I’m an Australian (and New Zealander) living in Australia and observing, fairly intently, from the sidelines.
My wife and I sat in PMC last October, before election day, and heard Dwight Nelson use the occasion to reassure the congregation that no matter who wins the election God is still in control. He depended on the denomination’s traditional application of Daniel 2. My wife thought that he was actually a covert Republican. Anyway, while the sermon may have lulled many it disturbed me. Admittedly we sang, “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide” to the Welsh tune that was supposedly found in a bottle.
Even so, how could he say what he said while remembering the events in Germany between the world wars and the rise of Nazism there and of Fascism in Italy? No matter what happens, God is still in control! Rather than alerting his hearers to the imminent danger — and to us it was obvious — he was virtually telling us to not concern ourselves by scrutinizing Mr. Trump and the climate he was creating and to not be alarmed about the nation being run by a person who prevaricates, is vulgar, disrespectful. dictatorial, insulting, arrogant. Have I missed anything?
Oh. How about gun control? Weaponry in private hands is being used by citizen against citizen when the Second Amendment was intended for “the security of a free State.” Today the proliferation of guns in the United States is making for insecurity rather than security. Why? Because they are being used by Americans against Americans. Something is radically wrong when the Government goes along with the NRA’s interpretation of this Amendment.
Something is wrong when, even though not requested, the KKK supports Mr. Trump and motorcycle gangs are prepared to protect him on Inauguration Day. And, by the way but very importantly, in all the electioneering where was concern for the wellbeing of the First Americans ever expressed? It seems to me that the very characteristics that marked the Savior with Whom Christians supposedly identify are not much in evidence today in the leadership of the Nation.
So, let’s sing, “Thy true religion in our hearts increase” and mean it. Let’s sing, “Fill all our lives with love and grace divine” and mean it. Let’s sing, “America! America! God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea” and mean it. And let’s not forget that, “Laws, freedom, truth and faith in God came with [our exiled fathers] o’er the waves.”
I’m worried that given the apparent spiritual malaise among American Christians, and especially American Seventh-day Adventists, the United States might soon implode.