Trump, the Bible & Fear

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I’d like to write a catchy cutline here, but honestly, I don’t know what to say.

These are three thoughts, any of which could be a valid post on its own. Unfortunately, I’m already behind today, so I’m taking the quick route out.

With the current tone in the U.S. presidential election, I’m surprised the Bible hasn’t played a bigger role, but it makes the occasional appearance. Donald Trump showed us his childhood Bible in Iowa, and cited some key scripture from Two Corinthians at Liberty University when he picked up their endorsement.

Yesterday, there was a rift over what Marco Rubio may or may not have said about the Bible in passing to a Ted Cruz staffer who was looking at one.

Substantive stuff, all.

In the competitive race for who’s the “greater” Christian, which most of the country doesn’t give a rip about, here’s the thing about the Bible … and some who hold themselves up as the purest of the pure (which isn’t Christian BTW) get this VERY wrong:

The Bible was never intended to make another person feel bad, and it was certainly never intended as a tool for one person to shame another. Its message is grace, not disgrace. If you see someone citing a Bible verse in a way that ridicules another person’s actions, their faith is most likely at beginner’s level. It’s a beginner’s mistake, but it’s a mistake, and we shouldn’t do it.

The Bible was written as a simple tool: as a source of instruction for truth and growth, and as an encouragement to spread the good news of the gospel. It’s God’s written revelation of himself. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

As Christians (or those who still use that label) we can’t even agree about that. A growing number of Christians will tell you the Bible is, in several places, in error, fallible, wrong. They will tell you it doesn’t say what it says. That you can’t read it and understand it. I’m not in that camp. Count me as “all in” for biblical truth. Mark me down as pro-Bible.

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I heard a local friend on the radio this morning who was speaking about fear. He has a unique understanding  of the vested interests so many institutions have in herding us toward a fearful mentality, and he understands the world is a much better place than what we’re told.  He proposed an idea I really liked:

“What if faith, not fear, were our default reaction to the way we walk through life?”

It’s something good to think about.

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Finally, I’m not overly concerned about the route we’re taking to elect the next U.S., president, but it’s difficult for any of us to ignore. I think about it mostly in terms of what it means for my place in the world, how I work my way through that new world in doing what I’m called to do, and especially what it means for the future generations of my family. It’s really hard to imagine.

But coming to terms with a character as Trump portrays himself isn’t easy when you think that he may actually come to represent us all, by default or otherwise.

Something about our heritage has always encouraged us to bathe ourselves in the idea that we’re the greatest nation that leads the world, and that the world looks to us for great leadership.

I’m no longer sure about the first part, but the last part is true enough. The World is watching. We need to think about what we’re showing them.

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