I think it’s time I put my cards on the table about an issue that is dividing the nation. It is about Donald Trump, so brace yourself.
This is not something that I would ever say from the pulpit. I believe that using the pulpit for partisan politics is an abuse of that sacred responsibility to preach the gospel.
My politics leans left although I reject the extremes of both the left and the right. So call me a moderate by choice, not by default. I have voted for Democrats and Republicans in my life time. And although I disagreed with many of the policies of George W. Bush, I never believed that he was an evil man. And I was outraged at the moral decay seen in the person of Bill Clinton.
But Trump is different. He has made me re-examine the gospel because I didn’t think my feelings about him were in sync with the Lord I follow.
So I am sorry in advance if I offend you. But this is really more about my own spiritual struggle than it is about politics.
Donald Trump pisses me off. I wish I had a more polite way of saying that, but it is the most accurate verb I could come up with. I know I am not alone in this feeling. Most of the time, I reject absolutes when it comes to human beings. It is rare that someone is totally good or totally evil. But Trump may be the exception.
He is narcissistic and ego maniacal. He lies habitually. He does not care about the planet or any of the people on it. He cares only about himself. He has cheated hard working people out of what he owes them. He demeans and insults people like a fifth grader. He is a serial abuser of women. He is a xenophobic racist who could not care less about the least of these our brothers and sisters. The list goes on. I cannot think of one positive thing to say about the man. He just pisses me off.
It feels good to say that. It feels righteous. Jesus got mad at people like Donald Trump in the Bible. He expressed anger at the Pharisees and the Chief Priests and the money changers in the Temple. If I could only stop there with those stories, I could revel in my anger at Trump.
But no; I had to go and read the thirteenth chapter of the gospel of John. Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. He was teaching them what love truly meant. He performed the lowliest and most disgusting task to teach them to love and honor each other.
I get that. But it is easy to forget that Judas Iscariot was on the ones who had his feel washed by Jesus that night. And it wasn’t like Jesus didn’t already know what Judas was planning. Jesus bends down and washes his feet. Every disciple, then and now is imperfect. None of them and none of us, including me are absolutely good. And even old Judas was not exempt from the loving service that Jesus rendered.
Then Jesus offers one of his most difficult challenges to all who would follow him. “You also should do as I have done to to you.”
And there I was enjoying my righteous judgment of Donald Trump. I was enjoying my wrath toward him. And Jesus had to go and spoil my fun. But Trump pisses me off Jesus! I disagree with almost every position he holds and every abuse of power he demonstrates his lack of caring with executive orders and proposed laws that will hurt and in some cases kill people; some of those people I know. He seems sometimes to be the model of exactly what Jesus would NOT want us to be.
Yet, there is Jesus with that dirty towel around his waist and that look in his eyes that say love is unconditional. Then he reminds me that everyone, EVERYONE is created in the image of God. And he asks me, “Would you wash Donald Trump’s feet?”
I don’t know how to answer that.