Where do I start!
As a result of the presidential election I’ve experienced a range of emotions that I’ve honestly tried to suppress. And as a future therapist, I know better than that.
First there was the Trump win. Then, the realization that I know many people who voted for him, and the ensuing struggle of trying to figure out how to accept people in my circle who are apparently not concerned that my human rights may be at risk. But then came the final blow.
I thought I had finally found my church home (I’ve had quite a struggle finding a church that I like here in Atlanta). But on Sunday, November 20th, I walked into church inspired, but walked out confused, conflicted, and thoroughly disappointed.
I thought I had found a modern and diverse church who reflected the heart of Christ, understood it’s diverse congregation, and spoke to my core. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
That Sunday, Pastor Louie Giglio stood before the congregation and attempted to heal the divide that was present in Passion City Church and the rest of America by addressing the tension caused by the results of the presidential election. Going into his message I didn’t think I’d be the one left feeling alienated. I thought for sure that the Pastor of this hip, modern, multi-cultural, non-denomational church surely denounced Donald Trump. But I was wrong.
Pastor Giglio didn’t outright take sides, but he did say a few things that led me to believe that he did support Donald Trump. He spoke about being a Republican, not directly but indirectly in an attempt to stay neutral. That’s fine, I’m not against that. But the following threw me.
He brought up a situation where he sought out one of his friends, a local black politician, I believe, who has good strong ties within the black community in Atlanta. He wanted to have a conversation about Black Lives Matter, to gain an understanding about the movement. Now, I actually commend that. I think more people should seek out this information so they can understand what minorities are experiencing. But what rubbed me the wrong way is this: 1) He’s leading a church with black members but doesn’t understand what his black church members are dealing with outside of the church? 2) He’s leading a church with black members and has not taken the initiative to sit down with these members and have a real, honest conversation WITH THEM. Still blows my mind when I think about it.
My other issue. He compared voting for Donald Trump to listening to Kanye West. Sigh, yes, really. His point was, how can anyone call out Trump’s character when Clinton has the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z performing at her events. Or, how can someone who is listening to Kanye themselves call out Donald Trump’s character (Seeing as how Kanye is no role model. The kicker here is that he obviously made this statement before Kanye admitted his bromance for Trump, and in turn Trump then invited him to Trump tower for a meeting). Either way, choosing to compare voting for a presidential candidate to listening to a musician to make a moral point is a weak argument. We listen to musicians for entertainment, not to run our country. There’s not one musician that I love that I would vote for for president, those are two totally different jobs. And the basis of choosing a president has always strongly relied on that person’s character. If you take this away, yeah, you can vote for anyone, which is I guess how Pastor Giglio reconciled his choice. And don’t get me wrong, everyone has a right to vote for who they want, but as Christians who know the Word and live it out and share it with people, there is no excusing the behavior as Donald Trump.
Knowing that 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump because they believe he somehow represents Christian values still boggles my mind. Politics over righteousness and truth apparently. Because anyone can see as clear as day, that Donald Trump in no way shape or form represents Christian values. Hillary Clinton did not either, but I don’t think anyone used that as a veil for voting for her. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party do though, represent an inclusive America with the desire for EVERYONE to live in freedom. I believe this is much closer to the message that Jesus came to share.
I have to give Pastor Giglio credit for seeking to understand Black Lives Matter. We NEED to have these conversations with each other. This divide CANNOT be healed until we are willing to listen first, speak second, and never condemn. So while yes, we need to build this bridge, we need to plan the architecture and gather the bricks first. That means that you need to allow us to sit with this disappointment, and you need to try to understand it. You cannot heal a hurt unless you are willing to listen and create a plan to go forward that works for everyone. Simply asking us to move on is counterproductive and will only add to the resentment that permeates our society.
With so much hope in my faith, I’m learning that even I will be disappointed by the church, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that I live in a Red state. Learning and accepting is always good. While I believe Georgia will be my home for many years to come… I’m determined to bring a little Blue love to these people.