We have to use all kinds of modifiers these days.
“White privileged middle class male.”
On and on I can go.
So when the word “evangelical” comes up, I have tried to stick to it, along with “Pentecostal”, because if someone needs to put me in a slot quickly, this might have helped.
No more. I am now “Christian.” I am now a “believer in Jesus Christ.” You want to dig into that more, you’re going to need to get to know me. And I will gladly take the opportunity to get to know you.
“Evangelical” has long been hijacked for political purposes and it seems in the coming days, it is about to be doused in the one I now call “The Orange Wonder.” Evangelical leaders are supposed to have a sit-down with Donald Trump.
This is a dangerous move and Michael Gerson does a marvelous job laying out precisely WHY that is a bad idea.
In legitimizing the presumptive Republican nominee, evangelicals are not merely accepting who he is; they are changing who they are. Trumpism, at its root, involves contempt for, and fear of, outsiders — refugees, undesirable migrants, Muslims, etc. By associating with this movement, evangelicals will bear, if not the mark of Cain, at least the mark of Trump.
As I have engaged others in this conversation lately, it is clear we, as American Christians,feel “stuck.” My contention is that we are not stuck at all. We have let our political leanings bring us to a point of weakness and it now time to actually BE the Church.
For so many Christians who have voted Republican so long and have latched so firmly to what conservatives would call “pro-life” the thought of allowing a Democrat and especially Hillary Clinton to be elected is far more abhorrent than voting for Donald Trump. (By the way, we’ve surrendered “pro-life” as well. How can we be “pro-life” only until birth? Not me. Not any more.) My contention is that we give up far too much of who we are in the public eye voting for Trump. We will REALLY be the group that is far more known for what we are AGAINST than what we are FOR.
But to be clear on my own stance: I am voting. Which way? Well, I’m going to work this one out but for now it is simply #NeverTrump.
And I am going to go beyond the voting booth, which is what “evangelicals” have not done well in the past. We have reduced ourselves to thinking we vote the right person in, then we get the “rights” we deserve, and all is good.
For me, I will continue to bless my city, work with politicians in office on issues that deeply concern me, and engage the conversation. There are tough conversations to be had, tough ideals to put forward in the public square, and there are times when things won’t go a “Christian” way. That is life, folks.
Moving forward I will lean more on the lessons of Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and Esther in Persia to train us as believers on how to walk with integrity and Kingdom goodness in this world. I do not wish to bow to political power or pressure any more.
I am not “evangelical.” I am Christian. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. You want to slot me further in your scheme of thinking? Well, I invite that conversation.