As I wrote one time I probably associate myself more with the tax collector in Luke 18: 9 – 14 than I do with the Pharisee in the same passage (“The Changing of Seasons”).
I am also not even a “practicing Christian”. I work at being a Christian and sometimes I get it right and sometimes I fail.
Right now, there are a group of people in this country who have proclaimed themselves to be Christians and who have implied in the words, their deeds, and their actions that they are the Pharisees of the 21st century. These are the so-called “evangelical Christians” who have announced to the world that Donald Trump has been sent by God to save America.
Despite that fact there are some who think that one can separate one religious life from their public and private life, there will come a time when they will collide and things will not go easy after that. To support Donald Trump when you say that you are a Christian and an evangelical one at that is so contradictory, it is hard to even imagine how that will work out.
Of course, and this is my view of the situation, one of the problems with the religious political establishment two thousand years ago was they had cut a deal with the Roman authorities that would enable them to keep their own political and social power. Maybe that is why so many quasi-Christians embrace Donald Trump. Their one hope is that with his election, they will be able to retain and expand their own power.
Someone is going to have to explain to me how this is all going to work out. It is bad enough that these “evangelical Christians” seek a return to the Old Testament way of living with its inherent dependence on laws and rules; that they think this will make the world a better place is even worse. Did these self-righteous individuals ever bother to think that the reason for the New Testament was the fact that the ways of the Old Testament were working?
In a world where you say that you are a Christian, you are telling the world that you follow Christ. You have accepted the idea that it is not going to be easy. You have accepted the idea that instead of building walls and creating division and hatred, you will work to tear down the walls others have built (or will try to build) and you will bring people together and your work will be to bring people together.
You understand that you cannot make people follow you; all you can ever do is show people what life is like as a Christian (that, by the way, is, I believe, the definition of evangelism).
Despite all the politicians who close virtually every speech with the proclamation that “God bless America”, I really don’t think God cares that much about this country. What He does care about are all the people on this planet and how we treat each other, even those who we may disagree with.
So, in the end, if you say that you are a Christian, then remember who it is that you have decided to follow. I am not a saint and I don’t that I will ever be considered for sainthood. I am not a practicing Christian but I keep working at being a better one. I hope that in all that I think, say, or do I can help make this a better world, not just for a limited number of people but for all the people.