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Jonah

Last week, Jack Dorsey had his Twitter account hacked. Dorsey is the CEO of the company and Donald Trump is its most famous patron. If Dorsey can get his account hacked, presumably the President of the United States can too. A Twitter friend suggested this is cause for concern and he is right. What if someone hacking the President’s account declared war?

Reminded of the President, on the campaign trail in 2016, defending Planned Parenthood and seeing some of his prominent evangelical supporters then do the same, I suggested it would be funny if someone hacked the President’s account and tweeted, “I prefer Satan to Jesus.” We would undoubted see some of the President’s most faithful apologists immediately rush out to note they too think Satan is the cool one. You know it would happen.

I think of this again because of the headline this past week about a person in Mississippi who refused an interracial couple access to a facility to have their wedding because of the person’s “Christian” beliefs. To be clear, orthodox Christianity has maintained for 2,000 years that marriage is between one man and one woman. But orthodox Christianity has also maintained for just as long that there is neither “Jew nor Greek.” God is color blind, so we should be too. Biblical racism is a decidedly eighteenth and nineteenth century invention of scriptural contortion to justify chattel slavery and racism.

Earlier this summer, I went home to rural Louisiana and preached in the church I grew up in. I preached about Jonah. You remember him, I suspect. Scripture tells us Jonah was one of the earliest recorded prophets. Called by God to urge Nineveh to repent, Jonah chose to flee. Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah went in the exact opposite direction, boarded a ship, and intended to set sail for the furthest point away from Nineveh he could get.

God had other plans. A great storm came up. The crew on the ship cast lots to they “may know on whose account this evil ha[d] come upon” them. Jonah 1:7. The captain of the ship had ordered Jonah to get up and call to his god as they, all pagans, called to their gods. But Jonah, in fleeing the Lord, declared, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Jonah 1:9. Jonah used Yahweh, the personal name of God. He demanded the pagans throw him overboard. They were fearful and declined, but Jonah insisted.

The pagan sailors cried out to Yahweh, they now using his personal name. “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” Then they picked Jonah up, “hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. Jonah 1:14-16. Again, they sacrificed to God as Yahweh. They had embraced the personal name of God. There’s a striking difference between these men on the boat in Jonah 1 and Nineveh in Jonah 3. In Nineveh, the people cried out to God, but not as Yahweh.

We all know the story of Jonah, the fish, his flight, Nineveh’s repentance, and Jonah’s anger. What we should focus on is how Jonah, in fleeing God, caused these pagan sailors to embrace the God of all Creation. In Jonah’s rebellion, others were saved.

There is data suggesting young evangelical Christians, appalled at their parents’ behavior in politics, are recommitting to the faith their parents claimed before uncritically embracing Donald Trump as their savior. While it is sad to see so many Christians lose all willingness to call on the President to repent or even acknowledge his sins and all too frequently defend the indefensible, perhaps the silver lining in all these stories of Christians behaving badly is that the next generation will maintain orthodoxy, but refocus from transactional moral majority politics to helping the widows, the poor, the orphans, and the refugees.

And yes, I write this as someone will vote for Trump over the alternative in 2020, given how far left the Democrats have gone, but I genuinely cannot understand Christians who think they need to defend, excuse, and serve as apologists for so much. It is possible to vote for someone and also say you think they are wrong and a great many of you who will be upset with me for all of this were all too willing to do to George W. Bush just what I’m doing now.

Christians still need to speak up even against their own team at times.

Lastly, if this makes you defensive and you feel the need to comment that you do speak up, well then perhaps it is not about you. And spare me the “we’re at war with the left bull crap. You’re a Christian. We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

A Christian’s fight is not with the left, but with the things of the world and unseen spiritual forces. Never forget that.

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