I’m From Iowa

I’m From Iowa March 2, 2016

WhenChurchHurtsby Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church Hurts

Editor’s note: Posting this in light of yesterday being Super Tuesday and the increasingly serious political season. Ellen’s explanation of the Iowa caucus is interesting. Watching the Quiverfull Evangelicals try to figure out who to vote for is even more interesting. Nancy Campbell is heavily pushing Ted Cruz, while others are lining up behind Donald Trump, so it’s anyone’s race in the world of Christianity.

Remember just a few weeks ago when the candidates and media were all a-flutter about the Iowa Caucuses?  I am an Iowan – born and raised.  I only left long enough to get my college degree, do a bit of grad school, and my first year of teaching.  So that was a six-year hiatus.  Otherwise, Iowa has been my home.

We live on an acre of beauty in a 1912 prairie-mission style home surrounded by trees, flower beds, and, of course, outlying fields of corn, soy beans, and hay.  So, our caucus site was in a little country church on a worn gravel road a few miles north of our home.  We arrived early because parking is at a premium at this tiny church.  Still, my husband dropped me at the door and had to park in the lot up the hill.  They had a record attendance of 99 folks at the caucus that night.

Only four people spoke on behalf of their chosen candidate – one for Marco Rubio, one for Ted Cruz, and two for Mike Huckabee.  Most of their speeches encompassed the speakers’ belief that their candidate was the most Christian and espoused the most Christian policies – unlike, of course, Donald Trump.  They brought up abortion and gay marriage, Planned Parenthood and illegal immigration.  And, of course, how these topics are central to the Republican Party and getting the United States back to being a Christian nation.

As I listened to their comments, I realized that these neighbors of mine are, like many Christians, out of touch and suffer a severe disconnect from the realities around us.  I wanted to stand up and tell them, “You lost the abortion and gay marriage debates a long time ago!  When are you going to stop trying to legislate morality and start ‘voting’ with your actions?  Because if you had voted with your actions years ago, maybe we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

This morning I read a blog post by a very prominent Christian.  He was deriding Christian Trump supporters and his rhetoric was so hate-filled and foul-mouthed that I couldn’t read the entire post.  I skimmed the last half of it and kept thinking that what he had written so embodies much of what is preached and taught in churches and Christian circles.  Not that they should be all namby-pamby and dripping the flower-children nectar of free love, but to spew hate and venom at people for choosing to support a candidate some self-appointed Christian leader has determined would be better suited for president seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle “black,” doesn’t it?

I will just bet that there is no candidate – or Christian – who has a lily-white background.  And if they claim to, I would seriously question their honesty and integrity.  In fact, I’m a bit impressed that there is a candidate who freely admits his “indiscretions,” and we don’t have to wait for other candidates or the opposite party to unearth what we deem to be less-than-favorable qualities and actions.  Wouldn’t it be something if all of the candidates (and Christians – especially leaders) put it all on the table and said, “Here you go, folks.  I’m not perfect and I’ve made plenty of mistakes but I’ve learned from them and pledge to do an even better job because of them.”

And what if, instead of deriding people for supporting a particular candidate, Christians would take a look at who among those candidates votes with their actions?  Who gives the most to help others?  And doesn’t boast about it?  Because where his treasure is, there his heart is also.  If he’s giving away a sizable chunk of his treasure, he’s probably the most Christian candidate out there.

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Ellen is a member of the SASBN and she blogs at When Church Hurts

More about Ellen:

Several years ago I was the victim of a most heinous form of abuse unlike anything I had ever thought possible. Not having been raised in a Christian home, my first experience with Christians and pastors had been one of joy, grace, fellowship, love, and delight. When faced with the horrors of having the very essence of who I was as a woman of faith stripped from me in what I can only describe as spiritual rape, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. This was church, after all, and I believed that everything works together for good for those who love God. Somehow, it didn’t make sense that everything was not working together for good. When I was finally able to resign myself to the fact that God was not going to “work this out,” I made my escape and sought a safe haven. 
 
Little did I realize that I was going from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Oh, how I tried to beat back the flames! Oh, how I prayed and pleaded for mercy, for grace, for a chance. “But hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will toward” Ellen. 
 
He who began a good work . . . had forsaken me . . . and the silence was more than deafening . . . it was defeating. So intertwined were we, that as God went missing, so did Ellen. But I am nothing, if not tenacious.
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