There’s a story in the Hebrew scriptures about twin brothers, Jacob and Esau. The oldest, Esau, was a man’s man. He was hairy (which is actually an important detail that comes up in the story), a successful hunter, and his father’s favorite. Jacob, the younger brother, was a quiet homebody, and it just so happens, the favorite of his mother. From birth these boys were living in a powder keg and giving off sparks. (Yes. You’re welcome)
To add an additional layer of complexity, Jacob was also willing to scheme, connive, and manipulate to get what he wanted. Jacob was a weasel. And very early in the story of these two brothers, Jacob’s willingness to be weaselish comes to the forefront.
Here’s the story, found in Genesis 25v29-34, CEB:
Once when Jacob was boiling stew, Esau came in from the field hungry and said to Jacob, “I’m starving! Let me devour some of this red stuff.” That’s why his name is Edom.Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright today.”Esau said, “Since I’m going to die anyway, what good is my birthright to me?”Jacob said, “Give me your word today.” And he did. He sold his birthright to Jacob. So Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew. He ate, drank, got up, and left, showing just how little he thought of his birthright.
Make sure that no one becomes…ungodly like Esau. He sold his inheritance as the oldest son for one meal. (Hebrews 12v16, CEB)
But, to be honest, I’m not surprised by Donald Trump being…Donald Trump. Really. This post isn’t about him. What’s shocking is that Evangelical leaders are willing to throw their identity, morals, and integrity aside…and for what? A bowl of stew. A mess of pottage. Political clout. The chance to influence the world, not through their life and how they conduct themselves, but through Trump’s promise to make Macy’s employees tell customers “Merry Christmas.” That’s the thing: these Evangelical leaders, deep down, are seeking to have their message spread. Yet, they have hitched their cart to the wrong horse (Jesus is the only horse to which Evangelicals should be hitching). And history will not be kind to them. After all, if you have to sell out your integrity and values to get your message heard, you likely need a new message.
Yesterday, as I watched coverage and read articles about the Trump Evangelicals, I couldn’t help but think of Paul’s baffled, incredulous, criticism of the community in Galatia:
I’m amazed that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ to follow another gospel. (Galatians 1v6, CEB)
Friends, the gospel of Trump is no gospel at all. The gospel tears down walls, brings healing and wholeness, and seeks real, restorative justice in the world.
A gospel that is not good news, of great joy, for all people is not the gospel. It’s a strategy. It’s political maneuvering. And it’s selling your birthright for a mess of pottage.
2 thoughts on “The Evangelical Mess of Pottage”
Hey Joshua, (a rather appropriate name by the way for this blog…) I normally don’t post in agreement, and I agree with everything you have stated, but in fairness Yeshua is Lord over all the earth, including politics, and therefore his reign extends even there. Perhaps some of the attenders were not Jacobs’ but folks trying in good faith to speak ‘gospel’ into the event, yet I suspect you know this. But the bottom line is, as you say, we often “hitch our cart to the wrong horse”… Oh that the scales would fall from our eyes!
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Sorry for hijacking your comments sections, but you struck a great nerve for me on this post.
I just returned this morning from Mexico City, aware that as I preached to the Christians there, I was forced to explain why so many of their “Christian brothers and sisters” in the United States are presently behaving with such hostility toward them and their children. (Think: “wall”). While Facebook armchair critics might spew their diatribes without having to answer for a single word further than the comments section, I do not have such a luxury (and I’m glad for it). To make matters worse, many of these said believers are vocally endorsing a presidential political candidate who constantly maligns and marginalizes Mexico and her people. This is not the Gospel. This is nationalism in sheep’s clothing.
Jesus’ behavior toward the women caught in the act of adultery (the sexually unclean), the leprous man (the physically unclean), the “Canaanite” woman (the nationally and racially unworthy), the tax collecting Matthew and Zacchaeus (the morally unjust), are ethical plumb lines which mandate our Christian allegiance.
So grateful for your post. Well said. My prayer is that our evangelical leaders resist the Constantinian temptation of trying to advance “Christian ethics” by way of political power-plays, and keep their bowls of soup for the people who really need them.