It’s Time. Stand Up, Lead, and Fight!

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I’m not going to make any friends with this post, and in fact, I’ll probably lose a few. I have a question. Is this really over? Have you thrown in the towel on this election? Would you have ever guessed we would be sitting here with these two as our final choices? As I have researched and considered both candidates, I came across an idea from scripture and it could change EVERYTHING about what happens in November.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16

As an Evangelical here in America, this is a pretty high calling right now, isn’t it? In fact, I think this is the perfect time to be a follower of Jesus. I think our country needs us more than ever.

I could do it, you know. I could be part of the conservative voting block and say we need to stand behind Donald Trump. Or I could choose the edgy and hip Christian route and vote Democrat, because I’ve got a lot of edgy, hip people telling me life isn’t important enough and to vote for Mrs. Clinton. In fact, a Democratic SuperPac is shelling out millions upon millions to run a conservative campaign against Mr. Trump leveraging Mrs. Clinton as the candidate who most cares about life. It is a pretty good ad, actually, with a really good message. Am I a bit disenchanted with both of these options? You bet I am, and here’s why.

For all of the junk in the media you hear about Donald Trump, it’s often just a load of hogwash. My main issue with Mr. Trump becoming the President is he is an opportunist, not an idealist, and any outsider running for office needs to be more of the latter than the prior. In my opinion, an opportunist will leave us caught blowing in the wind. I’m not sure what tangibly Mr. Trump will be able to get done in the first four years, so his actual effectiveness might be the biggest issue. When Bill Clinton, another opportunist, was elected President in 1992, his Democratic Congress suddenly went whacko on him and for two years he was ineffective, so we replaced the Congress with Republicans and things began to get done. It will likely be worse for Mr. Trump because Congress already dislikes him. I don’t think our country can afford a brash leader right now, and let me also say how thankful I am for the class and poise of our current President. Regardless of how you may feel about his politics and ideals (I’m not a fan personally), he is absolutely respectful to everyone he speaks with. He never once has embarrassed us on a public stage. I appreciate this side of him.

Regarding Mrs. Clinton, I have to somewhat judge her by the sins of her husband in one respect. The last Clinton White House turned us into a joke internationally, with scandal after scandal, including a sitting President committing perjury. She is often abrasive and more of a divider than any candidate I’ve ever seen, outside of Donald Trump! What an election! Anyway, the biggest issue with Mrs. Clinton is she is absolutely pro-choice and has been in cahoots with Planned Parenthood since she could spell Chelsea. She is the antithesis of pro-life, and I don’t trust anyone who would support the genocide of unborn children. She also failed badly with her Healthcare Plan when Bill first took office, and since we need a new National Health Care Plan, we are basically up a creek. Sure, she has grown as a politician, but we all know what we are getting with the former First Lady, and I can’t imagine what Planned Parenthood will look like in four years with Hillary Clinton as President. I also think twenty-four years as a Washington insider is plenty. We need new ideas and a change in culture, and she gives us neither. Trump is the candidate of ideas, but frankly he isn’t the guy for me.

I haven’t, however, given up hope. My top choice when all of this began was Ben Carson, but he lost his tiny lead over Trump in October and went straight downhill from there. We can talk about Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Candidate, who is pro-choice, yet fiscally responsible. I’d be far more interested in a pro-life candidate who passionately wants to help the poor, protect our country, and bring us some pretty great new ideas to move us forward. Instead, I’m left scratching my head.

Neither Donald nor Hillary is my ideal, especially given some of my studies throughout the Old Testament. Any citizen of this great country would want America to prosper and to be a blessed Nation. As a follower of Jesus, I know God honored Israel when they followed him closely, and when their leaders were passionate about their love for God. When David was King, Israel had God’s blessing upon them and they entered a time of victory in war and plenty in resources. Its people were well cared for by God, and much of this had to do with their leader. Question: would you prefer a President who gets humbly on his knees before the one true God daily and asks him to bless this nation and to help us love him and each other? Or do you want someone who is going to rely on themselves and their cabinet to be successful? Isn’t that we we’ve been doing anyway? Haven’t we already gone down this road?

So, where do we go from here? As Evangelicals, we have a calling on each of our lives –

Matthew 5:16 says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

How do we let our lights shine in a tough time in our country?  How could this work? I mean, seriously? The truth is I’m just some guy in Brentwood, New Hampshire who wrote a book and has some ideas. What can I do? How can I change the course of the 2016 Presidential Election? Isn’t it already too late? No. It’s not, and here’s why.

On June 21st five hundred Evangelical Leaders will be meeting with Donald Trump in New York. Obviously, they are being brought in to get their vote. In 2004 Karl Rove basically won the election for George Bush over John Kerry by uniting the churches and getting them a) scared of Kerry as an elitist and liberal and b) to vote for their current President because they could relate to his values. It worked and was a massive shock to all of the networks, so much so that even Fox News had to change their graphic at the last second to announce Bush not Kerry as POTUS.

These five hundred Evangelical Leaders need to make a decision, and they need to do it in New York. They need to stay in the room and get on the phone until they have their candidate. They need to get confirmation he is all in and will go for it. The Evangelical Leaders then create a new party, hire the best in the business to run the campaign and then they get to work. How does this group of leaders make it happen?

First, they bring in the best to run his campaign. I’d get Karl Rove and a Newt Gingrich out of mothballs, but I’d find a campaign manager without such long term ties to the Republicans.  We need a maverick in the true sense of the word, someone incredibly smart who is one step ahead of everyone else. I don’t have a name right now, but I will honestly look and see who the best might be.

The five hundred Evangelical leaders need to get work, which starts with support from other leaders they’re connected with, their respective ministries, and they need to be fast and effective. There is almost no chance to get the candidate on all of the ballots, so America will need to prepare for their first write in candidate, which in this day and age should actually work. Still, they would have to get an army of lawyers ready to get them on the ballot in each state if it is at all possible. Regardless, with the Evangelicals united, the next step is to build the social media campaign and do it better than anyone else has done it before. First, you appoint state leaders, next the county leaders, then neighborhood leaders and create a true workflow through social media accounts. Work between Youtube, FB, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and get the word out asap. The campaign manager and his staff create logos, updates, and each state leader reworks them to fit in the best within their culture. I’ve lived in these places, so trust me the message you send to Brentwood, New Hampshire is different than what you send to Jackson, Tennessee, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They would use their voices in social media to supply the most energetic and optimistic posts possible. Don’t we often get our news through social media anyway? Why not use this to leverage the campaign of the candidate?

Everything about the campaign is grass roots. Everything. It’s neighbors talking to neighbors, creating community service days sponsored by the local campaigns, going door-to-door and inviting people into your homes and sharing with them the hope God gives us, and how we think he has a better plan for this country than the two choices we have. It’s about optimism, listening, and providing a candidate for our country who represents the best in America!

Wait. If a church or ministry gets involved in the election, it’s a huge problem, right? They could lose their tax exempt status, and this is the exact thing Samuel the prophet was concerned about when he first named King Saul and then King David, the first two Kings of Israel. As God pointed out the specific need to Samuel and what he should do, he responded by complaining about the tax laws, fretting about money, answering first to the IRS, then to popular opinion, and of course, to how folks felt about him on social media. Isn’t that the story? Of course it’s not the story! Today we need to become a nation that gets on its knees before the one, true God, but if our Evangelical Leaders are going to back down, then how exactly is this going to happen? Who will lead us and who will influence a nation to find us a leader who will be on their knees before God, so we may be a blessed country once again?

God can do anything, and we want him to bless our nation. A humble, kind, brilliant and strong leader we can be proud of is not beyond what God can do, is it? Or did we give up somewhere along the way? Did we get lost in all of the rhetoric and just bow out. I say we stand up and do something. I say the Evangelicals unite to provide this country with another option, and I say we do it now.

Your job is to let your light shine, right? Isn’t this our commission, under the love and grace of Jesus? Aren’t we ambassadors of hope? If we truly love America and love its people, then Evangelicals will unite, lead and fight for our country to have the leader we deserve.

Why Evangelicals Should Vote for Donald Trump

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Is he the next Ronald Reagan, and we just didn’t see it? What kind of thoughts go through your head when you see Donald Trump holding the Bible? Is this man truly fit to be our next President, and if so, why? Why is a pretty big question when it comes to understanding the reasons why Evangelicals should vote for Donald Trump. To backtrack briefly, this all started a little shocking, and frankly kind of weird. I didn’t understand why The Gospel Coalition blog writers were suddenly telling us who to vote for. Isn’t their purpose to promote the Gospel of Jesus, not the Candidate for POTUS? It completely rubbed my rhubarb! I wasn’t shocked it was a Democrat. I was shocked because this organization doesn’t need to enter the divisive world of American politics in the 21st century. They have, however, and they jumped in with both feet.

Honestly, maybe it helped me as a lifelong Republican to be a little startled by harshness shown towards Donald Trump from this massive ministry, which sees about 65 million hits a year on their website. I actually haven’t made up my mind who I am going to vote for this fall. Yes, on a couple of occasions in the past I have voted for a Democrat, but far more often I’ve voted the Republican ticket. This year, however, everything is different. As I stated in my previous post, Why Evangelicals Should Vote for Hilary Clinton, we have a candidate with phenomenal experience, and an arsenal of people around her to pull from, including her husband, a former President of eight years. It is an incredibly difficult choice this fall. In light of this, welcome to Part 2 (of 3) of this political series, entitled Why Evangelicals Should Vote for Donald Trump. I hope this proves to be an enlightening, convicting and informative read.

First, let’s get to the obvious number one reason to vote for Donald Trump – we need CHANGE in Washington! Nothing is more important than fixing the disaster our politicians have created. Here’s a staggering number to chew on; 78% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, while 50% disapprove of the sitting President. We are not only a nation divided, we are a nation convinced our Congress is doing a horrible job, and it’s not exactly a win if half of America doesn’t approve of the President’s efforts. Instead of electing someone who has spent the past two decades in Washington, it’s time to look for a leader who brings new ideas and a new agenda to the table. This is by far the top reason to give Mr. Trump a chance, because maybe for the first time in American history, change for the sake of change might just be good enough. Our overall disapproval and distrust for our political leaders will be nearly impossible to change, unless we elect a complete outsider. Mr. Trump is an outsider, and he is one who won’t bow to special interests groups. Is it in America’s best interest to move on and get a new perspective in the White House? In the scriptures, we see King David’s passion for building the temple. As much as this was the desire of his heart, God selected King Solomon to do this, because David’s time serving the Lord was over.  God had a new man for the job. In America, it is time for the old regime of politics to move on, to enable a new type of President to create something better than we have today. Evangelicals are seeing our rights float away by the second, and this is exactly why we need a change. If things remain as they are, there will be no going back.

Second, Donald Trump is a brilliant businessman, but let’s get right to the nitty-gritty of it. According to The Millionaire Next Door the average millionaire goes bankrupt roughly 4 times. Pause on this for just a second. The number one complaint we hear about Trump when he talks about the economy is that four of his companies went bankrupt. Sure, Democrats and the media will relentlessly point out that some of his business ventures didn’t pan out, but with a net worth of 4.5 billion dollars, he has obviously been far more successful than not. He is and always has been a risk taker, and to fix the economy once and for all, we need someone who has some guts. The media and Democrats can talk all they want, but the man is brilliant and has all the tools to create a new and robust economy in America. He’s already recruited brilliant minds, such as Steven Mnuchin as his Finance Chairman and my personal friend Dean Parker, who was Ben Carson’s Finance Chief. Both of these men have the entrepreneurial skills, financial experience and leadership this country desperately needs. Trump will have zero problems getting the best minds in the nation on board to fix the overspending and lack of budgeting our politicians continue to turn out year after year after year. When the economy is strong, everything else gets so much better. Those with the greatest God-given gifts will be in place to help us show some discipline, while creating new income.

Third, imagine you’re on a base in Iraq that has been under attack on and off for years. Everywhere you look are worn out, discouraged and injured military men and women. Morale is beyond low. Suddenly, word comes in that the new Commander in Chief is on their way now to visit them. I have a question. When the President of the United States walks into the room to look in the eyes of beleaguered military men and women, who do they want it to be? Who would rally the troops? Who would the troops believe would rain terror on the terrorists unabashedly and put fear into their hearts like never before? Who is the POTUS who can bring them the best resources, including opportunities for them to provide for their families when they get home? With an approval rating among the military almost doubling that of Hilary Clinton, Trump has their vote and won’t lose it. Donald Trump will be aggressive with the terrorists, while building a strong sense of safety here at home. We have to take our national security more seriously. If you don’t believe this is important to God, you must have skipped the Old Testament.

Fourth, as much as he talks, Donald Trump will listen, because frankly, he will have to. He will do what any good businessman does, which is to surround himself with the best and brightest on his cabinet. I am quite confident, as I mentioned earlier, a Trump Presidency will place some of the greatest minds in our country together to start making decisions and get us on the right track. Trump will utilize every resource available to him. He also won’t want to make mistakes, so as POTUS I’m convinced we will see a much more humble and focused Trump. He will be big on execution, and getting the most gifted hands working in the right places for our government. The Bible explicitly talks about our spiritual gifts and the importance of using them. Will we be like the servants who doubled their talents, or will we go bury them in the sand? There’s been too much burying in America, and it’s time to dig them up and get to work. A Trump Presidency gets people working and moving.

Fifth, what the world thinks of Donald Trump isn’t as important as the media wants you to believe. Bill Clinton was mocked all over the world for the Lewinsky scandal, in case folks forgot. That scandal made a global joke of American politics for over a year and was the beginning of our downfall from a world-wide perspective. Globally, the murder of innocents has run amuck and obeying the scriptures isn’t an international priority, so do we really want to base our vote on what the rest of the world wants us to do? Is there any chance they are concerned because they are merely uncomfortable with Donald Trump? Terrorists absolutely don’t want him to get elected for obvious reasons. He would be a powerful force in the UN.

Sixth, on June 21st Donald Trump is meeting in New York with five hundred Christian leaders from across the country. He wants to hear what they have to say and what their objectives are. This is unheard of, and at no time has any other candidate asked to meet with so many different Christian leaders. We have his ear, and if he is elected, we will very likely continue to have it in the future. Until we hear more about this meeting, we have to assume Mr. Trump wants not only to get the Evangelicals support, but also get working on their agenda. We need more interaction between the government and faith based organizations, and this could provide an amazing start.

Seventh, and finally, a few years ago Mr. Trump changed his view and is pro-life. Just like Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. before him, Donald was pro-choice for most of his life, but has now had a change of view, and rightly so. Reagan’s and Bush’s sincerity in this change of position was questioned. If you read the quotes in context from interviews he has done, Mr. Trump makes a compelling case for his position and gives Evangelicals the best shot of putting an end to the genocide of unborn babies. He will likely put together a task force to deal with Planned Parenthood, the leading organization providing abortions in America, and then hopefully create a plan to end abortion once and for all and create new alternatives for women. It’s our job as Christians to be optimistic about the work God is doing in the lives of other Evangelicals, which Donald claims to be. Would you rather choose an openly pro-choice candidate who has nothing but a history of supporting Planned Parenthood, or would you support a candidate who is pro-life? For more, here is link to some statements Donald Trump has made regarding his pro-life stance. http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Donald_Trump_Abortion.htm

Finally, let me send a blunt message to the Evangelicals reading this. It isn’t your job to question whether or not Mr. Trump, or anyone for that matter, is a Christian. Mr. Trump says he is and we as Christians need to be supportive and encouraging to anyone who claims to love, know, and obey Jesus. Haven’t we seen ministers and elders we’ve respected have anger problems, commit adultery, cheat people out of money, speak inappropriately or gossip? Before we start throwing a bunch of stones at Donald Trump, let’s make sure Jesus wouldn’t walk up, draw a line in the sand, and ask us about our sin. I would encourage caution here. It’s okay to address a sin as the Gospels state, but it’s not okay to slander someone or doubt the work of the Holy Spirit.

My final installment in this series will post Saturday morning. It’s titled “Why Evangelicals Should Vote for (blank)!”

Why Evangelicals Should Vote for Hilary Clinton

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Over the past week, The Gospel Coalition has received criticism for a post gone viral about why Evangelical Leaders should encourage their followers to vote for Hilary Clinton. Most of the points, however, were more anti-Trump than anything else. They were also a bit mean-spirited and written by a lifelong Democrat, who said he had recently become a Republican, but decided he was voting for Hilary Clinton. Okay. Anyway, a firestorm of responses ensued, most of which are smartly written with solid arguments. The mistake made by The Gospel Coalition was producing a post that never made a truly compelling case as to why Evangelicals should vote for Hilary Clinton as the next POTUS, when the title of the post said it would. Over the next several days, I will write three posts, in light of this void.

Let’s begin our journey with seven important reasons Evangelicals should consider voting for Hilary Clinton in November. In my next post, I will make the same case for Donald Trump. The final post will be a little more interesting. I will attempt to make the case for a third party candidate and the responsibility of Evangelicals leading and uniting our communities in providing that candidate. As a voter who is traditionally a Republican, I find it quite amazing how undecided I actually am. My research and this work will be as much for me as anyone else. With that being said, let’s take a look at why Evangelicals should vote for Hilary Clinton.

First, her experience is second to none. She will be almost impossible to catch off guard, due to one of the most impressive resumes of any candidate we’ve seen. As the former First Lady, the United States Senator from New York, and the Secretary of State, there is almost nothing she won’t be ready for. We NEED our President to be ready! Don’t underestimate her experience just because First Lady isn’t an elected position. Residing eight years in the White House, she knows the in’s and out’s necessary for a smooth transition. She is familiar with heads of state and foreign leaders, cultural practices all over the world, the daily demands required of the office, and all the little things we never see or hear. She was extremely active as a US Senator and had an energized following in NY. Regardless of her performance or how you feel about the work she actually did, her experience is excellent and there probably isn’t a more qualified candidate from the perspective of a resume. From a biblical perspective, David, usually considered Israel’s greatest King, was a seasoned leader before taking over. It was many years after the defeat of Goliath and having slayed his “tens of thousands” that David actually became King. In fact, in one of David’s first moments as King he demonstrated his maturity by mourning the death of King Saul, which provided the void for David to fill. Without seasoning, David would not have been able to handle this transition. Experience is often what God uses to prepare us to lead his people.

Second, she is well-respected throughout the world. There will be little to no drama in dealings with the UN, European Leaders, even though her popularity is less than that of the current President. She has solid relationships with heads of state, as I mentioned before. With Bill by her side, she should have power and respect as we work with our allies and pursue terrorists. For Christians, her international relationships could possibly open more doors to Americans throughout the world, which means this could create opportunities to share the gospel in places we’ve never been able to get into before. Even though she would likely do nothing to help missions in our world, we need the doors to be wide open and out of all of the candidates, she is our best hope.

Third, she has Bill. No President before her could point to their spouse, say “We make a great team!”, and actually have a lot of clout in the argument. Everyone else is more lip service. She’s legit. Bill, once a professed Southern Baptist, is still incredibly popular in many Christian circles. One of my former pastors used to meet with him on a regular basis as his spiritual mentor. From everything I’ve seen I believe Bill is a Christian, and a revival in his heart could mean everything to our country. Despite some of the choices he has made, there is a solid theological foundation there, which is encouraging. If God moves in the heart of Bill, Hilary might also submit to God’s authority in her life, and then all bets are off and it’s a whole new game!

Fourth, she would be our first female President. When I think of powerful female leaders in the bible, I think of the wise and incredibly courageous Deborah, who intimidated armies of men. I also think of the brave and resolute Esther, who stood up to the King, knowing she could be killed for what she did. If Mrs. Clinton chooses to follow their examples, the sky is the limit. There is unlimited potential for our country if Deborah and Esther become two of her role models.

Fifth, and this is a stretch, but even if her policies and actions make us more like the Israel in the desert building golden cows to worship, her Presidency could lead our country into a time of repentance, and if ANYTHING would bring God’s blessings upon the United States of America, it would be repentance. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “If my people who are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Sometimes electing a President and allowing someone into leadership who you disagree with and who would not apparently submit to the One, True God, is the precursor to moving a nation into a time of struggle and mourning, and then into a time of repentance. If America becomes a country with a repentant heart and humble spirit, God will be doing some seriously amazing things in and all around us. This might be more applicable for those who are choosing to not vote, and if you do I want to tell you it’s okay. Voting isn’t a requirement, though scripturally we are absolutely urged to be involved with our communities. If you are in prayer, and are led to vote for Hilary, or cast no vote, who are we to argue with what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life? But please, please, please vote!

Sixth, my number one issue is life, and yours should be, too. All lives matter. Between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton we do not have a staunch pro-life candidate who will put their foot down and end abortion. Mr. Trump may state he is pro-life, but I don’t have a massive vibe that abortion is going to be put back into Hell where it belongs anytime soon. If this is the case and neither candidate from the parties will change anything about abortion in our country, does it make Hilary any different from this perspective than Donald? The personal beliefs we each hold are one thing, but if Donald Trump isn’t willing to outlaw this barbaric practice, than what are his actual beliefs? We don’t have a clean cut case for the Republican Nominee being pro-life as we have had in the past, and frankly, where has that gotten us? If this is the case, and it appears to be, I’m not sure the voting for life is as relevant as it has been in past elections.

Seventh and finally, she is not the staunch liberal many have portrayed her to be. Yes, she is more liberal than Bill ever was, yet less than our current President. According to the votes cast while she was a US Senator, along with compilation of online studies based on her overall work in politics, Hilary Clinton is a more moderate, slightly left-leaning Democrat. This is not a thumbs up for her work as the Senator from New York, but when terrorists attacked or the economy needed everybody to get involved, there were times she was in line with the Republicans. This could create some opportunities for the Republicans in Congress to work with her and to unite the country. Of course, if it is united in a way that leads us away from obedience to God, it would better if she was in a street fight with congress for the next four years.

Which of these points is the most important to you in this upcoming election? I have a few at the top of my list, and as my research continues, I will keep you apprised of my findings as I go. There are some compelling reasons to consider voting for Hilary Clinton on her own merits, and not just because we are afraid of what Donald Trump might bring to the table. In that light, tomorrow I will share with you my reasons why Evangelicals should consider electing Donald Trump as their next President.

May God bring us peace and unity as a country seeking his will as we prepare to vote for our next President. This isn’t an easy decision to make, but if we trust in the Lord and “lean not our own understanding” he will “complete a good work in us” and give us guidance this fall. Tomorrow, we talk Trump.

The Gospel Coalition vs Donald Trump

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To say I am disappointed in The Gospel Coalition is an understatement. Some of their recent blog posts directly contradict their purpose statement on their About page –

“We desire to champion the gospel of Jesus Christ with clarity, compassion, courage, and joy-gladly linking hearts with fellow believers across denominational, ethnic, and class lines.”

I’m struggling to find the courage and joy in the below statements from multiple articles posted on their blogs. Here are quotes pulled directly from the Gospel Coalition Blogs regarding the 2016 election –

  • “Trump may be an existential threat to the Republic.”
  • “Plenty of observers have noted Trump’s authoritarian rhetoric, his megalomania and narcissism, and the literal cult of personality he has built.”
  • “…if Trump turns out to be the “extinction-level event” that Sullivan predicts, and you fail to do everything in your power to stop him, then you will join a long line of evangelical leaders who have been on the wrong side of history – and judged harshly for it – at critical moments ranging from slavery to Jim Crow to abortion (in the early days of that debate). Your witness for Christ – our witness – will be diluted because we didn’t do everything we could to prevent this catastrophe. And there won’t be a next election to get it right.”
  • “Trump is a threat to the unity of the church.”
  • “All of this is to say nothing of Trump’s racism and misogyny.”
  • “Your actions to stop Trump should be so clear, so unequivocal, that you guarantee yourself a spot on Trump’s “enemies” list if he were to be elected president. Otherwise, the temptation to accommodate or to reconcile with a President Trump will be too strong for some of you in the aftermath of his election, and the church’s unity will suffer as a result.”
  • “Trump will do whatever is best for him, including appointing judges who help him overturn rather than protect the current constitutional order.”
  • A Vote to Check Unpredictable Evil (Trump) with the Predictable (Clinton)”
  • “Last night I tuned in to the Democratic primary debate between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. It’s the first Democratic debate I’ve watched during this election season. After watching a couple of big tent circus acts called the Republican debate, it was refreshing to actually see two accomplished leaders in our country spar over ideas.”

Yes, most of this is taken from Nick Rodriguez, a guest blogger, but not all of it. Mr. Rodriguez goes on tell us we as Christians should vote for Hilary Clinton. Obviously, this is an attempt to leverage the massive platform of TGC to solicit votes for the Former First Lady this November. It is also an attempt to be edgy and different and hip, which too often in our culture contributes to some of the new religious practices we don’t need in the church. TGC isn’t just being open and sharing another political view. They are railing against Donald Trump and have been for months now, and if you don’t believe me, just simply go to their website, use the search tool and type in Donald Trump’s name and hit enter. From there, you can peruse countless articles on the Republican candidate, almost all of which are negative. You can also do the same for Hilary Clinton. Not everything is roses for her, but it’s nothing like how they have slandered Donald Trump. Like I said, just search Donald Trump and read for yourself.

Why does any of this merit a response from me or anyone else you might ask? Aren’t evangelical leaders supposed to take a stand at some level and give us some insight as to how to navigate this fall’s election? There are so many issues and the candidates are probably more unique than we’ve ever experienced in history. We are looking at two of the most iconic figures in our world today, and both of them are too often vilified and hated, yes hated, more than any two politicians I’ve ever seen in my forty-four years. Die hard Republicans want Hilary Clinton to go to jail, while so many Democrats are creaming “The Sky is Falling” around the Donald all of the time. Fear Mongering for votes seems to be the number one strategy by both parties. My biggest issue with TGC is they should have absolutely no part in trashing people, regardless of how they feel about them.

They have compared Donald Trump to Hitler. Check it out for yourself. Just read the posts. They are actually comparing someone to a man who murdered more than six million Jews. This is what is okay apparently at The Gospel Coalition.

I have a question for you. If Donald Trump actually isn’t a Christian, as he says he is, how do you think these statements do as far as bringing him closer to Jesus? Do they reach out with humility and love? On June 21st Mr. Trump will be meeting with Evangelical Leaders from all over the nation. More than ever he will be exposed to Christians. Will articles like this encourage him or will he find it to be grievous?

More and more now we will begin to see fierce attacks from everyone who is anti-Trump, as billions of dollars will be spent to vilify the man. It will be a no-holds-barred brawl, and Trump, never one to back down from a fight, will come out swinging. His stick will be big, his rhetoric will be bigger, and he will be one tough dude to take down. In all likelihood, he will win the Presidency. Thanks to The Gospel Coalition, Mr. Trump will begin to get the sympathy vote, as Americans will begin to draw the line in what is and isn’t acceptable. He will get smarter handlers, and a very smart and likeable VP. If I were working for Mrs. Clinton, I would tell everyone to shut up and not say a word about him for awhile. Nothing. Silence. Let him dig his own holes, and constantly remind her voters they are too good to be throwing eggs at people. But, the truth is, she isn’t about to do that, is she? She’s going to allow the media and social media mood swings to dictate this election, while the attack dogs are behind the scenes twirling their mustaches and doing their thing. And all of us, including The Gospel Coalition, will be encouraged to lower our standards and join them in the slander.

I’m no political expert by any means, but I’ve been around the block a few times and think I can see how this all will play together in the end. I frankly am not thrilled by choosing between these candidates, and the candidate I really liked, the humble and incredibly intelligent Ben Carson, is long gone. I’m not pining over him, though. It simply was not God’s plan for him to be our leader this fall. With that being said, the point of this post isn’t about the candidates (are you still with me), but it’s about The Gospel Coalition slandering someone. I cry foul. I cry hogwash.

We, the Evangelical Americans, do not need your counsel or comment in how to vote in this upcoming election if it’s going to be like this. You call yourselves The GOSPEL Coalition, and again, from your “About” page “We desire to champion the gospel of Jesus Christ with clarity, compassion, courage, and joy-gladly linking hearts with fellow believers across denominational, ethnic, and class lines.” Those are some powerful words, to say the least. If you’re going to make statements regarding “championing the gospel of Jesus”, then articles slandering ANYONE have zero place on your blog. Don’t make excuses by telling us about all the contributors and bloggers you have and how it’s important for open dialogue within the evangelical community. We aren’t going to drink the Kool Aid there, either. It isn’t right to slander anyone, and I think you know this.

Jesus had a little to say about politics, but he had a lot to say about loving your enemy and doing good to those who hurt you. As a Christian who has been studying the life of Jesus for about forty years, I can rightly attest he was more concerned about honoring his Heavenly Father, salvation through grace, loving our enemies, and preaching the good news, than he was ever interested in getting mired in political debates. Jesus didn’t make this a priority, because Jesus was all about freedom, not pigeon-holing us into one political party. Did you follow me on this? There will be bible reading, Jesus loving Christians who vote for The Donald, and the same can be said for the former First Lady.

So, vote for whoever the Lord leads you to vote for. This isn’t a new concept. No, the sky is not falling. I’m taking a more optimistic approach to both candidates, and will simply pray about it, and make my decision when I feel like I’m ready to make my decision. If you vote for Trump, I think you’re awesome! If you vote for Hilary, I think you’re outstanding. Unlike The Gospel Coalition and the Democratic and Republican Parties, I choose to take an optimistic view into the election this fall, and will prayerfully support whoever is our new President. You and I have no clue what can or will happen over the next several years here in America, but I will state this one undeniable fact. Jesus is still in charge of this world, and the Kings, Queens and Presidents all answer to him. I’ll keep my hope in Jesus. Whatever happens this fall, we will all be just fine.

Comments are always welcome. Here are a few of the posts I was referring to –

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/thabitianyabwile/2016/06/02/evangelical-leaders-tell-us-to-vote-for-clinton/

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/gospeldrivenchurch/2016/06/03/politics-ought-nevertrump-principle/

 

A Christian’s Perspective on Gender Expression

IMG_1102I have two daughters, and maybe for me this is where it all begins. Ages ten and sixteen (her 17th birthday is Sunday!). I would like to believe there is potential for them to use a bathroom without any random man using the stall next to them, but I don’t know anymore. I am concerned we have an issue and it won’t get resolved for many years, and when it does, those who spoke harshly will wish they hadn’t, but those who said nothing might wish they had.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has studies stating 41% of transgender people commit suicide every year. Almost half. I can’t even wrap my head around this number. The gender identity and expression dialogue is erupting in our country, and it’s time to get engaged in heart-felt and intelligent discussions. Maybe it seems too extreme and foreign for us to grasp, and if we have never had any gender identity dilemma within ourselves, how can we truly understand the issue at hand? So, instead of forming a thought about it, we stick to our usual cultural coercion and follow the people we usually follow. This, however, is absolutely the worst approach a Christian could make on this issue.

As a Christian, your life’s calling is found in the words of Jesus Himself in Matthew 28:19-20 which says “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Before we dig into our commission as Christians, we need to make sure we have an educated platform to speak from. First, Gender Expression is the issue we are specifically dealing with here, and this is the manifestation of Gender Identity, meaning basically this is how a person views themselves as a gender. I express myself as a male, and have for my entire life. Almost all of you have a similar story, whether male or female, but it doesn’t we can’t engage in Gender Identity discussions. Again, 41% of Transgender people are killing themselves. We must get far better in dealing with this topic as Christians and a culture. In fact, we should be leading our culture in this discussion.

A new study is now linking a higher rate of multiple Sclerosis and those seeking Gender Transformation through medication. Granted, according to a 2011 study from the Williams Institute, only .3% of the US population identifies itself as being transgender, but these studies are difficult to conduct and the results can vary. The statistics behind the Trans community frankly are pretty bleak right now. The message of Jesus’ love and the hope anyone can find in him could not come at a better time.

First, as Christians we have nothing to fear in these conversations. We should embrace them openly and with love, and definitely not from a bully pulpit. Leave the discrimination to men like Eddie Vedder, the incredibly gifted lead singer of Pearl Jam, who is an amazing vocalist and lyricist, but who absolutely uses his influence negatively again and again. Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam made news this week because they have chosen not to sit down and have a discussion with the state of North Carolina, but to just refuse to hold a concert there because of the recent law passed stating individuals are to use public restrooms based upon birth gender and not gender identity. Whether or not you believe the litmus test is Gender Identity or Birth Gender, doesn’t give you the right to not offer your services. Eddie Vedder has done this type of thing before, and he continues to proclaim his message of intolerance over the years. His views on the Israeli and Palestinian are ill informed to say the least. By the way, Jeremy is one of my favorite songs of all time.

Sadly, right now this debate in the media is about being the loudest voice in the room, and it’s all about winning for far too many people. Many activists, like Eddie Vedder, are using transgender issues to promote their politics, sell concert tickets and to do interviews. They don’t seek to have thoughtful and engaging dialogues with those with opposing views, because they are determined they are the only ones who are right. They are determined to sway you through their own cleverly cloaked personal messages of intolerance, while never truly listening to another important perspective on the issue. Instead of engaging in unbiased studies and thoughtful debates, they look only to persuade you through the personas and platforms they’ve created. They don’t fear God, but only fear looking bad to the people who are buying their music or within the mainstream American culture.

If our commission as Christians is to make disciples, how does this work in tough and heated discussions like this? Here’s a list of a few things Christians can bring to the table in these discussions –

  1. Above all else, just sitting there quietly and giving someone the floor to express their views is incredibly important. Start by listening, because it will show you love and value the individual, even if you strongly disagree with everything they are saying.
  2. Lead with love. Tell those who oppose you God loves them and encourage them to seek their truth through the scriptures. Give them guidance if you can, and explain how God’s love has impacted your life. Be open and honest, but do it all with love.
  3. Do not lie or suddenly conform your thoughts just because the opposing view has great soundbites. God’s word is the ultimate authority and you, as a Christian, have a responsibility to teach those around in truth, not in fairy tales. Stick to what God’s word has taught you but do it in a way that helps you to…
  4. Tell everyone about Jesus. Share with those who oppose you about the love and purpose you have found in your relationship with God. You don’t have to agree with everyone to be friends, but your calling is to tell them the truth about the salvation you’ve found through Christ. Until they know Jesus, they won’t have the same Holy Spirit leading them through the scriptures and helping them embrace the truth. As a Christian your mission is the gospel first, and through God’s love and truths we can get to everything else.
  5. Be able to share thoughtful ideas in a debate or discussion. Don’t start googling things 3 minutes before engaging yourself in a discussion on Gender Identity and laws pertaining, because a lack of credibility will destroy your witness quicker than almost anything. Know what you are talking about, and study God’s word deeply.
  6. Pray for them and yourselves while in this discussion. Pray for them to embrace God’s love for them and to understand who Jesus is and could be in their lives.

These issues aren’t going away, and we, as Christians need to be leaders in these discussions, not weak and flailing activists void of love and new ideas. I am concerned about the direction our country is headed, but I am incredibly hopeful for what God has been doing. Don’t be afraid to stand up and engage in the discussions, but do so prayerfully and filled with God’s love. This is the starting point, and where we go from here is up to you.