A Post-election Memo To Self: One Christian's Effort To Cope

1. You say you're a Christian, and that your horror at Trump's election is because his behavior and opinions are at cross purposes with the Faith. So start acting like you believe what you say.

2. Oppose Trump by speaking truth to power rationally, kindly, and firmly, not by indulging in emotionally satisfying but unseemly harangues. Be willing to make sacrifices.

3. Avoid the spiritual fecklessness of self-righteousness. You're not a prophet. That's way above your pay grade. Learn to listen instead of talk. And I mean really listen instead of simply treading water until it’s your turn to speak.

4. Really listening means not only hearing what someone says, but also heeding my own responses to what’s being said. Why am I reacting the way I am? Is my response reasonable and charitable, or is it motivated by deep-seated political, social, or religious biases? What’s getting in the way of my listening in an open-hearted and open-minded way?

5. Recognize that self-righteousness, the narrow-minded confidence that I’m right and everyone else is wrong, isn’t the same as righteous indignation. People who have been targeted by Trump—women, minorities, Muslims, vets who suffer from PTSD, persons with disabilities, and immigrants—are perfectly warranted in their moral disapproval. Such disapproval, from a Christian perspective, is not only morally justified. It’s scriptural, and hence genuinely righteous.

6. As a tonic against the poison of self-righteousness, recognize that in some ways Trump is your shadow-self. Have you never in your life had Trumpish thoughts, even fleetingly, about women, minorities, adherents of other religious traditions, etc? Are you such a saint? Nonsense.

7. Accept that your opposition to Trump means also doing something about your own Trump tendencies. The two tasks aren’t mutually exclusive.

8. Confess and repent your complicity in not doing more to make the culture one that's less receptive to Trumpism. Your hands aren't clean, if in no other ways than that as a white straight man, you’ve been less affected by and hence less receptive than you should have been to the hardships of others. But you know—don’t you?—that your hands are dirty in other ways as well. You’ve actually profited, albeit indirectly, from the misery of others.

9. Pray for Trump, his followers, and everyone threatened by his election, but not in a holier-than-thou way. Pray out of a spirit of compassionate grief, holy longing, confessional humility, and patient trust.

10. Repeat #9, ceaselessly.

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