Jesus’ Dumpster Fire

No need for a picture today.

It’s turning out roughly like we thought it would, this off-the-rails democracy meltdown. And it will get back on the rails as democracy does, with a muddling mixture of blood, anger and, eventually finding some grown-ups where you least expect them. The British long observed that you can count on the Americans to do the right thing…after we’ve exhausted every other possible alternative. I think we’re about ready to try the right thing.

Black young men have been tasting the blood for years, now joined by a young woman who could have been one of my daughters. They were raised to show up at events like that.

We’ll pick up the pace of democratic muddling after  the one selling those red hats has identified himself—once again—with the ones swinging the rods, doing the salutes and driving their junkers into crowds.

John Lewis has been dealing with those kinds of people longer than anyone in elected office. He had stayed away from the inauguration because of the obvious, the man is simply not a legitimate president and we should cease treating his as such. Sunday will drop Mr Trump below the thirties in the polls, but polls don’t vote.  It is up the republicans who own this dumpster fire.

The key to putting that fire out is the behavior of the eight out of ten evangelicals who supported his illegitimacy while knowing his obvious moral emptiness. They made a nose-holding calculation to take an an anti-abortion supreme court justice in exchange for an unknown dumpster full of political waste. Now they know what’s in the dumpster—nuclear war, a melting planet and Nazis goobers.

The abortion issue is pretty much the only one splitting evangelicals out of range of the broader political process.  While (having daughters) I disagree with them on this one, I understand their commitment to their position. And I can totally understand the way it links in their minds to sexuality without boundaries reinforced by a culture that is happy to sell anything from toilet paper to tires with the scent of sex.

Now that they have their Supreme Court Justice it is time for them to take responsibility for the rest of the ugliness in what is now seen as Jesus’ dumpster. It is encouraging that nearly every single one of the evangelical advisors to his Illegitimacy ran for the light and made extremely clear that Jesus wasn’t a Nazi. You’d think that might have come up before now, but it is a start. But good example of how much of a baby step it is is modeled by Johnnie Moore, a former senior vice president at Liberty University and also one of the President’s evangelical advisers, “White supremacism, racism, and anti-Semitism are bigotry and they are pure evil. I hate them, and I call upon all Americans to defy them with intentional acts of solidarity and love.” Good start.

And then he just can’t help himself: “The right remains too passive and the left remains too political when it comes to ethnic divisions in this country. One side underestimates the issue and the other side provokes further conflict. Both sides distrust each other. This must end if we are to find national healing.” Many sides, many sides, blah, blah, blah. Pilot washing his hands.

Marv Knox, a longtime Baptist progressive, did an oped in the Dallas Morning News in the Dallas paper today with paragraphs of powerful language decrying bigotry. But in the end, he hardly took a swing that mattered: “Now is the time for white Christians to contact their friends of color and friends of other faiths and express their love and solidarity, and then ask a simple, vital question: “How can I help you?” Really? That’s it?

This is work for other white protestants like me and Marv, not Blacks, agnostics or anyone with a rainbow. This is a white and male and Christian problem so white and male and Christians have to step up. There is a long tradition of us white protestant clergy babbling like Mr. T did on the golf course while bloody-minded men mutter on the church doorsteps. Lots of men have a choir robe and a white one, too.

Who needs robes with this president? Silence from the pulpit and you’ve got a bonfire.

White evangelicals must severe themselves from this moral meltdown or their Jesus will be toxic for three generations. They will have made the horrible calculation of the German Lutherans who let Jesus burn in the Nazi fires.

Jesus tends to rise again and again, so don’t worry about him.

But if you want any role in America for a protestant witness, this is the week to show it.

About garygunderson

Vice President, Faith Health, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Author, Leading Causes of Life, Deeply Woven Roots, Boundary Leaders and Religion and the Heath of the Public. Secretary, Stakeholder Health (Health Systems Learning Group).
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5 Responses to Jesus’ Dumpster Fire

  1. Gerald Winslow says:

    Thanks for the faithful, prophetic witness Dr. Gunderson. I join those whose hearts ache for a nation in search of its soul. I’m especially sad today for the people of Charlottesville — a beautiful town where my family and I lived for a time. Let’s keep writing, speaking and looking for grownups with the integrity to lead the way! GRW

  2. Thank you Gary for your call to action

  3. Today, in Cincinnati over 300 “firefighters” gathered at City Hall and talked about putting the fire out. How? Singing and marching are wonderful acts of maturity. Yet, our churches are segregated, our hospitals refuse to treat the poor, our police officer that killed a suspect has gone free, and our universities are soulless and on fire. Where are the changes happening? We need navigators through the fire, the heat, the ashes, and the flowers on the graves of the dead. Who will step us and navigate?/ In peace, Steve Sunderland, Cancer Justice Network

  4. Cindy_Ron says:

    Amen, Bro!!

    Peace, Ron

    garygunderson wrote: > garygunderson posted: “No need for a picture today. It’s turning our > roughly like we thought it would, this off-the-rails democracy > meltdown. And it will get back on the rails as democracy does, with a > muddling mixture of blood, anger and, eventually finding a grown-up > where y” >

  5. Nancy Combs says:

    Thank you, Gary, for your impassioned moral challenge to us all. What you wrote on Monday prophesied the dumpster fire’s spread into the alley on Tuesday. Your reflection hearkens us back to the original meaning of “Protestant’ (protest-ant). We must not be silent.

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