to her founding fathers. Actually studying the Bible will show that America is not a nation per se, at least not in the biblical sense. America is not an ethnicity or family, it’s a melting pot. There is only one man who will establish justice on the earth and cover it with God’s glory. He is the King Jesus Christ. He is God’s Anointed and the Bible is about him.

The Horns of the Bathroom Dilemma

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:8

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:8

No such thing as a slow news day these days.

When we got on board this train in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2006, no one could have envisioned that ten years later the potty break would be as controversial as the photographs, cakes, and flowers. Of course, many thought the destination was Washington D.C. in 2015, but that was only a stop for fresh supplies and a bigger engine. What began with the picture taker, the baker, and the arrangement maker was just that, only a beginning.

Where we are right now

It’s difficult for commentary to keep up with news developments today. We hardly have time to think about something that has happened before the next thing happens. The fire of the moment is the battle over bathrooms. The City of Charlotte passed an ordinance then the state of North Carolina passed a law. Target announced a policy. The courts are hearing cases on bathrooms and locker rooms in schools. Other state governments are debating the issue, and it does go on.

On April 19, 2016, Target posted a statement in explanation of their policy concerning the use of changing rooms and bathroom facilities in their stores. The statement consisted of 226 words in which the corporation spoke of their “beliefs” four times and referred to their stance/commitment/position four times as well. Seven times in the statement, they referred to how they act on, or exercise, their core beliefs.

Let me start by saying I agree with Target. Read more

One Evil, Two Evils, Three Evils, Four

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:8

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. ~ James 1:8

Your money or your life … Choose now!

Scruples is a card game invented in 1984 and marketed as “The game of moral dilemmas.” Many questions seem to involve awkward social situations or relationships. For instance, there might be a question about what you would do if you spilled something on the carpet at a party. Would you tell the host or not? Or, if a friend asked you to give them a reference for a job and you know they are not qualified for it, would you give them a positive reference or not. So the question gives you a scenario and two choices. I guess it’s also supposed to be fun but doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

Those kinds of questions are low stakes moral questions and get boring quickly. To make that kind of game more dramatic, you have to raise the stakes morally. So you would ask something like: the cashier gives you change for a hundred dollar bill instead of the twenty dollar bill you paid with; do you keep quiet or tell her about the error? Or, you and two friends are adrift at sea. In order to survive do you eat the skinny friend or the fat friend? You are hiding spies in your house and the army commander tells you to either turn in the spies or be killed. Which do you do? You get the idea.
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Ahaz Scalia Trump

For ye were as sheep going astray ~ 1 Peter 2:25

For ye were as sheep going astray ~ 1 Peter 2:25

And, no, that’s not a prospective baby name.

Two thousand sixteen is an election year and Christians seem to focus on little else at such times. Twelve years ago I wrote an article that resulted from a study of the Bible to discern what Scriptural directions a Christian has to guide them in making voting decisions. The article was entitled, “The Christian Voter’s Guide.” I received a little feedback from it, including a piece of hate mail in which I was called some ugly names by someone I don’t know and didn’t respond to. It reminded me of the intellectual level of a school yard exchange that includes many, I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I’s. I guess they took their ball and went home because I haven’t heard anything else from them. Oh well, life goes on, time heals all wounds, and all that.

2015 was a peak and plunge kind of year. We were reeling in the summer from the anti-consitutional Supreme Court decision when undercover Planned Parenthood videos began rolling out exposing the most vile and indefensible wickedness in that organization. Thus far the only thing that has resulted has been the indictment, not of Planned Parenthood, but of the investigator responsible for the videos. If we learned nothing else from these things, we know, regardless of the sitting president, we have wickedness in high places.

Racial tensions across the country were also very high, but it gets confusing when we come to the intersection of racial issues and abortion. Though the racist past and present of the abortion industry has been well documented, none or little of the aforementioned tension knocks on the abortionists’ doors. I wonder if we could finally raise civil ire if we would segregate the abortion mills so that you kill the white babies in one building and kill the black babies in a different building. If that ever happened, you could weigh the irony in kilos and sell it legally in some states.

The serious issues facing this country are far too many to list but they come into sharp focus during a major election year. Based on posts, comments, discussions, and the haunted look about the eyes of many Christians it would seem the times are desperate. When things get desperate, otherwise sane men do desperate things.

Once again, we need to look to the Bible and ask if there’s any light for our current situation and upcoming election. Paul said, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4). Considering Israel, He wrote to the Corinthians: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Peter added concerning the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6).
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Hurricane Katrina: Lessons in Disaster

“Out of the south cometh the whirlwind . . .
He causeth it to come, whether for correction,
or for his land, or for mercy”

~ Job 37:9, 13

Once again, America and the world have been given an awesome reminder of the power of God’s creation. This power is so great that many men without faith stop to ponder its magnitude and come to the inevitable conclusion that the creation is mightier than they are. Incredibly though, they fail to see God who created such power and come then to the sound grasp of the infinite power of the Almighty who created and directs all things. “By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth” (Job 37:10-12).

Some have erroneously supposed that God began the processes of evolution and then held Himself aloof while they ran their own course. They do not see God conducting the affairs of the earth. But, they are amiss for, “He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow” (Psalm 147:15-18). They can easily see a major storm as nature run amok. However, not only is the storm not beyond His control, but it actually comes from God and accomplishes His purpose. “The LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nahum 1:3).

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, numerous theological lessons beg to be drawn out of the rubble and that which was, and is, and is to come. Undoubtedly, many will rise to that challenge and bless us with observations likely dominated by the morbid and morose. However, let us not take up the form of the strictly theological, but rather consider some biblical worldview and Christian commentary on current events—a sort of cultural exegesis.

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