God among Trump supporters / finding God is difficult, seeing God even more so

During this Lenten season I have decided to give up God, akin to Atheism for Lent by Peter Rollins. I made the decision to give up on God, the compartmentalized God I still retain every now and then when I act more cynical and skeptical about anything and everything that’s happening in my life. I gave up the God that seems marred by political agenda and party alignment, because truth to be told I can find and see God among my progressive friends, my atheist friends, my agnostic friends, my Jewish friends, my Muslim friends, my students, my coworkers, my friends, and my family…but…

I have a hard time seeing the commingling of the divinity and humanity in Donald Trump, and even to a certain degree those who align themselves with his politics.

But I told the God who I often think isn’t there, the God who made Donald Trump and his supporters, please be there so I can see you. God’s no magic genie, my prayers aren’t wishes that will get answered, but still the part of me that realizes that prayer has the capacity to transform me, consequently becoming the answers to my prayers wants to see God in Donald Trump and his supporters.

If there’s anything that’s said to be taboo in conversations it’s religion and politics. I have no problem with either provided it remains civil and an equal amount of time spent listening and talking by all parties. With that being said, I’ve slipped up when it comes to talking about politics in some circles I am in because his antics needs to stop, his name calling needs to stop, his marginalization of others has to stop…need I say more?

It isn’t fair on my part to demonize him (dare I say reduce myself to his level of fighting and engaging with others?) and it’s something I am working on, but sometimes what comes out of his mouth really pisses me off to no end. Yes, so much of what he says is to get a reaction, and he feeds off of it to a large extent. I need to give up the position of bringing myself to his level, it doesn’t do anyone any good.

Trump is a human being, an Imago Dei, and I have a hard time seeing it at this time…  But I am intentionally trying, to suspend my disbelief, to suspend my doubt, and to come to terms that yes God does love Donald Trump and has made Donald Trump.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

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Morning Meditation 2.23.16

morning meditation 2.23.16

as a follower of Christ I know that my love for God is best demonstrated by whom I love the least, and as I sit here in my car minutes before I start work I’m mediating on that.

you see, I’ve been having a difficult time doing that lately, loving the other that is, and I have a coworker who would be “the other” in my case; he’s loud, arrogant, not a good listener, rehearsed rhetoric when it comes to what he thinks about the LGBTQ+ community… we’ve duked it out verbally when it comes to these matters, he still doesn’t get it (and no, in this instance I don’t equate “getting it” as taking the side I have in this matter).

Yet yesterday before the work day ended he asked me to stand in solidarity with him, a little gesture, but he asked to do so anyway.
gut response; “why in the hell should I stand in solidarity with you?”
But Jesus got the better of me, and I said “yes I will do that with you.”

The way of Jesus is difficult and goes against the grain of my natural instincts and reactions. I’m not standing in solidarity for praise or respect of my peers, I’m doing it because Jesus would want me to.

This is how I show love today, with the other who has offended me and those I love dearly. Not my love per se, but the love of Jesus.

~ Nathanael~

Church Incognito; A peace church, liturgical and intergenerational; my experience at a Mennonite church

Last Sunday I went to Christ Community Mennonite Church on an intentional whim. As of late I’ve been reading more books on theology in my free time. I recently came across a book on Anabaptists and other historically known “peace churches” and their views on pacifism have intrigued me to be more committed to pacifism AND social justice. With that in mind I went to commune with Mennonites, to listen, to talk, and ultimately to be.

What I gathered upon entering this particular congregation is that while small in numbers, there were several inter-generational families who worshiped together. I also noticed that with the exception of a song or two, the entirety of the worship was a Capella and the song choices were varied; from newer songs to songs sung in Swaziland.

Amy, the pastor, delivered a message on Jesus’ interactions with those who were looked down upon in his society. She posed the question of whether we write ourselves into the stories found in the gospel, do WE reach out and engage with the marginalized, the oppressed and the unexpected. She talked about how we should still move and engage others because God too continues to move and engage with humanity. We should, out of love and out of response to who Jesus is to allow ourselves to take in the new wine as new wine skins, that is to allow new experiences move us rather than not be moved at all and  be stagnant in our faith journeys.

After the service there was a communal meal. It was during this time that Pastor Amy and a member named Art introduced themselves to me. They were both inquisitive as to me visiting them that morning and I talked to them about my project. Over lunch those gathered discussed some church-related issues, Art and I talked about theology and he filled me in on some information pertaining to Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites.
After lunch, Art and I talked more about these followers of Christ and how their lifestyles influence their faith and vice versa. Since another church uses their space after they do, we decided to talk more at a local coffee shop.

Art’s information and integration in these communities (as he is a friend to many) made me realize that he is a passionate man who embraces knowledge of the heart as well as the mind. I am a big fan of someone passionate people, and people who have merged the mind and the heart are my favorites.

I had a very good experience with those who gathered at Christ Community Mennonite Church. Their hospitality and inclusiveness was certainly felt by me. Because of them and other peace churches, it is my intention to find ways to engage with them in the near future.

~Nathanael~

Paternal instinct flaring (what me worry? Nah!)

I work with kids, mainly older teens and early 20 year olds. 40 hours (at the very least) every week. But after the work week is done, I still like kids and interacting with them and listening to them and figuring out what motivates them (call it Rogerian psychology at work).
Then there’s the rare opportunities I have to interact with babies. While I have no engagement with them except to listen to them communicate with me, make them laugh, tickle them, hold them, and make them feel loved and secure among other things, my paternal instinct flairs.

Lately, it has been flaring up quite a bit. I was holding my friend’s son the other day and he was an awesome talkative nearly 7 month old. He sure knew how to melt my heart rather than break it.
I’ve been a dad before, and I can’t…but can, wait to have kids again. I’ll admit, it’s not always something I present to God even though she knows among other things that I want to be a dad again. It gnaws away at me, as I like to think I know what makes babies tick, what makes them smile and what makes them feel loved. I feel their love as well; the way a baby communicates “I love you” and “thank you” are some of the best I-love-you’s and thank-you’s I know of!

And yet I fear, at least sometimes, I will never be a biological father to others. I don’t feel as if my biological clock is actually a countdown timer, but I want to be a father while I’m rather young so as to experience life to the fullest with said child[ren]. I don’t want to be “old” when I have kids, I really don’t, I feel as if I would be a burden to them and to me if it comes to that.
So I press onward and upward, doing what I can to establish relationships with the opposite sex WITHOUT that in mind- otherwise I will be there instead of being here in the relationship.

I know I am on a difficult and troublesome road, but I have hope God will meet me where I’m at and that someday I will be a father once again.

~Nathanael~