What do we do when the U.S. president spews racism during a weekend Twitter tirade?
We may need to give ourselves a moment first.
We grow so numb to President Trump’s rhetoric after a while, with the firestorms of his frequent tirades burning up our emotional responses until we become numb.
But after we catch our breath, and after accepting the fact that this president is spreading racism again, then we are positioned to consider a response.
What might this mean for those who are pursuing the Way of Jesus, for those caught up in the Christian movement?
How might we respond to the national conversation about racism this time? What might we do to advance the cause of Christ in this current milieu?
Allow me to share three suggestions about teaching opportunities presented to us by Donald J. Trump.
- Talk with our children.
Whether you have wee ones at home or if yours are grown and launched, it’s a great time to talk with our children.
It will surprise some that very young children will be in touch with Trump’s comments, at least tangentially.
They may hear their peers on the playground yelling and telling others to “go back where they came from.” Any child old enough to engage social media is well aware of Trump’s racist remarks.
So, this is a great time to talk with them about your values. Please tell them this is not the way decent people behave.
Please tell them we follow Jesus who exercised respect for all people because all are created in the image of God.
Please tell them Donald Trump is not a good role model. Encourage them not to grow up and be like Trump.
Remind them there is a better way; that what they are learning at church is real and actionable and preferable.
Remember, too, that young children won’t remember another president. Share with them that Trump is an aberration, that most presidents have not been overtly racist.
Share with them that aspiring to be the president doesn’t mean they have to become like Trump. The presidency can still be a viable way to serve people while also being a basically decent human being.
- Talk with our peers, colleagues and fellow disciples.
When we scratch below the surface, most of us are aware of latent racist thinking buried in our brains.
Talking with others who can engage the race subject with us can help us uncover our racism, bringing what’s dark into the light of Christ.
What if a black president were to make the same statement as did Trump? How would that change our thinking and responding?
This is a great opportunity to dialogue with others about racism in this U.S., surfacing questions like this.
Of course, it takes mature people to do this well. Mature or not, it’s a discussion begging for attention this week.
Don’t let this golden opportunity to exhume our latent racism pass us by. Regardless of who the president is we can discover a better way through dialogue with those we know.
- Do something different.
Anger is not the only response available to us after hearing Trump’s racism (again). Why did God give us the emotion of anger? One useful purpose is to alert us to injustice. Our morality rises up, energized by anger, instructing us to do something.
So, today, let’s do something different – and more. Rather than simmering all day, let’s look for those who are racially different from ourselves. Let’s reach across the cultural boundaries, engaging one another.
Though we have a racist president, we don’t have to follow his role modeling. We can live a better story. We can live as followers of Jesus who taught us that even Samaritans (symbolic of an unacceptable person) can be good.
So, let’s reach out and be the change we hope to see in this whacked-out world.
That’s being a disciple. That’s living in the flow. That’s “Disciple Flow.”
Through the grace, power and love of Jesus Christ, may it become so.
Mark Tidsworth is president of Pinnacle Leadership Associates.