trading places - the united church gets it right - and I am grateful...

I have made it clear over the past 18 months that I see the Trump movement as akin (but not identical) to the rise in fascism in what became Nazi Germany in the 1930s. I am not flip nor facile with this analogy. There are significant differences in the 21st century versions of the current authoritarian populism that is rising to the surface in Western democracies and we should not blur the truth to bolster our emotions or advance our partisan politics.

At the very same time, however, let us not be blind or optimistic about this moment in time. Neither let us be pious or sentimental about the office of the President of the USA. Our German relatives chose to excuse, ignore and appease National Socialism in the Wiemar Republic only to act stunned at the deadly consequences.  One of the Christian spiritual disciplines that mature believers practice is "saying yes and saying no." Understanding that we must take a stand beyond propriety from time to time, we let the Cross clarify that our stand will not be driven by fear or self-aggrandizement. Bonhoeffer spoke of Jesus as "the Man for others" and that must always be our standard for evaluating our yes or our no.

My church, the United Church of Christ, released an on-line video today that speaks to this challenge. It is entitled, "Trading Places." It is not coincidental that it was released just two days before the Trump inauguration. It may be the best gift the national church has given to our nation in decades. Today I give thanks for this strong, tender but boldly clear-headed invitation to compassion and solidarity in these trying times. Please share with abandon.


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