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6 tasks for Christians struggling with Trump

On Ministry Matters a post that gives a concise summary of  Ministry Matters™ | 6 tasks for Christians struggling with Trump 6 tasks for Christians struggling with Trump.

 

 


Civil Society

In an excellent essay in The Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch writes about how civil society can prevent the worst potential abuses of a Trump administration.  He writes that institutions will push back on unconstitutional acts, like they've already done this week.  The bigger worry is that Trump flaunts the norms of civil society and so all of us must push back against that coarsening of culture.  He writes:

To help the body politic resist de-norming, you need to make an argument for the kind of government and society that the norms support. You have to explain why lying, bullying, and coarsening are the enemies of the kinds of lives people aspire to. Instead of pointing to Trump with shock and disgust—tactics that seem to help more than hurt him—you need to offer something better. In other words, you need to emulate what the Founders did so many years ago, when they offered, and then built, a more perfect union.

This resonated with what I believe is the most essential task for me to engage in at the current time, and is one reason I think that some of the opposition is misguided, as it is participating in coarsening of discourse and social norms.  Let's be better than that.


Global Community

While we sadly spend the early days of 2017 battling an effort by our new national leadership to put America First and close off our society, we should be reminded that global community is nothing new (nor is the reaction against it). Reading today in The Birth of the Modern by Paul Johnson, the British historian who is also a conservative, I encountered this description of the world in the early 19th century, which description arose out of a discussion of Western European trade relations with China:

Such cultural confrontations were inevitable as trade spread across the world and increasingly rapid and reliable forms of transport annihilated distance.  Perhaps the most important single aspect of modernity was the way in which, almost imperceptibly, mankind was transforming itself into a single global community, in which different races and civilizations, now touching at all points, simply had to come to terms with each other.  These frictions were usually solved by debate and agreement, with both sides recognizing the mutual advantage of peaceful conduct.

He does go on to point out that war did erupt and an unfortunate East-West divide was created which persists.

But I'm drawn to this idea of the global community as "the most important single aspect of modernity." Should we then conclude that Trump is an anti-modernist?  A reversion to a more primitive pre-modern worldview?


Republican Fausts

Conservative columnist David Brooks has opposed Trump and the Trump allies throughout his rise to power. His latest column is the harshest yet, focusing his attention on the Republicans who have sold their souls to the devil (thus the Faust analogy).  He details what is wrong with the Trump administration, including that it is a "a small clique of bloggers and tweeters who are incommunicado with the people who actually help them get things done" and "it is hard to think of any administration in recent memory, on any level, whose identity is so tainted by cruelty."  At the close he concludes: 

With most administrations you can agree sometimes and disagree other times. But this one is a danger to the party and the nation in its existential nature. And so sooner or later all will have to choose what side they are on, and live forever after with the choice.