A litany of failure, despair, and resilience
Kristin, thanks for reaching out to me and showing me kindness as I reckon with how much resonance people (esp. pastors) found in my story.
The main evangelical Christian argument I've been told for supporting Trump is that the alternative (a democrat) is that much more dangerous than a conman. Evangelical Christians have been trained into a panicked fear of anyone who is not a Republican. They see the left as an abomination which means *anyone* on the right deserves support to prevent the more "catastrophic" choice: a Democrat. Initially, evangelicals were cautious and wanted a different candidate. But once Trump gained popularity, they went all in.
I have friends who initially were appalled by Trump, who were victims of sexual assault who were outraged at Trump's exploits... who STILL voted for him, in the name of their faith and their fear. When confronted with selecting Clinton versus Trump—no contest. They would find a way to justify their vote for the conman. Their agenda (pro-life, low taxes, heterosexual marriage rights) "trumped" every other concern.
Until the church stops othering Americans who aren't Republicans, it doesn't matter who the Republican candidate is—evangelicals will fall into step with the Republican front runner out of fear of the alternative. Trump just happens to be especially despicable.
Thank you for sharing Sean’s posts. It has been so strange to have people that have been friends, good and sincere people, go down the road Sean described. We have lost their friendship and ended up leaving the fellowship.
It’s great you amplified that post - I think that’s why I saw it. So so potent. The line about realizing you haven’t really made a difference - despite losing influence and friends was like a punch in the gut! 😭
Thank you for posting this Kristen. So helpful. I have been troubled by this in my former church as well and am still mourning the loss of friendships in a community that I helped serve for many years. May I recommend reading Russell Moore's new book "Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America".
I have been fortunate, I guess. Neither of the churches I have served have seen much MAGAism, even here in remote SE Kansas. While I have worked to preach faithfully and bear witness with integrity and all that, but I won’t pretend that I should claim any credit. I do know several who have had to work through it, but not too many. My heart hurts for pastors who are mired in it.
As a deep lover of Jesus and a full on feminist progressive Christian pastor who sojourned in the upper Midwest, Iowa, for 10 years: I come to these questions from the other side now.
Seattle, this hotbed of nones, progressive Presbyterian church, how do we love our enemies, so called?
How do we progressives sit under the Word: “Who do you say that I Am?”
The pain is actually lateral but the lie is hierarchical. And so we follow... Dear Jesus, save all of us!
Wow, do I resonate with every point of Sean's post.
They also both say they aren’t going to talk about Peter being “the Rock”.
“As I witness these things take place -- all in the name of Jesus and in the name of being pro-life -- I want to speak up. Pastors push back against idolatry, right?
Pastors don't let people create a god in their own image, right? Pastors warn the people under their care about "strong delusions" (2 Thess. 2:11), right?…. What a shitty pastor I must be, to open scripture so often for people but not able to help them see that they are dancing in darkness.”
Might I encourage this pastor and and other pastors to apply this to themselves regarding the pastoral p*rn epidemic. Deception has been normalized and tolerated and even celebrated by a huge number of congregants because deception has been practiced by the leaders of the church for a long time.
Trump is fruit of the groundwork of deception laid by the pastorate as a whole for decades (hey, I think J&JW has something to say about systemic deception in the church though the pastoral p*rn epidemic has yet to be addressed. Perhaps in Live, Laugh, Love as a huge number of Christian evangelical women have been taken by surprise in their marriages by this reality and then bound to silent suffering as they are blamed and misled about what is really going on.)
Pastors, begin to bring this root into the light. Expose this mass deception and your parts in it. Please don’t wait for historians to have to write books about it. You want the solution for Trump worship? Reclaim your identities as people of Truth. Bring this mass betrayal and your parts in it fully to light.
“Do we just ignore this as to not make waves and rock the church?"
The fact is the pastoral p*rn epidemic has been slowly normalized and accepted by those who are in the know about it and those that still don’t know are incredulous at the thought of it being real.
Look, we are either going to be people of Light or not. We can continue to march on collectively lock step with mass deception and betrayal from the top down but let’s not be dismayed when someone like Trump strides in and leads the sheep away. After all, this is exactly where the shepherds have led us. Leaders lead. It’s time for accountability from the top down.