Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Ross Douthat has a great Christmas column in today’s New York Times. He’s writing to Catholics losing heart from church corruption, but what he says applies just as well to Protestants losing heart in the era of Trump.  Douthat’s starting place is the genealogy of Jesus offered up in Matthew’s gospel. Douthat makes the point that this list is not composed of saints and heroes. Rather, “in claiming the divine is entering the world through this line of ‘murderers, cheats, cowards, adulterers and liars,’ Matthew isn’t offering some particularly Christian innovation within the larger biblical story. He’s simply picking up what his own people, the Jewish people, already said about themselves: We’re the chosen people of the one true God, and to prove it to you here’s a long story about how awful and promiscuous and murderous and fallible we are, how terrible our leaders often turned out to be, and how we deserved every exile and punishment we received.”

It’s been a tough week in America. As I wrote a British friend today: “We have been having a continual debate in this country as to who is more stupid, Brits or Mericans. Most of the time I think we are winning, but in recent weeks I believed you had pulled ahead on the stretch. However, this week it appears that you are not quite up to the stupidity of Mericans, we have a leader who can blow you to smithereens in the stupid department. So there.”

You may not share my politics, but I think we all share an understanding that these are difficult times and that our leaders are not inspiring confidence. Let us take Christmas hope from the story told in Matthew’s gospel.

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One Response to “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

  1. Stephanie Strom Says:

    Tim, I knew you and Popie back in the Palo Alto chapter of our lives. I now live in Florida. when it comes to politics and Jesus words to us, I am often left speechless. You and a gal named Brandi Miller are my go to people.. She writes for Sojourners, and is the InterVarsity staff person at UofO. She just had a piece published in the Huffington Post. Your styles are different but your commitment to Jesus and the Word are foremost and the only benchmark for both of you. My prayer is that you will continue to be anointed in your ministry and used in many peoples lives to engage their thoughts in a holy direction.
    Here in Florida, knowing Jesus is reduced to church attendance and either exercise class twice a week, or Fri night bingo. A solid Bible Study is hard to find, quiet times are unheard of, and accountability groups non existent. I hear things are better towards Orlando, but I attend a 3 milllion dollar, mini Crystal Cathedral, reformed Presbyterian church that is based on services run like a pep rally and songs to lift you on your way….blecch! There is now a remnant of us finding each other and we will begin meeting in January as a Bible Study where we actually apply the Word to our own lives, and look for ways to fruitfully expand. The preacher is usually well grounded in the word, but sometimes gets thrown off by his wealth and what he’s doing with it. I stand with only 4 other friends of like political persuasion in this body of Christ. I often burn calories keeping my mouth shut because the opposition is strong, and they are just waiting for me to quit talking so they can restate their own correctness. What happened to engaged dialogue where we could listen, ask questions, pray together and leave as friends?
    Anyway, so grateful for you. Do you have any other publishing venues pertinent to the political mayhem?
    Go boldly in His love and grace,
    Stephanie Strom
    mom2rj@tampabay.rr.com

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