And Now for Something Completely Different

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Gentle Reader,

I have wrestled with what and even if to write following the results of the election.

I’m not thrilled with the outcome. Wouldn’t have been thrilled with a Clinton win, either. It greatly bothers me that my fellow countrymen and women continue to back the Democrat/Republican duopoly. I grit my teeth when people tell me, “Well, I didn’t know about anyone else” because that means they chose to be less informed voters. Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Darrell Castle, and Evan McMullin were all flawed candidates (as every candidate is) but their platforms and ideas were only a mouse click away. Not one of us had to choose between the lesser of two evils (which is still an evil, by the way).

Some are saying that Clinton’s loss is the fault of independent voters like me. It’s not. The numbers don’t add up. Leave us alone. All we’re trying to do is break this country out of the deadlock that everyone complains about but keeps voting back in every few years.

Okay. The election process played out. Trump won.

Here’s where I’m at with that.

Please, Those of You who Want to “Make America Great Again”

I know and love people who voted for Trump, which means that I know it’s not true that every person who did so is a racist. So I want them to loudly, roundly and flatly condemn the disgusting words that some now feel free to hurl at minorities. I want them to physically place themselves in the path of anyone who would do harm to someone who looks different.

Because it’s happening. People who are racist feel more comfortable in expressing themselves. Tell them they are wrong. Tell them that you stand with African, Asian, Latino and Native Americans.

Please, Those of You who Said “I’m With Her”

Depending on which generational model one uses, I’m either the very end of Generation X or the very beginning of the Millennials – and I’m disgusted with how those around my age and younger are reacting to this election. Peaceful gathering and protest is your right, but blocking streets? Destroying property? Rioting? Please. That does nothing. And I probably shouldn’t even start on the way some college campuses are operating right now. Cancelled classes? Take-home tests instead of finals? Double please.

Your candidate lost. You can be upset about that. It’s okay. But you know what? The world doesn’t revolve around you. Don’t throw a hissy fit. Dust yourself off, square your shoulders and move forward.

Class Warfare

I fully believe that this was all about the “have nots” flipping a giant middle finger at the “haves.” Racism and misogyny are mixed in there, no doubt, but this was large sections of the country screaming in protest. The government doesn’t work for them. The current administration spent time waging war over transgender bathroom issues while they struggled to feed their families. The President played rounds of golf while single mothers worked two and three jobs to try and make ends meet. They may have access to healthcare now, but they can’t afford to pay the premiums (or the penalties).

I’m one generation removed from small farmers and lumber workers. I get it. My father’s hometown hasn’t seen any kind of growth in decades. What are you supposed to do when you go to work in one sort of system and that system abruptly changes, ejecting you because you’re no longer needed? How are you supposed to get the job training you need for a new economy when you can’t afford to pay for college? Or when there isn’t a college anywhere near you and its just not feasible to move your family? Yes, Mike Rowe is right when he says that there are “dirty jobs” available, but do they pay enough? Will they break the body in a few years, leaving one to start again? What’s the answer? (Side note: the jobs that “those people” are always “stealing” – they aren’t jobs that Americans want to do. At least admit that).

Trump does not have the power to change any of this. He can’t force companies to shut down their overseas factories and bring them back to the United States. If he does find a way to create jobs, will they be the sort that calls for unskilled labor? How long will the jobs last?

There are answers to these questions. I don’t know what they are, but I do know they’ll only be found by the “average Joe and Jane” coming together with the “elites.” We have to work as a team. We have to remember that we’re all Americans.

Listen Up, Congress

If you get nothing done in the next 4 years, blame yourselves, Republicans. You have control of both the House and the Senate. You’ve shown yourselves to be blatantly obstructionist for no other reason than to be obstructionist. Now’s your chance. Since most of you have been in Congress since the dawn of time because we stupidly never put term limits in place, I’m not expecting much from you. Surprise me. Surprise us.

Personal Concerns

I worry that the Affordable Care Act legislation will be repealed without thought. My frustration with the ACA has never been centered around the gross belief that everyone doesn’t deserve equal access to healthcare. I believe the exact opposite. Anyone should be able to go to the doctor at any time for any reason. My issue with the ACA has always been that it’s not real reform. The government adopted the private insurance model and offered it to people who couldn’t get private insurance. Patients can still be denied medications and services.

Please, Congress, have some kind of plan before you put the ACA to death. Either decide to go over to fully socialized medicine and put the insurance companies out of business or open up state borders, increasing competition so premium prices go down and insurance companies are forced to get better at what they do if they want to stay afloat. Please, please don’t take us back to the days of “pre-existing conditions” or those of us with chronic illnesses are nothing short of screwed.

I worry about internet regulation, the pet project of some conservatives. Leave the internet alone.

I worry that the rich will get richer and the poor poorer, further deepening the divisions across this country.

I worry that we will continue to involve ourselves in foreign wars.

I worry that some Christians now mistakenly believe themselves to be the dominate force in society. No. Evangelicals who uncritically supported Trump or played on fears over the Supreme Court have done damage to the testimony of the Church. Naked ambition won out over the sharing of the Gospel. There is repenting to be done.

In the End

God is sovereign. He will accomplish His purposes. We can feel secure in that when all else feels shaky.

I am ready and willing to pray for President Trump and support him in the ways that I can, and, when I cannot, be honorable in opposition – just as I have done for President Obama over the last eight years. I genuinely hope that something good comes out of this.

This, difficult as it may be, is where we all must land.

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A Change is Gonna Come

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Gentle Reader,

I’ve made no secret of my fascination with politics and my particular interest in (alarm over?) the upcoming presidential election. A love of history and news combined with hearing from both parents and teachers that it is a privilege and a duty to participate in the democratic process pretty much guaranteed that I would be a political nerd.

But I’m beginning to wonder if the Amish and Mennonites don’t have it right.

There’s no hard rule that I’ve been able to find that dictates non-voting for all Amish or Mennonite groups, but from what I understand they generally avoid the ballot box. This is based in the idea of “two kingdoms,” the worldly and the spiritual; while the worldly government is to be respected, Christians are to adhere to the laws of the spiritual kingdom, even if those laws bring them into direct conflict with the worldly kingdom.

I was first exposed to the “two kingdoms” doctrine as a young teenager, when I listened to a radio dramatization of the life of Deitrich Bonhoeffer. It took root in me deeply. I do believe that Christians should respect governmental authorities, but I also believe that our first and lasting allegiance must be to God. We must do as He says, even if this winds up meaning jail-time or death (as so many of our brothers and sisters in other, less comfortable countries experience today). I believe that following Christ will almost inevitably lead to civil disobedience in one way or another.

I have publicly stated that I will be voting for Gary Johnson, as he is essentially a moderate. I do not agree with all of his positions, but I am a moderate as well. I hold stances that are both “conservative” and “liberal.” The two major parties are basically the same at this point, wrapped up in a gridlock that does this country no good. It’s time our officials, who supposedly work for us, look past these allegiances and begin listening to each other. A president that is beholden to neither side of the aisle may help to accomplish this.

And yet…I grow increasingly uncomfortable filling in that bubble and sliding that sheet into the closed-topped blue box and hearing the election volunteer somberly announce that “Marie Gregg has voted.” With a little over two weeks before that momentous day, I wonder if I will vote at all.

If I do, I have a strong sense that this will be the last time.

The “Christianization” of society will not be achieved through votes or laws or strategy. In fact, this will never be achieved at all. Point blank: Read the Bible, people. Get over your laziness and your anti-intellectualism and start studying. Further, take a look at some world history. There never has been and there never will be any such thing as a “Christian nation,” either here in America or anywhere else. It is a concept not taught anywhere in Scripture.

Does America need to be made great again? Is it great already? Does America need to be saved?

Should we not be more concerned about those who may drown in a foundering ship of state than we are about plugging the ship’s holes? Should we not be busily engaged in throwing out life preservers to the passengers than in attempting to become the captain(s)?

I don’t know if I can in good conscience participate in this or any other election going forward. I really don’t. Something deep within, the strong heart-fluttering feeling I have come to recognize as the movement of the Holy Spirit, whispers that my eyes need not be on the person in the Oval Office but rather on the One who sits on the throne. That I must be about His business.

Is His business to overturn Roe v. Wade or is it to quietly invest in the life of woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant?

Is His business to worry about “religious rights” or is it to share the Gospel, heedless of the cost?

I leave you with these words from the apostle. Wrestle with them as I am.

…you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

– 1 Peter 2:9-17 (NKJV)

God, grant Your people wisdom.

Grant me wisdom.

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Addendum: I couldn’t figure out how to fit this into the above, but I am hearing some say that, if Clinton is elected, that all those who do not vote for Trump are guilty of everything that happens following. This is both straying very close to idolatry (if not outright engaging in it) and straight-up illogical reasoning. Please, do abandon this line with all haste. Neither Clinton or Trump is the savior of the country or any person in it. Nobody is guilty of anything Clinton or Trump does, says, feels, thinks or believes other than Clinton and Trump.

Donald Trump and Sexual Assault: What Else Are Evangelical Voters Willing to Accept?

I don’t use the “reblog” feature on WordPress (the company that hosts this site) very often, but there are times when something is just too good and it must be shared. Read this. Think about it.

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Christian in America

Last night’s presidential debate opened with the Republican candidate for president apologizing for boasting about sexual assault, while in the same breath claiming that it was just words, mere “locker room talk.” “I’m very embarrassed by it,” he admitted, “but it’s locker room talk.”

That’s all. Nothing to worry about. This is just how men talk when they are together having fun. People just say these things.

That’s what Trump would have us believe.

I have heard much “locker room talk” over the years and I have never, ever, heard someone even come close to bragging about sexual assault without being called out on it by any man with any self-respect whatsoever.

I am well aware that many men say these sorts of things. Many men commit sexual assault too. Indeed, one out of every five women in America has been the victim of rape or attempted rape, and half…

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