The following is an article I wrote for the “Word of the Quarter” section of the January 2017 issue of the Scroll. It is titled “Where is the Real Battle?” This section is a collection of the thoughts of the three editors written in one voice.
Word of the Quarter – Where is the Real Battle?
When the editing team met to discuss the “Word of the Quarter,” we were still in a little shock over the results of the presidential election. It seems as if the results of this election were based on a few things: trust and fear.
Leading up to the election, it was clear that many Christians (based on the high percentage of (white) evangelical Christians who supported Trump) had put their faith and trust in man, when our faith and trust should be in God. In fact, if you listened to some “Christian leaders,” you would have believed that there would be no hope without a Trump victory. They turned Trump into an idol and (mis)placed their trust in him and not God.
Trump spoke into the fear many had (the fear of other), and people gave more energy to their fear. When we give energy to fear, we go into conflict and act out of it. This is based on feeling the need for self-preservation.
And the single issue of abortion coupled with an open Supreme Court justice seat led many Christians to turn a blind eye to the many issues that many Christians of color saw in Trump: racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc.
As Sunday continues to be a day of segregation of white, black, Asian, Latino, etc. churches, how can the church play a role in racial reconciliation, especially with all the fear of “other” that was part of Trump’s campaign? The world only has to look at segregated churches to call out further hypocrisy in the church.
And it brings to light the question: What is the role and responsibility of the church? You just need to turn to God’s Word to see it. From there, we can find out who Jesus was and how He saw and treated “others.” It is only by learning for ourselves that we can battle improper teaching and incomplete views of Christ. It is from the Word that we find our own wholeness, and part of our wholeness is in our neighbors being whole.
The bottom line is that the church has made the government responsible for doing what the church is supposed to do. Instead of sitting down, the church should be serving. It shouldn’t matter who the president is. Services should stem from the church. Areas where the church can minister to the community have been turned over into bureaucracies. And while the bureaucracies can help, it is up to the church to minister.
We still have our call. In the response to issues of social welfare and abortion, the church has missed an opportunity. We have missed openings to minister the undying love of Christ by displaying hate and ridicule. Jesus first dealt with the basic needs of the people. When Jesus met the woman at the well, He did not condemn her. He ministered. He created a safe place.
We see the results of this election as a call for us to be reminded of who we are supposed to be. A call to return to who God has called us to be: a church that ministers to the oppressed and marginalized and are not scared to get our hands “dirty.” We are not a victim, and we are not to live in fear. We must take control of our own communities.
As we move forward in 2017, we ask the church (of the living God): Where is your hope? If you are rooted in God, you will not be overcome by fear. Regardless of the media hype (especially unfounded conspiracy theory media outlets) and the many voices (you must drown out all of that noise), you must put your faith and trust in God.