Church Shopping in the Age of Trump


Check out Max Perry Mueller‘s moving essay, “Why I Went Back to Church.”

Here is a taste:

SOON AFTER I BEGAN attending Grace Chapel in September 2016, the arrogance of my self-prescribed mandate to become a Christian witness to longtime professing Christians was made abundantly clear. Grace didn’t need me; I needed Grace. Each Sunday, I’ve gone to church depleted, due to worrying about the damage Trump is doing to the health of our democracy, our civil liberties, and our planet. Weekly fellowship with the Lincolnites—some of whom did vote for Trump—fills up my spiritual reserves for the week when I teach and write; when I call my representatives; when I participate in marches. My time at Grace Chapel has also taught me that I’m guilty of the Manichean thinking—dividing the world into evil (Trump voters) and good (anti-Trumpers)—that I found so unchristian in the evangelical churches in which I grew up. I have witnessed at Grace Chapel that my fellow Christians who voted for Trump have also dedicated their lives to support the resettlement of Yazidi, Muslim, and Christian refugees and asylum seekers in Lincoln.

What’s more, my time at Grace has taught me that I’ve made an idol out of politics. I’ve outsourced to politicians both my power and my responsibility as a citizen and as a Christian to work to build the kind of “beloved community” that I want to live in. As Pastor Ben told me recently over coffee, “This election exposed how fragile democracy is, and how fragile the church is. This current moment has exposed the fact that we can’t control much at a national level. So we must build the kingdom in local ways.” Specifically, what Ben means is that, according to Grace’s reformed theology, not all will be razed in the End Times; part of the work we do today builds the kingdom to come. At church, my daughter and I are immersed in a kind of Christianity in which we are loved and taught to love others. Outside of church, during our Sunday trips to the zoo, or doing the dishes together at home, reading books snuggled on the couch, and singing Joni Mitchells’ “Circle Game” before bed, I try to model for my daughter a different kind of Christian masculinity than Trumpist masculinity. Perhaps, this kind of intimate, paternal work is kingdom-building.

Read the entire piece at Religion & Politics.