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Now, more than ever, we must show the world what Jesus followers really are

Two days ago, America elected a racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, homophobic bully who brags about assaulting women. According to shocked analysts, eighty-one percent of evangelical voters supported him.

The word evangelical has lost its meaning. It means good news. But this is not good news for women, people of color, LGBT people, Muslims or even, I think, America. It’s not good news even for the misguided people who voted for him, although it will take a while for them to see that.

More than half of “white women ages 45-64” and “white protestant women” voted for this man. I am in both those categories, and did not vote for Trump. I love my country too much to do that.

I used to identify evangelical, but since that word has been co-opted by people who support Trump and degrade women with their theology, I no longer use it to identify myself. I’m not alone, as other progressive Christians took to Twitter to decry what happened. I am a Jesus follower, a Jesus feminist, but not evangelical.

In an article headlined “How Christian America Elected the President No other Religion could Get Behind,” the Huffington Post’s analysis of what happened, I read this:

“Deborah Jian Lee, author of Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism, said in an email to HuffPost: “I’ve been hearing from evangelicals leaders and lay people who are people of color, women and LGBTQ who fiercely opposed Trump and are now stunned to see just how many of their white fellow believers supported a candidate that proudly demeans their humanity.”

“Trump preached xenophobia, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and more,” Jian Lee said, “and the white evangelical base said ‘Amen.’”

Read the whole article here.

Blogger John Pavlovitz has a lot to say to white evangelical Christians about the outcome of the election. His post here is worth reading.

Trump has played a huge group of white evangelicals for a fool. People who look a lot like me (white, suburban, Christian, middle-aged women) elected the first man in 30 years who did not even say “God bless America” at the end of his victory speech.

Christianity Today noted: “Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, ‘I come to this moment deeply humbled, grateful to God for his amazing grace.’ Trump did not mention God in his remarks. He is the first president in over 30 years to not conclude his speech with “God bless America.”

I would add that Trump also did not mention anything about being humbled in his remarks, either.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, quoted Scripture at the end of her concession speech. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

(Galatians 6:9) the context of this verse matters. Hillary did what Jesus sometimes did: quoted a portion of scripture to refer to its larger context. Read this article about that.

I feel betrayed by my demographic. I cannot change who I am. But I can change what I do. I can show the world another sort of Jesus follower—one who actually does what He told us to do. And now, more than ever, it is key for Jesus followers (especially those of us in the messy process of rejecting the “evangelical” label) to show the world what Jesus followers actually do.

Maybe you’re like me: a Christian whose faith would never allow them to vote for Trump, no matter what. What do we do now?

This is what we do, friends: we love.

As Dr. Martin Luther King famously said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

All those marginalized groups that are fearful right now—our LGBT friends, people of color, refugees—we love them in radical, practical ways. Get out of your comfort zone and actually interact with people who need the reassurance that not all of Jesus’ followers regard them with fear and hatred. Grieve, cry. Then get off social media (I’m talking to myself here) and actually look into the eyes of people, give them practical help.

The battle is not lost, friends. We can still go out and love people.

All during this election, I’ve been thinking about trying to get involved helping refugees. Thinking about it. I confess, that doesn’t do a whole lot of good. I can post on social media about #wewelcomerefugees but that really is slacktivism at its best.

If you are a Jesus follower and spent yesterday ugly crying and wondering what the hell just happened, I invite you to join me. Let’s outrageously love the very people who think Christians turned on them by voting for Trump. Let’s love with action, not just hashtags.

Hillary Clinton said it: “let us not become weary in doing good.”

Let’s love everyone, always.

One more thing: that includes loving people who voted for Trump.

Last night at my Bible study, we read Luke 6. It says, among other things: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (vs. 27-28), and also “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (vs. 37).

One of the women in the study said she thought Trump’s largest group of supporters were probably white, rural poor, men. Exit polls seem to indicate that non-college educated white men were his largest demographic group of supporters. They are not necessarily poor or rural. If we hate on them, no matter who they are, we’re no better than those who hate Muslims or gays.

I’ve seen a lot of condemnation coming from my fellow #neverTrump Christian friends. I’ve spewed some myself. I’ve argued on social media and cried. But I was convicted by my friend’s words. Can I love those I fear?

So here’s what I plan to do: love everyone, always. Not just with words or hashtags, but in action and in truth. As 1 John 3:18 says: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Those actions might be small, simple things. Drive out the darkness with small, courageous acts of kindness and love. Choose not to hate, choose not to be bitter.

Today, that means I got up and baked banana bread to take to my in-laws. They voted for Trump. Voted absentee in Florida, helped swing that state for Trump. My husband and I are going to help them—they are getting older and struggling in many ways. Today I will help them move, bringing a loaf of sweet bread and being kind to them. They will be gloating about the politics, I know. I’ll love them anyway. I’ll ask Jesus for the strength to not become weary in doing good.

In the coming weeks, I will contact refugee resettlement organizations and actually volunteer my time to help.

I am praying for God’s help in loving everyone, always.

 

 

 

 

16 Comments

  1. Again…disappointed by thus post…I am abandoned very educated female who grew up in rural America with an very diverse family with jews, lbgt, Hispanics and black…I find your article completely arrogant. I prayed for clarity on voting. Realizing throughout their is election cycle that Hillary COMMITTED crimes against sooooo many. So many. And I have never heard anything word from Trump on LBGT. It was not an Christian Trumper who shoot up and gsy nightclub. Get your facts straight pls.

    • DeBeans, thanks for your comment. You’re welcome here even if you disagree of course. I want to learn. I’m still trying to make sense of what happened so your insights are helpful. Thanks

    • DeBeans Trump used to support LGBT, but now opposes same-sex marriage. His running mate, Pence, has a strong anit-gay record, including advocating for tax dollars to be spent on “conversion therapy” that tries to change gay people to straight. Some of the Christians I know who voted for him are hoping he’ll appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn not only Roe V. Wade, but same sex marriage laws. Pence’s record as against LBGT is “facts” completely. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/mike-pence-record-reproductive-rights-lgbtq-refugees

  2. Keri, THANK YOU so much for your blog post today. You wrote what I am feeling. I have one comment regarding your friend’s assumption regarding white, rural, poor men – as shown on CBS during the election returns, the largest segment was white, non-college educated men. Not necessarily rural, or poor. I have a nephew who is in that segment. He has a good, blue-collar job, family, lives in the suburbs, has a home on a good sized lot. Not rural, nor poor. He also admits he leans to the ultra-right politically as an Evangelical Christian. But what he feels is his white privilege slipping away. And even though he can’t verbalize that and is in denial when I’ve tried to help him see that, his comments, conversations, and fear all reveal that. That’s who the main segment is. But not to get lost in those details, you are right in that we still need to show Jesus’ love him, and those like him.

    • That’s great feedback. I think the rural poor mostly voted for trump, but obviously other people like your nephew did also. Just as I’m a white evangelical who did not support trump, neither did all rural poor. I live your insight “what he feels is his white privilege slipping away.” I may try to revise the post as we have conversation today, so I appreciate all comments

  3. Keri,

    Thank you SO very much for this article. You wrote everything I have been feeling for the past few days. Since the election. A few years ago, I was compelled to leave my longtime church when misogyny was unmasked, and I’m still being healed from that, so the misogyny from Trump and his election just sent such a discouraging and disturbing message to me, and to women everywhere. Now that I have read your article I can feel healing beginning to take place. I wish you could email the article to me, I would like to print it, frame it, and refer to it again. Thank you!

  4. Hi Keri, loved the last part of your post, and of course love MLK. However, your opening paragraphs sound like they were written by a different person! Everyone knows Trump is not perfect, but the generalizations are extreme and inaccurate. Also, it does sound arrogant to call half the population misguided because their values differ from yours. Obviously, both presidential candidates had major flaws, and one of them was going to win the election. Once a candidate has won, continuing to magnify their flaws does much more harm than good, in my opinion. God is in control, so we don’t need to worry about the things we can’t change. The thing is, God also loves Donald Trump – we need to show mercy and grace, respect the laws of our land, and give those in authority the respect they deserve. God will be the ultimate judge, but our job on Earth is NOT to judge, but to love, even the unlovable. If we’re not doing this, we look like hypocrites, as the hate in our hearts is made visible to all. There’s more to Donald Trump than the labels people are giving him – like Hillary herself said – he deserves a chance. It’s super hard for me, but I’m really trying to live by the ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say…’. I’ll challenge you to the same, friend!

    • Carmen, thanks for your thoughts. I realize both candidates were flawed. However, the bullying that has been unleashed today is frightening.
      Also, half the population did not vote for Trump, or for Clinton. Approximately 49 percent of eligible voters either chose not to vote, or voted third party. So about a quarter of eligible voters voted for each of the two major candidates. And many people choose not to even register.
      Also, when we say “God is in control, so we don’t need to worry about the things we can’t change” I think we do need to realize that we need to try to change things. God didn’t put trump in office any more than God built the golden calf for the Israelites. And now, people of color, women, LGBT people are being viciously bullied. I’ll post some links tomorrow. So the pint of my post is not to criticize Trump but to call those who are shocked and saddened by his election to take loving action to fight the rising swell of violence that is now going on.
      I appreciate your willingness to engage in conversation and wrestle with these questions. L

      • We must get our news from different outlets, because I have not seen any reliable sources showing the vicious bullying of any of those groups. I have seen video of a ‘Trump Supporter’ being pulled out of his car and beat up – but I am not giving it much credibility, as it is a single incident done by a few crazy people. The fear mongers are definitely out in droves.
        I think we need to be careful about generalizing any group of people – including Trump supporters. Would anyone ever say the “uneducated” minority voters voted for Clinton? No, because it is insulting. I also don’t like ascribing motives to people, such as “he was afraid he would lose his white privilege”. Unless someone actually said that, it’s an odd assumption. As a mother of two white sons, I know they do have privilege coming from a two parent family, with enough food, shelter, money, and love. However, if it did, the world no longer affords them any extra privileges. I actually see reverse discrimination (through affirmative action, ‘white-free zones’, etc.). The way I see it, racism is racism, and it should never be condoned, even against whites. But that’s another conversation.

        • Carmen, the world gives your sons a ton of extra privileges, which you’ve actually named: food, shelter, a loving family, money. Those, by definition, are privileges. They don’t get pulled over by police simply because of the color of their skin. that’s a privilege. Also, I saw the people beating up a man for being a Trump supporter and I’m horrified by that as well. But read through this Twitter feed of incidents, reported by the people who experienced them: https://twitter.com/i/moments/796417517157830656 this is not from “the media” but people responding to a call for their stories. Please read it, I’d love to know your thoughts. Thanks for joining the conversation.

          • Hi Keri,
            These incidents are all very sad, and done by people who obviously have some serious problems. What causes bullies to act this way? I’m not sure, but I think it is possible they are using some misguided soundbites of Donald Trump’s as a license for their behavior. They also have probably not been raised quite right. Also, I think division and resentments between races (and sexes) have been building up in recent years due to many issues besides the election: BLM (and the president’s blind support of it vs police officers), affirmative action (aka reverse discrimination) as it gets harder to get jobs and a good education, ‘safe ‘white free’ zones’, terrorism, sanctuary cities, illegal immigration, ‘rape culture’, to name a few. I even get a little bugged that there are so many cool science camps that my kids would love that are ‘girls only’. However, none of those are excuses for the bullying, on any side. The only person I can control is me (and sometimes not very well). I think as Christians we need to watch our words and actions even more carefully than others, because to others, we may represent God. Of course, this is impossible to do without the Holy Spirit’s help. Our human inclination is to bristle when we (or those we love) are offended, to resent, to blame, and to get revenge. This is not helpful! It will be God’s job to judge each heart – I think our job here is merely to show love – to all – even the bullies. Let no unkind word … focus on those things that are wholesome and good … live with gratitude… Be the light in the darkness, and offer hope for those who are hopeless. I think God wants to use you, Keri. You have a lot of women looking to you for leadership. However, he can’t use you if you are filled with anger. I have found in my own life, and in studying the bible, that anger = spiritual death. We need to let go of the anger, in order to deliver God’s love. I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to learn lately. All the best to you! Carmen

            PS – some other practical things:
            1. write our representatives – or even write Donald Trump about what you want to see
            2. model respectful behavior, and don’t accept racist, hurtful, negative behavior around you.
            3. Really listen and try to understand and empathize with people who think differently than you. Look for common ground, or common goals.
            4. Get your news from a variety of sources.
            5. Don’t expect others to be your children’s teacher and example – talk about what they see – the good, the bad, and the consequences.

            Thanks for inviting the discussion, Keri! I think I’m done. Good night!

          • Thank you, Carmen. I think you’re so right about this: people are “using some misguided soundbites of Donald Trump’s as a license for their behavior.” And I agree with your practical tips. Thank you!

  5. Keri, I think you’re one of the most dangerous people I share a country with.

    You spew MSM talking points well and are obviously a Clinton supporter.

    I won’t get into the ‘back and forth’ of Trump vs Clinton with you but, I’ll point out that you have not compared them equally. You couldn’t have. I’ve been watching the Clintons since my middle school days when Bill was impeached.

    I am an educated independent, millennial, Christian, female, mother, business owner, teacher, professional artist and Nativery American.
    … I voted AGAINST Clinton by voting for Trump.

    I don’t approve of racism in any form and you my friend, are espousing racist rhetoric
    with all your ‘privileged talk'(It literally turns my stomach.)

    Please don’t reply, I won’t be back to this page or the page I came from to get here (Christianity Today.)

    • Giselle,
      Thanks for your comment. It’s interesting that you don’t want to dialog about this, you just want to lob in some insults. I had two children of my own by the time Bill Clinton was impeached, so I’ve been watching our national politics unfold for quite a while as well. (Um, also, Bill was not running in this election.) I stand by what I posted a few months ago, and you’re free to disagree. I’m still deeply concerned about our country and its future. The President-elect chooses not to listen to intelligence briefings, fires off middle of the night Tweets any time anyone even moderately criticizes him, and openly praises Vladimir Putin. This alarms me. Hate crimes have continued to increase, the divisiveness continues. See http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/nyregion/hate-crimes-are-on-the-rise-in-new-york-city.html?_r=0 I plan to keep talking about it. You’re free to join the discussion or not. Thanks for your input.

  6. Thanks for being transparent and open Keri. It helps to hear your voice.

  7. I would like to comment about the comment above about “white privilege”… however; as a diversity trainer and an African american I would like to say I have never in my 49 years had “privilege ” by color, but I’m doing alright by the grace of God and my education and I live a righteous life. I am not afraid of losing any of that, nor do I believe I will lose it because a certain president is in charge. I know whose report I shall believe, and I shall believe the report of the Lord! Amen.

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