For letter writers beseeching the Almighty to please hurry up and make Mike Nunn pray the sinner’s prayer or walk the Roman Road, or whatever the latest trick is for getting past St. Peter and the Pearly Gates, take a break from your earnest lamentations and look around. Notice all those empty pews? Brothers and sisters, the salvation of Mr. Nunn is hardly Christendom’s biggest problem. Your more immediate concern should be that your fellow saints are fleeing the evangelical church in record numbers. And once the over-65 demographic has been recycled back into the dust from whence they came, the exodus will only accelerate. Bigly.
What to do? Putting more baristas in church lobbies won’t staunch the stampede for the exits. Rank hypocrisy is the real culprit, especially among the loudest leaders of America’s evangelicals – the incessantly-quoted Junior Jeffress and William Franklin Graham III and Junior Jerry Falwell for starters. These are just a few of our gilded rat-catchers – bible-thumping pied pipers are legion in this neck of the woods. From pulpits and cable channels across the land, name-it-and-claim-it prosperity prophets shamelessly peddle the ludicrous idea that Donald Trump is a holy man, divinely appointed to be our national exemplar of Christian piety. He cares deeply. He will make America great again.
Is it any wonder that churches are emptying? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a theologian to understand that Trump’s daily barrage of bombastic tweets do not reflect the sweet spirit of that ancient Galilean. Remember the little ditty we used to sing in Sunday school? “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Clearly that Jesus is a snowflake! In the new gospel according to winning is everything, that Jesus is a weak loser. Loser!
As for the fate of Mr. Nunn’s soul, let’s leave that in the metaphorical hands of God, if there is one. Whether she does or does not want to save our friend Mike, all the fervent prayers of all the self-righteous Christians in all of Garland County aren’t going to change her mind. Or his mind, or their mind, or whatever God really turns out to be (or not to be, that is the question!). So why not get up off your knees and do the really important work instead, like seek justice with mercy, feed the hungry and clothe the naked, shelter the homeless and welcome the strangers among us? Trump would rather build a wall, but Trump is not Jesus. Not even close.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
PS – see https://bit.ly/2pC2xUX for more information about the dwindling numbers of white evangelicals in “Christian America.”