One of the things that’s been on my mind a lot lately is politics. This is not really normal for me, but it’s a weird time to be living in America. Really, it’s been pretty weird since about the end of 2015. Anyway, I was tempted to sort of rant… The thing that’s making me the most batty is the way the evangelical church at large has been standing behind a man who represents everything broken in this world: rape and racism, narcissism and lies, ego and destruction of the least of these. He fails to own faults but never ever fails to own wins (even when they aren’t wins, or they are, but not his.)
I hate that, because I believe the Bible and love Jesus, people can assume I voted for and will steadfastly defend the indefensible actions of a man who clearly needs (but does not want) Him.
But you don’t have to look very far back in the archives know this. I don’t need to preach at you about how wrong, maddening, and exhausting the whole situation is.
And really, there are enough people doing that. Probably not enough in the American evangelical church, but enough. Also, talking about it, reading about it, is exhausting beyond measure. So instead of write all the frustration bubbling in me, I wonder: what do we need?
Whatever is true, noble, lovely, pure, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.
It’s a tall order when we have basically the opposite of that list making decisions on behalf of the nation, but I’m going to try.
True: God is in control. He is patient in ways I am not, but this is evidence of my lack of goodness, not His. America is not our great hope for the world and neither is Trump (or any other candidate, for that matter.) Jesus filled that slot a long time ago, and whatever happens here, He remains the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Noble: There are groups all over providing help to Syrian refugees, legal aid to people fleeing terror who have landed at our southern border, food to people who are hungry in my town and yours. Some of them you’ve heard of. I want to introduce you to one you haven’t. Desanka is a ministry in North Carolina made up of ragamuffins who love Jesus and serve people. They go to festivals to set up, feed volunteers, and love and pray for people who would never in a million years set foot in church. “Noble” is defined “having or showing…high moral principles and ideals.” Spend a minute with nobility.
Lovely: Where to even begin? My initial response is to share some nature photos. Even though I cannot possibly do justice to the artistry, sometimes I can capture a breathtaking fraction. But all of this is just a reflection of the Creator who made it and the Father who loves us and made it lovely. Even more lovely is the Gospel: that God would use our sin to demonstrate His goodness by making a way home for us? Boggles my mind. And I’m way less capable of doing it justice than nature.
Pure: This one’s hard for me to point you to without pointing you to the only One who really is pure. But that’s a struggle with every word on the list, and I can’t just be like “True: Jesus. Noble: Jesus. Lovely: Jesus. Pure: Jesus. Excellent: Jesus. Praiseworthy: Jesus.” Seems like a cop-out. So I’ll leave you with this list of organizations providing clean (pure!) water to people who need it around the world.
Admirable: See above for the problem I’m having. This seems like a departure, but it’s a cool one: Simone Biles keeps finding innovative and unnecessarily complicated (but fun) ways to defy gravity:
Excellent: Andrew Peterson just released Adorning the Dark a week ago. My copy came last night. The stated goal is twofold: to make creators feel less alone as they battle all the crazy that happens internally when they make stuff and to shift our perspective slightly so we live more like inhabitants of the Kingdom, rather than people who dream of it. I haven’t read it yet, but I trust his writing enough to say I’m sure it’s excellent and encourages excellence.
Praiseworthy: I don’t feel like it’s lazy to point this one back to Jesus. And since I was just talking about Andrew Peterson, I’ll let his words do this job. I’d recommend you take the few minutes to watch, even if you know it well. Good for the soul.
So when politics are stressing you out, go ahead and educate yourself, have the conversations, donate, vote. But also, set your heart on things that are true, noble, lovely, pure, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy. It doesn’t fix the world instantly—just perspective. I’ll leave you with this quote from Madeline L’Engle from Walking on Water:
…I was frightened, and I tried to heal my fear with stories, stories which gave me courage, stories that affirmed that ultimately love is stronger than hate. If love is stronger than hate, then war is not all there is.
This post is part of my series, 31 days of speaking the truth. You can find the whole list of them here on the first post of the series.