I do not publicly speak out often on religion. Not because it can be a particularly controversial and divisive topic, but because I am insecure in my ability to act and speak the theologian, and I cannot represent myself as an expert in this arena. But it seems to me that the great religions, for example Buddhism and Christianity, are in their essence within reach of the people, being living religions deeply manifest in action.
I understand the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ as love generously and liberally given, tolerance of those who are different, kindness to the world and oneself, and forgiveness of those who oppose or hurt us. Jesus Christ tried to teach us to live with a spirit of caring that included everyone, embracing even those we perceive to be the lepers among us.
As I understand it, Jesus Christ forsake pomp and self-righteous sanctimony, favoring humility and encouraging gentle and generous judgements of others. He taught a spirit of inclusiveness.
He did not preach fear, and did not represent the building of walls, real or imaginary. He did not teach that capitalism was more important than love and respect for each other. Just the opposite.
The teachings of Jesus Christ did not advocate divisions of body and soul, hate, distrust, exploitation and shameless manipulation of others for personal gain. He did not teach that rich white males were the “chosen people.”
Jesus Christ taught both with his words and his actions. He tried to set an example for all of us simply through his gentle being.
My urge is to claim that any so-called Christian who stands up, looks at Donald Trump and says “he’s our guy” is a false Christian and a hypocrite. I think that is probably true. But, by remembering the teachings of Jesus Christ, I remember His lessons on judgement and tolerance. Of forgiveness. I remember how difficult it is to live with every single thought and action consistent with His teachings. This is the hard work we all have in front of us. Kind, caring forgiveness. Advocate, but do not hate. Be concerned, but do not fear. Do not yield to the hate and anger, but instead respond with tolerance and understanding.
That is hard work, but if you find it easy I suggest you might need to dig a bit deeper. A few prayers, a bit of tithing, some harmless genuflection, a passing nod to dogma might not be all there is to it.
It is the living that makes it real.
I’m not a theologian (but I play one on Facebook). I do listen and consider the words of at least one individual who knows a bit about theology:
“I am not sure whether we still can vouch for the faith of American Christians, as they need more wisdom looking at the leader they finally elected”, said Pope Francis.