The attached piece asks very significant questions and offers important perspectives. The interviewee has an almost unique, and frankly quite amazing, personal perspective, mixed with a professional one in a way that is intriguing. They are attempting to lay the groundwork for an understanding of why “Evangelical Christians” are devoted to Donald Trump, a man who would seem to be a living denial of everything that Jesus Christ taught – and lived and died for.
What I derive from their conversation is that Trump has never been supposed to be a leader of Evangelical Christians, nor is he even supposed to be a Christian. He is more like a vicious beast at the gate.
Why have a vicious animal, what does it protect? The Church, that’s what! The people in it don’t need protection, they have their guns, and their rigid front of hatred and racism. They aren’t afraid of being changed or challenged. But the Church absolutely must change, or perish; because it has lost touch with the people’s fundamental morality. But for reasons revealed in the interview, it has lost the ability to change, as has government.
Even more than our political institutions, the Church is organized on a strictly top-down, patriarchal principle. Conservatives seem to be quite content having others make decisions for them: preachers and politicians, nearly always men. Over the last forty years, Christians have willingly handed over their decision making prerogatives, even concerning their political beliefs, to demagogic religious leaders like Jerry Falwell, Jr, and Franklin Graham; and to wildly extremist politicians. These too were never intended to be leaders or role models. Each was a firewall – to keep out the enemy: change!
I don’t believe that Evangelicals are actually afraid of change, as is so commonly supposed: I think that they are contemptuous of it. They associate it with a willing denial of self, which of course it is; as is Christianity and are all religions. They chose not to be Christians in whom Christ lives, so they changed Christianity.
Protestant Christianity started, in the Fifteenth Century, as a revolution devoted to a new idea: that of Man’s relationship with God as an intensely personal one, through the vehicle of personalized study of the Bible with the guidance of God. Before that time, individuals weren’t allowed to read the Bible. In England, the idea of Bible reading was violently opposed by the State.
But, according to their own scripture, lost tribes acquire false leaders and false prophets. Jesus never preached that it is man’s duty to shut out the “world;” but rather that it is his duty to go out into the world and proclaim the good news, which is the original meaning of the word: “Evangelist.” But, for every revolution, like modern Christianity, there follows a counter-reform, like Evangelical Christianity.
Evangelicals are protecting something, but it isn’t Christianity! It is a Frankenstein monster that they have created mostly over the last forty years, out of a disjointed lie about Jesus Christ’s message (prosperity); and reactionary political beliefs. Out of despair, rage, and a natural isolationism.
Jesus came bringing a new covenant – a new agreement with God. God had touched Abraham and because of his faith alone, chose him as the spiritual father of the religions of, “the One God.” When Abraham’s people strayed from God in their hearts; God, through Moses, gave them the law, because of their epic willfulness. But Jesus required something greater of his followers. He asked of each person that we become something more, infinitely more: we must become complete, adult, responsible, faithful stewards of Jesus Christ. He required that we grow up. If Jesus Christ lives within you, you should know his will. To love.
Christianity is long overdue for fundamental change. But it is in acute denial about the necessity, and in a state of civil war over how to begin.
Let them talk between themselves, the Evangelical Right, they accept no other authority, not even the Lord’s. Neither priest, preacher, or government can lead them, because moral change cannot come from above; but must begin with the people. Let them discuss whether it is proper, and wise, to lie, hate, and boast in Jesus Christ’s name, or take responsibility by bringing their lives into line with their fundamental moral beliefs. Only they can do that.