by Dave Schmelzer
An opening disclaimer: If you’re celebrating Mr. Trump’s election, you won’t love this post. But think of the time you’ll save to do other useful or delightful things in your day! (I’ll be straight with you. With this disclaimer, I’m holding out hope of limiting the “Grow up! You lost!” comments—one can dream.)
For those of us still reading:
Speaking to the bubble everyone lives in, the great majority of my friends have been rocked by the election and the aftermath. Some are now in counseling. One grew up in a community of Holocaust survivors and this election has tapped into that trauma. Some are intentional about protesting daily. My Facebook feed is full of admonitions along the lines, say, that remaining silent in the face of injustice to the powerless is the mark of privilege. Other friends have found that their news obsession during the election has boomeranged into a limited news fast since, with the thought that our sanity and happiness to have gotten up in the morning must count for something.
And a pervasive sense for friends in each of those categories has been that the rules have changed, that previously helpful encouragements to live a joyful life of faith no longer quite cover the facts on the ground, that “living our best lives now” seems pathetic in the face of the provocation our world is facing daily, as if we were sharing about our wonderful answered prayer in 1935 Poland.
But that does make for a long, four-year (our lips to God’s ears) slog.
It does sound appealing to go along with the Psalmist and command my soul to praise God each day or to take Paul up on his encouragement to rejoice always, pray constantly and give thanks at all times, since—he says—this is God’s will for us. And he must have had ideas about how to do this in the face of despotic government, being governed by Nero as he was (and having a ringside seat to the injustices and outrages of the Herods).
So what’s the right answer? What does “strong, joyful faith” look like in the age of Trump? Is there a way to engage rightly while still whistling a happy tune personally?