It’s been barely a week since Donald Trump took office as the new President of the good old US of A. (There’s no escaping Trump, not even in a parish blog in faraway Finland.) The newspapers are full of worrying articles about his plans, and endless speculation about what they will mean for American and for other countries. Meanwhile similar events are unfolding in Britain, which is heading for Brexit, something which every major political party, financial body and international organisation warned against.
How does one react to such events? There are numerous options, some of which depend on whether you live in those countries or not. Here are a few: (1) Bury your head in the ground ostrich-style. (2) Keep Calm and Carry On. (3) Pray. (4) Feel sad or angry. (5) Take action, eg. through social or political activism. (6) Move to a small country far away. (7) Vent your feelings in Facebook to people who are on the same wavelength as you. (8) Get to know people who disagree with you, and seek common ground with them. (9) Get to know people who disagree with you, and try to persuade them that they’re wrong. (10) Read up on history to see how previous generations found ways of coping in adversity.
How should a Christian react to such events? When faced by dilemmas I’ve heard American Christians ask the simple question ”What would Jesus do?” This is a fair question. What would Jesus do? Jesus commented at times on social and political questions. He even reacted with anger (”holy rage”) when he cleansed the Temple of the moneychangers. We are told that he sometimes felt sad or troubled, even cried. He certainly did not hide from problems, avoid people who disagreed with him or merely seek the safe company of his disciples. On the contrary, he debated with the pharisees, talked to foreigners, ate with prostitutes and tax-collectors, and even went out into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. He was frequently outside his comfort zone.
Perhaps we, too, should step outside our comfort zone more often, however difficult it may be. At the same time we should never lose sight of what is right and wrong.