Identity in the Trump Era

Luke Skywalker asks “What’s in there” as he approaches a scary part of the jungle during his Jedi training.   Yoda responds “Only what you take with you”.  As we head into the scary Trump era, what will you take with you?

“Only what you take with you”

Since Tuesday’s election, article after article tells of people who believe their identity is at risk – or their children’s identities are at risk – with the new regime: they have taken their identities into the jungle.  And we have seen an explosion of new identities, as people struggle to define what and who they are.  How will those identities fare?

In that jungle Luke destroyed what he thought was his enemy Vader.  As Vader’s helmet disintegrates, Luke sees himself, and learns that he created his biggest fear.

A good friend of mine often says, pointing to his head, “When I am up here, I am behind enemy lines”:  when we think ourselves into a position – or an identity – we are in dangerous territory!

Allowing an electoral college chosen by 120 million people to threaten your identity suggests that you may want to hitch your identity wagon to a different horse, because your current horses have lead you into enemy territory!  And as Luke learns, the enemy is NOT Darth Trump.

A Different Horse

As a follower of Christ, my identity is defined by Christ.  “A new creation, The old is gone, the new is come” screams 2 Corinthians 5:17.  After chasing the world’s definition of my identity for too much of my life, I found myself tossed and battered by the experience.  The idea of throwing out that old self and becoming a new creation was refreshing.  And I have never looked back!

This does not mean I have achieved perfection – far from it!  Following Christ reveals how imperfect each of us is!  With Christ as our Proxy we can stop hiding from those imperfections, and, more importantly, stop defining our lives by our ‘strengths’.

Currency of the Kingdom

The currency of Christ’s kingdom has less to do with your strengths than it does with your availability.  The heavy lifting of His kingdom – the stuff that really counts – is work that He is doing.  He asks us to do the simple stuff, like “Love one another“.  This is not “Have fond feelings for each other”, that is really hard to do!  But take action to make the lives of people in your circle of influence better.

And I can confidently say that NEVER is done through a ballot box!  There is no electoral college for love, no love democracy (“2 wolves and a lamb voting on what is for dinner”).  The only currency is making yourself available for your neighbor, regardless if you feel fondly for them or not.

Christ’s answer to the question of government was “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, to God what is God’s”.  If you rely on government to define your identity, you have given Caesar way more than what is his.  The entire story of the Bible is God’s pursuit of YOUR identity:  as a child of God.

“Crazy Jesus Freaks”

The world has painted the people who follow Christ as crazies.  “81% of evangelicals voted for Trump” certainly appears crazy: who would vote for that man, a pompous, foul-mouthed, racist, misogynist, worldly businessman?

We appear crazy because our identity is not swayed by the ebbs and flows of this world.  The ebb of the US government has it more than ever in the identity business:  they want to define your identity.  Most of us have drunk that kool-aid, and know it is a path to individual destruction.  Hillary and her team promised more kool-aid. We will always vote against that.

If your identity is at risk at this time, it is time to hitch your identity to another horse.  It may seem crazy, even scary hitching your wagon to Christ, but like Luke that is a fear you have created in your own mind.

“I Don’t Believe”

Yoda finishes Luke’s training by raising Luke’s ship out of the swamp. “I don’t believe it?!”, Luke says, amazed by the feat.  Yoda responds “That is why you fail“.  Christ can raise your identity ship out of the swamp, and out of the ebbs and flows of this crazy world.  You just need to give Him a chance and believe!