April 26, 2017

Donald Trump's First 100 Days

Telling God's Story by Peter Enns
In case you've been hiding under a rock, on Saturday Donald Trump will have completed 100 days as President of the United States. With that, critics are coming out in droves to point out that Trump will have the worst approval rating at 100 days of any President since 1945, that he has failed to meet his own standards for what he said he would accomplish in this time and that all he has done is prove he shouldn't have been in this position in the first place.

What is interesting to consider is that despite the many critics, the vast majority of the people who voted for Trump in the first place say they would vote for him again if the election was repeated today. More than that, what the linked article points out is that "62 percent [of those who voted for Trump] say he has been better than expected, with one-third (33 percent) saying he has been “much better.” Yes, I know many Trump voters who had low expectations as they cast their ballot for Trump mainly because they really didn't agree with what Clinton would have done if she won. Regardless of where the expectations started, it's safe to assume that many in this study had positive expectations of a Trump presidency, and they are saying that so far he has exceeded expectations.

How can the responses be so opposite? How can one group of people be looking at Trump and starting social media campaigns to say he should be impeached and another group be looking at him and say that he's been better than expected? Obviously, there are numerous reasons for this: spiral dynamics, political beliefs and opinions, intelligence (as cited by both sides!), etc.

In all of this, I keep coming back to one point that I think is easy to overlook: it's easier to outsource the responsibility of making our world better than it is to look at ourselves and take personal responsibility to do it. Put another way, it's easier to look at Donald Trump and critique his last 100 days, than it is to look at how YOU have done in your last 100 days? And this is really nothing new. Most people know the story in the Bible of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. I love the point that Peter Enns makes in Telling God's Story (a MUST read for parents!!) about what God is doing here:
In truth, the Israelites were not freed from “service” when God brought them out of Egypt. They were transferred from one form of “slavery” to another. God was forming them into a people who would reflect the image of God to a fallen world. That is the point of the Law. “When you enter Canaan, be like this. Don’t do what they do. You are to be my representatives. You are to be a blessing for the nations." (emphasis added)
What do the Israelites do in response to this responsibility of being the image of God in the world? They make a golden calf to represent God and begin to worship that. They shift the responsibility to something else.

They do the same thing in 1 Samuel when the Israelite people beg to have a king just like all the other nations around them. Instead of reflecting the image of God, they want to reflect the image of everyone else. More so, they wanted one person to represent them, to be the image of the nation of Israel, to be able to speak for everyone. Again, they shift the responsibility to something (or in this case someone) else. So they pick someone who looks great on the surface for this important position who inwardly ends of being arrogant and self conscious and not having the first clue about what it means to lead, especially in a Godly way. (No correlation to our time whatsoever...) Needless to say, it doesn't end well.

Then later, Jesus comes on the scene who was the perfect image of God and he taught how we should live as images of the Divine and what is the response? He's killed in exchange for a system and a religion that the people would rather hold on to as the image of God, rather than taking the responsibility for it themselves.

Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Yet, here we go again. Rather than take on the amazing responsibility that God has given us to reflect Divine love and justice around the world, it's so much easier to just elect someone to do it for us. (And I say that to everyone regardless of who you voted for.) There are a lot of things that are broken in the world that we live in. There are many things that we could be doing better as a nation and as a country. But Donald Trump is not the one who is going to make that happen. And neither will the next person elected or the person after that.

You are. YOU! Me. Your neighbor. The homeless guy down at the corner. Your coworker. All of us. 

Yes, we should talk about Trump's first 100 days. With as much political propaganda that is throughout the New Testament, following Jesus absolutely means getting involved in our local and federal government and figuring out ways together to make things better. But more than that, we need to take a good, long look at ourselves and ask if we are taking the responsibility that has been entrusted to us.

How have you done in your last 100 days?

How have you done in your role of spouse or significant other? What kind of friend have you been? Son or daughter? Parent? Employee?

How have you done in reflecting the image of the Divine in the world around you?

All of the things that you want to see happen politically, what are you doing in your every day life to do what you can?

Have you helped those who were in need? Have you fed the hungry? Clothed the naked? Taken care of the widow and the orphan?

What can you do in your next 100 days as an image of the Divine?

1 comment:

Mark and DJ said...

Really good and thoughtful perspective on this Jake! A very interesting and helpful angle about personal responsibility!