I almost wrote an entirely different post. About why I could never acknowledge a Trump Presidency. I read something I wrote four years ago and reflected that if it was true then it must also be true today. A Trump Presidency will be at least four years in the wilderness. Like I encouraged all Americans to accept the first Black President. Like I would have encouraged all Americans to accept the first woman President. Like I could have grudgingly accepted a Marco Rubio or John Kasich. Like I could have acknowledged a Ted Cruz. I can recognize the Office of the Presidency when occupied by Donald Trump, while maintaining my right to condemn and criticize every step of the way.
There were those that never acknowledged Barack Obama as President and for that the country is weaker. Many would have felt the same way about Hillary Clinton. Elections roughly measure the will of the people. Donald Trump was apparently their will.
Trump as President is disturbing in so many ways. There is a process to change the result although it takes four years. It might take a generation to recover from his influence; and those waiting in the wings to implement their plans while Trump fiddles. I will acknowledge him while shining a light on the policies and their impact on the parts of America about which he cares little. I could go on but what I said four years ago speaks for itself:
MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM: THE ELECTION AND THE AFTERMATH
There is subject upon which I have not yet touched which is religion. It is not that I have no opinion; it simply wasn’t a factor in the choices I made during the election process. I’m hearing from several sources about people that have been unfriended and received hateful texts because of their support of Obama and his views on choice. The essence of the attack was questioning how they could be a Christian yet support someone who murders children, implying that Obama will go to hell and his supporters along with them.
In order to address this I have to provide some personal context. I grew up Christian in a Christian home and never spent years in the wilderness before recognizing Jesus as my personal savior but it was far more an evolution as opposed to a Paul on the road to Damascus moment where I was overwhelmed by the spirit. I remember standing up, walking down the aisle as a 5-year old and giving myself to the Lord. The night before my baptism I practiced submerging myself in the bathtub to make sure I didn’t embarrass myself as I had seen happen to a few others. When Dr. James Holloway of the Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis drew me backwards into the water, I felt the rush and the cold and then being immediately withdrawn. My white dress shirt was dripping and clinging and I was handed a towel and led to a place to dry off and change clothes. There was a sense of accomplishment yet I can’t point to any particular change in who I was post baptism from who I was the day before.
The more significant moment in my walk with Christ was the moment where it all made sense. I point to this as the most important moment in my spiritual life (I will get back to the election I promise) as I was able to put aside all my reservations and act on faith as opposed to any other motivation. The struggle I had always had internally stemmed from the fact that I considered myself a pretty smart guy. I don’t know how possible it is to combine being “severely” shy with a tremendous ego yet I submit myself as proof. My problem with Christianity is that so much of it didn’t make sense. Contradictory messages combined with some questionable messengers made it hard for me to go all in. Some people attend church for the Praise & Worship which indeed can be inspirational and certainly has its role but for me it was always the sermon. I would always listen intently, looking for that moment of clarity when it all made sense.
There came a time when I was living in Jacksonville, FL that I attended church intermittently at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church headed by Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr. He has now been joined by his son (Jr.) who is a gospel recording artist of some renown but on this date over twenty years ago it was Rudolph Sr., who preached the sermon titled “Mysterium Tremendum” that changed my life.
I could probably give you the play by play of the entire sermon and perhaps I will another day. Mysterium Tremendum is Latin for “tremendous mystery” and the basis of the sermon was that we as humans are incapable of comprehending God’s will and his ways. As an ant is unable to know and understand our ways, so are we that are beneath God to at least the same degree unable to divine God’s purposes in all that affects our lives. Bishop McKissick spoke directly to those “intellectuals” who foundered in inactivity as they tried to understand God’s plan. He couldn’t have expressed it in any way better to make me know this message was intended for me. He described true faith, the very essence of which meant that complete understanding was not required. He also said that nothing happens that is outside of God’s will. For those who cannot accept as to how God could allow the death of a beautiful young child or cause a storm that devastated a huge portion of a country? You may never know… Mysterium Tremendum! If you question how why one door was closed and another opened? Mysterium Tremendum! Why the relationship you desperately wanted to be successful failed leaving you miserable and (temporarily) dissatisfied? Mysterium Tremendum! I left that sermon with a new outlook on life and a new-found ability to get through any circumstance based on the knowledge (as opposed to hope) that it is all part of God’s plan and I have no need to spend any time on the stages of denial, anger, etc. and go right to acceptance because I already have a satisfactory answer; Mysterium Tremendum!
We come back to politics. People, with motives entirely their own have tried to persuade or dissuade others based sometimes on their honest convictions and other times motivated solely by their desire to achieve a political result. I have seen Fox News for example produce a panel of Black clergy who ask us not to blindly support the Democratic Party because their stances are “unholy” and outside of God’s will. Without condemning what could be the sincere belief of the speakers, I can also recognize the cynical motivations of those that provided the forum. I find the suggestion that Sean Hannity has only the best interest of Black people in mind while in the next breath he attacks Rev. Wright’s church and suggests the Black church itself has a conspiracy based theology of which regular Americans should be afraid, quite hypocritical. It is possible to hold deep personal views about abortion and homosexuality and find your views in conflict with those of political parties and leaders and I deny no one that right. I do suggest you consider whether your beliefs give you the right to judge and condemn others for holding a different view or perhaps having a similar view yet supporting a politician with whom you do not 100% agree.
In my view, the leaders we have do not get there outside of God’s will. We may from time to time have bad leaders and their placement may be allowed for reasons we may not immediately (or ever) discern yet their existence is still part of God’s plan. If ever I am troubled, I have a fallback that will allow me to see it through… Mysterium Tremendum.
I will mostly skip the opportunity to rant about some of the conflicting beliefs of the party not currently power that is allegedly pro life but with a long list of exceptions. The party that contains a neo-con element that would wage war for profit yet use government to enforce morality as they see it while wanting small government in everything else. The point is that had Romney won, I wouldn’t understand, yet I could accept it if for no other reason, Mysterium Tremendum.
If you have been unfriended, accused and abused. Spend no time on this, you’re better off. If you are an attacker and accuser, rather than use your energy placing blame and damning others, pray for acceptance and look to achieve that place where there is no tremendous mystery which must be divined, simply faith. Mysterium Tremendum!
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