Thank you, Donald Trump!
Throughout your career as a businessman, entertainer, and now, a public servant, you have shown an aptitude (that means gift) for communicating in clear, concise (that means short, to the point) ways that cause a reaction. It’s why you are so amazing at Twitter, a platform known for its ability to bring people together (that was sarcasm).
Today I am grateful for the reminder (unintended perhaps) your presidency provides that there is, was, and always will be two Christianities. Is this an oversimplification? Perhaps, but in your honor as commander in chief, I’m going to keep it simple. No need to dig deep into Christological distinctives (that means different opinions about who Jesus was) or denominational preferences. Most are hardly worth interrupting your “executive time.”
Simply put, there is a Christianity enamored by worldly power, and a Christianity that remembers that that same power put Jesus on the cross.
The first Christianity, despite its protestations and pretenses to the contrary, chases this worldly power. It lifts up its numbers, builds glorious stadiums, and throws it political weight around. It sees success as a sign of God’s blessing and poverty as evidence of some misdoing (a hidden sin or laziness). This Christianity, Mr. President, first rose to compromised power with Constantine the Great but, as you know, it is alive and well today.
The second Christianity is inherently suspicious of worldly power. It remembers the many times, throughout the Church’s history, where her Saint’s blood has flowed in the streets. It hasn’t forgotten what worldly power did to Jesus, Paul or Peter, Ignatius, Joan of Arc, Thomas More, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Óscar Romero, or Martin Luther King, Jr. among many, many others. I’m sure you learned about many of these people, Mr. President, when you attended the “best colleges, or college.”
On behalf of the many people who consider themselves Christian, Mr. President, I hope you’ll hear this confession. We have not always, with our whole hearts anyway, declared our loyalty to one Christianity (or kin(g)dom) over the other. While not all of us spend our days tickling your ears with complements about the size of your nuclear button, even those of us who affiliate with the second Christianity respond in ways, to the power you wield, that must be confusing. Just as your sycophant (that means suck-up) religious advisors might feel a twinge of guilt when you tweet something sensationally crude about Crooked Hillary or Sloppy Steve, we sometimes care too much about the powers that be as well.
As you were running for President, James Dobson, one of your close religious confidants gave us all insight to belay any worries we had about your past moral shortcomings. Remembering his words that you were, and perhaps still are, “a baby Christian,” I offer this short edification (that means instruction).
At the end of the day, we all must decide, brother Donald, who we are. Are we the type of Christian who arrogantly brings Jesus to shithole countries (as you put it so “modern day” presidentially) to assuage (means to make one feel better) their collective guilt, or are we the Christian who knows that such countries are where we are most likely to encounter our Lord?
Let me conclude this letter to you with a lovely piece of Scripture written by the Apostle Paul to two Corinthians he met:
For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
Again, thank you President Trump for the reminder that Christians always have a choice regarding the Christianity they’ll choose and the power they recognize, one that is fleeting and one that is eternal.
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Photo Credit: Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead via Wikimedia Commons.