It was nearly thirty years ago. My wife and I were trying to gain support for being overseas missionaries. I was young, shy, earnest, and naive. The church we were at gave us encouragement and told us to keep trying, but did not really open up its financial coffers to us, and did not give us much tangible support because “no one really knew what to do to help us.” We were on food stamps at the time.
Then a youth pastor in a sister church in a nearby city was arrested for statutory rape. It appears that he had molested a number of girls who were under his care. While his case was being tried, he and his family had to skip town because bands of people with pitchforks were looking for them. They ended up in our church. Our church, which had no clue how to help a wannabee missionary and his wife and kids.
Our church opened their door to this man and his family. They pulled out all the stops to keep him from going to prison, paying a large portion of his legal bills. When keeping him from prison failed (because he was obviously guilty), they helped his family find housing, and then hired his wife as the church receptionist, paying her more than receptionists usually receive so that their family would not be financially deprived while the husband served his sentence.
While I do not begrudge the help this family received–maybe they needed every bit of it–the whole matter left me sorely perplexed. After all, what did I need to do to get my church’s support? Rape some teenage girls? Is that what was required?
But the youth minister was handsome and charismatic, i.e., he was “spiritually gifted”. And oh, he had a beautiful family! Certainly, he deserved more support from the church than someone who was merely earnest, but who lacked such obvious “spiritual giftings”.
It is amazing how quickly people abandon their principles under the right circumstances.
The NRA hesitated to endorse McCain and Romney when they ran for president, but jumped to endorse Trump this week, even before the convention, despite Donald Trump’s decidedly shoddy record on the 2nd Amendment. But the NRA is far from alone. Indeed, people who hesitated to support McCain and Romney because they weren’t conservative enough are pulling out the stops on behalf of Trump, even though Trump supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2008.
Let that sink in. The GOP candidate supported his Democratic opponent for president until the day he decided that he wanted to run for president himself.
Yet, he is getting more unqualified support from many “conservatives” in the GOP than Romney ever received. This includes many social conservatives. Romney has to be asking himself, “What do I have to do to get conservative support? Boast about committing adultery? Run a casino, strip club, and an escort service? Get mobbed up? Have a strong track record as a New York liberal? Support Hillary Clinton for president?” It obviously isn’t enough to be a successful, somewhat conservative businessman who goes home to the same wife and family every night.
There is a great sickness within American society. It is the worship of success and glamor. Or rather, the worship of the appearance of success and glamor, no matter what the reality is. Trump is quite good at appearing successful and glamorous, despite the fact that it is nearly all smoke and mirrors. This causes weak-minded people to line up and support him. They want to live in his aura. Lacking success and glamor of their own, they want to borrow his or to enjoy it vicariously.
Secretly–or not so secretly–many people want to be him, warts and all. And even if they dare write a book about virtue, they secretly admire his adulteries and his sins, wishing that they could get away with it themselves, or in some cases wishing that they could go public with their private sins without suffering any repercussion, just as Trump has apparently done.
Through Trump, God is revealing the hearts of many people, and it isn’t pretty.