I’ve been reading text this morning, the day after Donald Trump made his way to St. John’s Episcopal Church in DC for, what was basically, a photo op.
Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington under whose diocese St. John’s resides, was outraged at his actions.
Here is what she posted on her Twitter account:
Tonight President just used a Bible and a church of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for. To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard.
The President did not come to pray; he did not lament the death of George Floyd or acknowledge the collective agony of people of color in our nation. He did not attempt to heal or bring calm to our troubled land.
The Bible teaches us to love God and our neighbor; that all people are beloved children of God; that we are to do justice and love kindness. The President used our sacred text as a symbol of division.
We are followers of Jesus. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. We stand with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd through the sacred act of peaceful protest.
As you read what she says, also look at the comments. Most support her words.
But some take DJT’s side over hers.
It’s difficult not to spend time picking apart some of the comments, and dive into the weeds with these posters.
But it pulls my focus from the problem at hand, so I won’t go there.
The one thing that stands out to me is the number of people that have allowed this man to hijack their faith.
Have we forgotten that our relationship with God (or any name you have for the high power) is personal?
It’s a one-on-one relationship.
It requires no one else to survive and flourish.
The building where you gather with others each week is a place for fellowship. We call it a church, but it’s really just a gathering place to celebrate and discuss your faith with others.
It’s important to do this, but it shouldn’t be your primary source of strength and faith.
The person that leads your gathering is someone that has studied the text, and shares their insights with you. They are not closer to God than you.
Unless you cede that power to them.
Even if you do, you should always question them. They are human. They will make mistakes. It they are truly in a relationship with God, they will welcome disputes based on the word.
Yet there are churches out there that do not embrace discussion.
Some will ask you to support a man that is not, and most likely never has been, in a relationship with anyone himself.
Your Faith Has been Hijacked
My heart breaks for those that truly believe Donald Trump is a man of God. He spends each day slapping you in the face with your faith. And you continue to allow it.
You may ask how can I know what is in his heart. You’re right. I cannot.
But I do see his actions. Everyday.
They are not based in faith. Or love. Or charity.
They are based in wrath, greed, pride, envy…
Just because someone holds up a bible, does not mean they have read it, let alone believe in it.
Have we forgotten his 2016 Liberty University commencement speech where he references “Two Corinthians 3:17”
This is not a man that has spent any time in a house of worship.
So here is my challenge to you
Spend time each night in conversation with God. At least 20 minutes.
Talk about your day. Your troubles. Your joys.
No references to Trump.
No references to the building where you fellowship.
It just your “you” time with God.
Try this for a week. See how it goes.