Friday, March 11, 2016

What the Church can learn from Donald Trump

Donald Trump has got the world talking. He's even got me blogging about him. He'd probably be happy with that.
He's the Republican front runner in the primaries leading up to the American Presidential Election. He's stirring up all sides of politics.
While Hillary Clinton battles it out with 74 year old left-wing candidate Bernie Sanders for the Democratic candidacy, the rest of us are scratching our heads. What if Donald Trump becomes the Republican candidate? Without making your head bleed, you could scratch further and contemplate what life would be like if Donald Trump became President. Is the United States of America ready for such a President?

I've been bemused by what I have been hearing. Granted, the snippets I hear from the media are mere sound bites in the overall presidential race. Though you could make it into a new t.v. show. Finally we have found a replacement for The Days of our Lives. The 2016 Presidential Election.

So this has got me thinking. I was always taught that you can learn from anyone. Furthermore, if you ever got to the point where you no longer were teachable, then you had to change and humble yourself. Donald Trump challenges this premise.

With this in mind, I ask the question: What can the church learn from Donald Trump?

Donald Trump would build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.A. Jesus would establish reconciliation. 

There's a fundamental difference between reconciling two parties and building a wall of division. I know Nehemiah built a wall (along with scores of helpers), but I am not sure that strengthens the argument for wall-building. See the ministry of Jesus was about reconciling the world to God, but also about breaking down religious and political structures that fundamentally hurt and excluded people. Jesus implored his disciples many times, that people will know that you are my disciples if you built walls; I mean if you showed love for one another. Donald Trump helps us remember the stark difference of the ministry of Jesus.

Donald Trump has ignited the discontent among American voters. He says what he thinks, and some conservatives value the fact that he speaks his mind irrespective of what that mind is speaking.

Let me help you understand what I'm saying. Some Americans respect Donald Trump for being a sharp shooter. For saying what he thinks. Though the fascinating thing is, some Americans care more that he is speaking his mind, than what he is actually saying! And what can the church learn from this?

I think people the world over want transparency within the church. We know some of the abuse and corruption of years gone by. We know some of the misuse of power and exclusion of the vulnerable in church denominations. People don't want leaders of churches to cover these things up. The public expects truth and openness about the failures. There is more respect when this happens. That's what Donald Trump shows us - leaders do garner credibility when they speak from the heart and with conviction.

Now, I disagree with much of what Donald Trump says. I also think it's na├»ve to simply admire Donald Trump for speaking passionately, when damage can be caused when what is passionately spoken about is disrespectful, demeaning and verging on immoral. Though I will say this: Donald Trump shows us the power of a leader that speaks with conviction; yet we cannot compromise ethics and compassion with mere conviction alone.

Donald Trump shows the church, that some Christians JUST DON'T GET IT.

How do I say this without being extradited to a foreign country? Now, you are welcome to respectfully disagree with me here. How can a Spirit-filled, compassionate follower of Jesus reconcile support of Donald Trump with their Christian faith? I am genuinely interested. Donald Trump has ridiculed others, he has contradicted himself more than any other candidate, he has wielded power to canvass votes (though one may argue that's the same with the Democrats), he has been racist, rude, divisive and the list goes on...

I think Donald Trump shows us, that some Christians have some very passionate political views, and will hold fast to them come hell or high-water. For some that even means compromising good ethics, morality, compassion and the teachings of Jesus.

Donald Trump shows the church that how you lead is important.

We could contrast the leadership of Donald Trump with Jesus. One may argue on why we would bother, but we can learn some things in the process. I could not imagine Trump, nor many of the leaders in the current political scene doing the following:

  • Choosing twelve leaders to help them, from a mixed bag of uneducated, simple workers and call them on a three year journey. Not only that, but after three years, give them the authority to run with the mission
  • Calling the establishment of the day to reform their practices in order to show greater compassion to a wider diversity of people
  • Call on people to live out moral values of love and compassion
  • Show leadership skills and lead people on a mission, without vying for position and power

Leadership shown by Jesus is categorically different to the Donald Trumps of this world. I know which one I want to replicate.

There are two things I was always told not to talk about: religion and politics. I have failed on both accounts today. Please forgive me.

You no doubt have some comments to make. Comment below.  

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  1. You have passed various judgements on Donald Trump, unless you have met him personally one can only assume that you have done so via trial by media, who sensationalize and misrepresent pretty much anything and any one to sell media.

    You ask how a person can reconcile their Christianity with a vote for Trump? Along the same lines, how can a person reconcile their vote for a Democrat candidate that is pro Gay Marriage, Abortion and Euthanasia? Does Donald Trump's own Presbyterian denomination not encourage and endorse that type of Liberal Theology?

    Ben Carson is no fool and he and his wife are committed Seventh-day Adventists. This morning I heard that he has given Trump his personal endorsement. Considering that Ben Carson has met him personally and knows first hand who Donald Trump is, maybe it is then possible that the issue is not quite as black and white as you are trying to make it out to be?

  2. Pete. Will you come to America and run for president? I'm still looking for a candidate to support. Guess I will have to look beyond politics to the spiritual war. If we win that battle, politics will be transformed.


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