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When God Shouts

Mea culpa and discipleship in the face of an impending Trump presidency.
Nov. 15, 2016

2) I'm going to listen to my fellow citizens to understand them, not just to reply

On election night Far-Right talk show host Glenn Beck was one of NBC's guest commentators. Beck, who like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, and others, has a long history of purveying obscurantist agitprop and bizarre conspiracy theories, recently broke rank with his colleagues by announcing that he could no longer morally justify supporting Trump. After reiterating as much he told NBC that he was as stunned by the unfolding vote counts as they were. He seemed pensive and saddened... more so than I've ever seen him be. After reflecting for a moment, he said he now realizes that he's spent years preaching at others without truly listening to them. "I don’t think we’ve listened to each other at all, and I know I’ve been at fault on this,” he said...

"On both sides, the parties have to realize now, ‘Boy we need to start reflecting the people and listening to the people.’ Because the people are entering a time as we’re seeing tonight beyond reason. They’re not listening. And when you get into so much fear and so much anger, the mind’s mechanism is to just shut down reason and they’re not listening to reason―and we have got to find our way to each other."

He went on to say that from now on he's not going to consider his own views until he's listened enough to truly understand where others are coming from. "We have to start listening to people," he concluded. "If we don’t, we’re in trouble." I have to admit, I was blown away... and more importantly, HUMBLED. I've always had a tendency to do this—listen to others not to understand them, but only to know how I was going to reply. I've tried to correct for it, but I now realize I haven't worked hard enough. So, like Glenn Beck, from now on I will not speak, nor offer my views to others until I've done my best to understand theirs first. And if I'm told I haven't, then I will remain silent (that's right... SILENT) until they tell me I have. Those of you who know me best will realize how exceedingly difficult this is going to be for me. Ergo, if you please, I'm going to need a LOT of help... especially from those of you who didn't vote the way I did. [Now, if we can just get folks on the Left like Bill Maher to do the same thing... :-) ]

3) I'm going to guard the integrity of my words

It's too easily forgotten that words are sacred. They have the power to heal or wound, to reveal or obfuscate, to bring light or darkness... and what we do with them matters. Too many of us are careless with them. We use them as weapons instead of vehicles for truth. We throw them around like rhetorical confetti... without realizing that we're cheapening them in the process. I've seen people branded "racists" because they didn't vote for Obama, or because they're as upset by the arbitrary gunning down of white police officers as they are by the senseless shooting of unarmed black men in hoodies. I've seen people called "homophobes" because they're uncomfortable in transgendered bathrooms. I've been accused of "patriarchy" and "misogyny" for literally no other reason than that I was born male (which BTW, was not by choice). Use words like this whenever someone disagrees with us, and soon they'll be watered down to where they apply to no one... and when a someone who actually IS racist and misogynist rises to power, and begins talking about rounding up non-white Muslims and putting them in internment camps or deporting them to war zones, they won't have the authority they'll so desperately need. I cannot afford to be careless with mine any longer. With the impending storm upon us, they're going to need every ounce of authority and light I'm able to give them.

4) I will be more intolerant than ever of evil... but not people

It must never be forgotten that being intolerant of evil attitudes and institutions is NOT the same thing as being intolerant of the human souls who knowingly or not, legitimize and empower them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said,

“I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me.”

He said this while speaking out against the Nazi's (who BTW, rose to power under cultural and economic circumstances strikingly similarity to ours today). He also said,


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