“For such a time as this”?

Let’s be perfectly clear, If Trump is ultimately the GOP nominee I will, as I have stated in earlier blogs, hold my nose and vote against any of the current possibilities the DEMs may put forward by voting for Trump.  But to also make it clear, Trump is in no way my preferred representative for president.  A good friend pointed out the first few verses in 2 Timothy 3 the other day as a reason she (and I) would have trouble voting for Trump.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of moneyboastful, proudabusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholywithout love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceitedlovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Unfortunately, we have way to many candidates on both sides this time around who might have several of the above characteristics underlined about them as well and our choice might very well come down to what may best be described as choosing the lesser of 2 evils.  Not a choice I am looking forward to.

But what I would like to visit in this blog is the plethora of “prophets” and Christian “leaders” who have seemingly “anointed” Trump as some kind of Ester figure or King Nebuchadnezzar or Darius savior.  Just today the leader of one of the largest Christian Universities endorsed Trump as God’s man of the hour.

Can someone, anyone – really anyone, please show me the scripture where Christians are supposed to promote, anoint or prophesy into places of prominence and leadership those who exhibit a large percentage of the negative characteristics listed in 2 Tim. 3.  I can understand waiting until the last minute and, as I stated earlier, voting for the lesser of two evils, but this phenomenon of prophetic and spiritual support for Trump has me as baffled as Balaam’s ass and I must bray loudly in protest.

First I will deal with the Babylonian kings who were benevolent to Daniel and his 3 friends.  I recognize that both Nebuchadnezzar and Darius protected Daniel and company and ultimately paid some homage to the God above all gods.  But let’s be perfectly clear, Daniel, his 3 friends and the host of Israel were still very much slaves and captives in Babylon both before and after those kings “saw the light” and eased their incarceration.  Is this what you are hoping for with Trump, some easing of conditions via a person who has almost no understanding of the most foundational tenants of our Christian faith – repentance and communion?

I would welcome someone who can personally assure me that Trump’s faith has some element beyond giving a cursory nod to a supreme being, pandering to a Christian university or pouring out praises to any of the many humanistic “I’m ok, you’re ok” feel good, positive thinking preachers out there who have chosen to abandon the doctrine of sin in favor of pop culture/right side of history capitulation.  Feel free to post that character reference in the comment section of this blog.

At least not all sanity is lost as it was reported today that several prominent Christian women’s organizations came out against Trump in light of his oft vile and offensive words directed at females and his flip flopping record on abortion.  (Right to Life and Concerned Women for America among them)

But some of these Christian (Men) leaders have even gone so far as to give Trump the “for such a time as this” mantle as if to compare him to Ester.  I have read the book of Ester, I have studied the book of Ester, I love the character, bravery and humility of Ester and Donald Trump you are no Queen Ester – and neither am I for that matter.  Please don’t insult the memory of Ester with that kind of comparison!

It is at this point I will make what will be viewed as my most controversial observation.  Why would it be that men (in much higher numbers) are falling all over themselves to jump in lock step with Trump in contrast to far fewer percentages among women?  I believe it is because of basic “machismo” male dominance to which Trump’s boisterous demeanor and rude treatment of women rings some un-civilized bell among men – yes even among Christian men.   Women are much quicker to cut through this bluster and see it for what it is – a return to more archaic times.

I suppose I could begin to understand if all the fawning and praise was over Dr. Ben Carson who I do see as a brave, humble and Godly leader.  But the title of “God’s man of the hour” or someone “for such a time as this” would be a challenging title for almost all the presidential candidates this season (in no particular order of scale).  I do believe there are a couple of exceptions and I challenge you to do the hard work of research, study and comparing your values to the various candidates (and to God’s values).  With much prayer and God’s intervention, we will hopefully be able to GLADLY cast our votes this coming November.

As a tool, I would suggest you take this comprehensive and un-biased questionnaire in order to see which candidate most closely agrees with your standards and areas of importance.  You will get the best result if you answer all the questions in each category.

isidewith.com

Trump – Stumped?

I am not stumping for any candidate but I feel it necessary to discuss some of the candidates and especially the phenomenal success of Donald J Trump which, in particular, has me very stumped.

The way I see it, there are 2 aspects of the presidency – one is doing the things necessary for the good of the country (being a good president) and the 2nd is looking presidential while doing those things.

I went to the Trump rally at ORU yesterday.  I don’t go to rallies.  I think the last one I went to was an airport stop by the Nixon/Agnew team in Lubbock, TX back in 1968.  So once every 50 years or so is not so bad.  But I went to this one in particular as I have a certain image of Trump (and Palin for that matter) from what I see on the news and I thought I would go to “see for myself”.  My opinions did not change.  But in all fairness to what may be the nominee, I will let you know my opinion (since you were all asking).

I see Trump like the smart privileged kid at school who didn’t have to develop the same social skills as the rest of us due to his popularity garnered from his being rich.  That silver spoon scenario causes him to come across as bombastic, rude and flamboyant.  Those are not characteristics I look for in someone being “presidential”.  At the same time, I see someone who has surrounded himself with smart (you will so love all the winning smart people he has surrounded himself with) advisers and business people who have helped him be the tremendously successful person he has become.  Yes, I am well aware that he has filed bankruptcy for restructuring purposes involving primarily his Atlantic City casinos which account for a small portion of his business ventures.   The only good thing you can say about those Chapter 11 filings is that he saw the ‘hand writing on the wall” about Atlantic City quite some time before others which helped investors retain some of their investments and also enabled Trump to retain a controlling interest.  Some will see only the negative in that and others will be able to see the silver lining.  Personally, I have tried to see both sides.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that Trump has never smoked or drunk alcohol.  He is well respected by those he works with and his employees.  His kids are hard working and well respected in their community.  His grade school education was at a military academy where he excelled.

I will say that I don’t think Trump is a liar.   He proudly claims that in the past he made donations to various candidates in order to garner their favor in business deals.  Who admits that?  He does exaggerate and he needs a bigger vocabulary so he can “win, win, win” more effectively.  I fully believe he would surround himself with the very best people to fill the various cabinet roles as his advisers and he certainly owes no one any favors for those appointments.  I believe he would be a great deal maker in global affairs and wouldn’t be afraid to walk away from the table in order to get a better deal.

Having said all that, I personally hope that Trump is not the GOP nominee.  I will certainly be conflicted at the voting booth.  But if he is the nominee, I will ultimately have to cast a vote against Hillary or Sanders by what might best be described as holding my nose and voting for Trump.

I am actually hoping for a surge by Rubio in the polls.  In my opinion, the perfect candidate does not exist, but would be a blending of Rubio, Carson, Bush and Christie.  You might say “you left out Cruz”?  Yes I did!  And although I, again, don’t think it is very presidential for Trump to call him “nasty”, Cruz is in fact viewed as mean and not very liked by his fellow congressmen.  In fact, in just the last couple of days, Bob Dole has warned that Cruz’s nomination would be catastrophic for the country.

I will end with the following 2 clips – one of Trump and one of Rubio.  I do this as I wouldn’t be surprised to see that become the ticket.  One clip shows how one candidate may flounder when it comes to religious things and the other touches my heart.

Pray hard America!

Fastest growing terrorist cell(ular) group – Radicalized Millennials.

I think we can all agree that commons sense laws are there to protect all of us.  A few weeks ago Barbie and I were on a bike ride on the river trails which was rather busy due to the seasonally warm weather.  As we were between 71st & 81st we came upon a 20 something guy talking on his cell phone and boldly walking on the bike side of the trail.  As there were several bikers coming from both directions this presented a somewhat dangerous situation as trail is plenty wide for 2-way bike traffic but not so much with the added pedestrian to avoid.  As we slowed and carefully squeezed by with the other bikers I calmly pointed out to the cellularly focused guy that there is a walking side just over there and without missing a beat he retorted “it’s America over here”.

Now I’m not trying to throw a blanket over all millennials as being radicalized, but neither will I be PC silent out of fear of being called Millennial phobic.  I spoke up when my safety and the safety of others was at risk.  But my effort was met with a response that has become all too common among this radicalized group – ‘don’t infringed on my newfound freedom FROM religion, rules, respect, constraints, etc.

One has to ask what caused him to be radicalized.  Did it come from secret internet friends, family members, professors, the ‘60s or was he self radicalized by watching too many episodes of Broad City or Workaholics.  Either way I’m sure his friends and family would be shocked to hear of his attempted suicide mission to take out bikers in the River Parks – they would likely say something like they ‘never saw that coming, he was such a good boy’.  Later it was reported that his cell phone was straw purchased by his parents (with whom he still lives).  It is clear we need new and stricter controls over who can purchase and openly carry cell phones.  This 20 something slipped through the cracks.

“Long tube with a bunch of demons”?

I considered several ways to approach this blog and landed on mostly asking questions and letting you decide.  I think we can all agree that Jesus, accompanied by his disciples, was the most important spiritual leader in all of history.  If I ask how He/they traveled you would probably answer that they either walked or rode on donkeys or camels along with the rest of us commoners.  And if I asked where they communed with God I think it is suggested that it was simply during their travels and along the paths they traveled and for Jesus in particular it was sometimes early in the morning.

A few days ago (Dec. 30, 2015) a couple of well known Christian leaders were discussing the justification for their use of private jets in their travels as opposed to commercial travel.  On one level, I can see the value of private jet travel for a heavy speaking schedule and I can tell you that I have ridden on a private jet on a business trip and it was GREAT!  That is not so much what I am discussing but rather their primary justification for private jet use went way beyond the schedule advantage.  Here are a string of quotes they gave as reasons to fly private jets.

“You can’t do that on an airliner” (talk to God) “the world is in such a shape we can’t get there without this – we’ve got to have this” (private jets) “it protects the anointing” (private jets) “you can’t manage that today (praying or having a moment with God on commercial planes) – this dope filled world – you get in a long tube with a bunch of demons – it’s deadly”.  There was also the suggestion that, as an important spiritual leader, you simply can’t have people coming up to you on a commercial plane asking for prayer – dear God, we sure can’t have stuff like that happening!  Or maybe it should happen – when the disciples tried to turn people away from bothering Jesus He continued to minister to the people in spite of any tiredness (Luke 8, Mark 5, Matt. 19).

So I ask – can you talk to God on a commercial airliner?  Does flying commercial planes dampen or limit the anointing or power of the spirit in your life?  When you fly, do you see yourself as flying in a “long tube full of demons”?  Is there some special demon power assigned to commercial planes that is more powerful than God?  Is it spiritually deadly to fly commercial?  Personally, I have not found these airline “problems” in my life.  Perhaps these guys are just that much more spiritually sensitive than me – there I go, giving into sarcasm again – I really have been trying to work on that.

Keep in mind these men in the video are “supposedly” a couple of the top spiritual leaders in the Charismatic movement around World and they justify not flying commercial airlines for the reasons listed above.  I have not ever had problems having deep spiritual moments on commercial airlines (not that I pursue that on every flight) – how about you?  Do you feel surrounded by demons when flying commercial – I sure don’t feel that way nor do I feel that way on a bus, in the supermarket or at work.  I know they are there, but I do not walk (or fly) around feeling tangible oppression by demons on a daily basis.

So to keep this short, I will end by saying that if your schedule “requires” the use of a private jet due to the lack of connections on commercial airlines, so be it.  But I feel extremely uncomfortable with the suggestion that it is necessary because God is somehow limited in his power or ability to speak to or renew you while flying on a commercial airline.  Traveling schedules didn’t seem to be a problem for Jesus and the disciples accomplishing the task set before them and I think that if pants were around in the time of Jesus, He and the disciples would put theirs on the exact same way as you, me or these men.

And we wonder why the un-churched points, laughs and walks (or runs) away.

Perhaps the scripture exhorting us to “be in the world but not part of the world” should be considered by all of us, to include these spiritual giants.