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

Transgender Lives Matter


Earlier today I watched a documentary called Southern Comfort, which Wikipedia describes as “a 2001 documentary film about the final year in the life of Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual. Eads, diagnosed with ovarian cancer, was turned down for treatment by a dozen doctors out of fear that treating such a patient would hurt their reputations. By the time Eads received treatment, the cancer was too advanced to save his life.”

Transgender, in case you’re unfamiliar with a working definition is knowing you were born into the wrong gender, that mentally you know you were meant to be born a male where your anatomy makes you biologically a female, and you know you were meant to be a born a female where your anatomy makes you biologically a male. Transgender is the T in the acronym LGBTQ, and I (as many people can attest to) believe the transgender face a lot of discrimination from within the LGBTQ community as well as from the rest of society.
How so you might ask? Discrimination within the work place, an ill-informed population as to what being transgender entails, violence, if incarcerated they might be put in the wrong prison (matching them with their biological gender, but not the one that reflects their being transgender), a lack of acceptance by friends and family which may lead them to choosing to complete suicide (rest in peace Leelah Alcorn), amongst other things.

I am an ally to the LGBTQ community, and my awareness to what affects the Transgender community was heightened as I watched Southern Comfort, especially when one of the partners of one of the guys made this comment as to why she was fearful to be recorded for the documentary; “I’m just afraid of someone coming in here and destroying everything we have and harming us because they think it’s the right thing to do in the name of God, in the name of God for Heaven’s sake.” ‪ – Southern Comfort (Documentary: 2001)
As a follower of Christ, I was (and still am) utterly mortified by the fear of the woman for things that might be done against because people’s perception that “it’s the right thing to do in the name of God.” Pardon my language, but what the fuck? Someone is fearful for what might happen in the name of GOD?!? That certainly doesn’t ring of anything Godlike or even, Christlike, my heart goes out to this fear that is ever present in the hearts of men and women.

As if the oppression against those who are Transgender individuals wasn’t enough there are those who get perverse kicks from doing things against them because (and we’ve all heard it before in some shape or form) “God told me / us to do it” which frankly is one of the biggest cop-outs and excuses out there. Grow the heck up and stop using God as a scapegoat for why you harm yourself or your fellow human being, an individual who is made in the image of God.

Life is short and sacred enough to see the value in all, to respect and the humanity and Imago Dei-ness found in everyone. All lives matter, Transgender lives matter as well, and we as individuals and as communities and as nations should do what we can to preserve life and not take it away, refurbish and rehabilitate it, and not discard it. To my LGBTQ brothers and sisters I am your ally and will keep fighting for your rights! Life would not be the same without you, hold on my brothers and sisters, hold on.

~Nathanael~

29/30 – Some rules society seems to enforce were meant to be broken

Some rules society seems to enforce were meant to be broken

I work with the homeless and down-and-out in my community of Aurora Illinois. Now society and social norms would say that they (how dehumanizing! They’re some of my favorite Imago Deis!) should keep to themselves, that they should pull their bootstraps up, get a job, “God helps those who help themselves”, yada yada yada…are ya done yammering your jaw?

There are times where I say screw society and social norms, if something comes between me and serving God by serving others because “that’s not what we do” “in polite company…” et al, I don’t want a part of society and social norms that separate me from people whom God has made in his own image.

Take for instance what’s going on in Orlando, essentially it is illegal to feed homeless people, to which some people defied the law and consequently got arrested for it… Yet put in a similar situation I would be doing the same! There aren’t any laws imposing me from feeding the homeless in my hometown, but if it ever becomes illegal by law terms as in Orlando, I will break the law.

Some rules are meant to be broken, and I have no problem breaking rules that keep me from serving God by serving others.

~Nathanael~

I saw God today/Imago Dei (poem)

I saw God at my work today,
he reeked of cigarettes,
He smiled a broke tooth smile,
cheap alcohol on his breath.
He wanted to find some music,
So I helped him with a smile,
“‘Here’s the Metallica albums'” I said
so he looked there for a while.
He was disheveled and visually a mess
but I didn’t have to second guess
that in the brokenness of this man before me I saw God
I could have hidden my love away but love shouldn’t be a facade
We talked a moment before he left on a bike painted primer gray
I smiled in the cold Spring breeze at a guy, an Imago Dei*
I started to cry externally for reasons I cannot say
but there went God riding a bike, I saw him ride away.

[n][v]

*Imago Dei is Latin for Image of God, we are all images of God.