Monday, January 16, 2017

I thank God for Donald Trump

Back at work today. Great holiday - thank you, Lord. Some bits of the holiday will appear in subsequent postings. The Hell Hole of the South Pacific. Going to church with Bill English. Joy of cricket.

More than a little facetiously: the (continuing, informative, lively, provocative, profound) discussion on this blog over recent weeks since my last post and in the absence of new posts has inspired me with the thought that I need never post again ...

But the best news for this blog, really, is the ever present Donald Trump in the media, mainstream, social, you name it media. He is and will be the gift that keeps on giving to bloggers, reporters, Tweeters and dinner table conversationalists. However this is a Christian and Anglican blog, so my comments about Donald Trump or spurred on by the same, will try to have a Christian and Anglican angle to them. For starters, today, and to ease my way back into blogging for 2017 - the tenth year of ADU - I will list the reasons why I (at least) can thank God for Donald Trump.

(1) As already stated, he regularly furnishes new material for blogs. (But, Donald, if you are reading this, could you please tone it down a bit. How about one new thing to respond to each day rather than each hour?)

(2)  He is (sometimes) fun to observe and even more fun is observing the people straining to find the good in him, only to find with the next revelation that he is a complete [you fill this bit in]. And for those readers here who think there really is a lot of good in him, note the ways in which his new cabinet picks try to dial back his more outlandish thoughts (especially on hugging Russia) and how allies are genuinely concerned he might give away secret agent names to the Russians.

(3) More importantly, Trump's very divisiveness is challenging us all in respect of values, attitudes and actions. Christians and non-Christians alike: who do we serve? what do we stand for? who matters in society? who is neighbour, enemy, alien and how will we love them? Talk is cheap. Trump's era will demand action from the chattering classes of Western societies.

(4) Despite all the "post-truth" naming of this new era in politics, I think we are going to find ourselves re-searching for plain truth and, consequentially, recalibrating our ability to call a lie a falsehood. But that journey will be tough and for a time we are going to be very confused about what is and is not true, who is and who is not reliable as a truth teller and as a discerner of lies. (Dust off those Orwellian volumes, 1984 and Animal Farm: essential guides for an era in which we are not certain whether Trump is a muppet or a puppet of Putin or whether Putin is playing a shell-game in which his greatest success is that we think Trump is his poodle when in fact he is not. Though he keeps Tweeting as though he is ...

(5) I think I said something about this last year, but Trump is illustrative of a significant way in which God's judgment is worked out in the course of history. Trump is precisely the president the USA and the West deserve when we have followed the devices and desires of our own hearts, lapping up immoral entertainment from Hollywood and its satellites and worshipping in the citadels of consumerist capitalism. We will focus on the latest Tweet from Trump but we should be focusing on why we have Trump and whether we can or cannot stem the rot which is killing Western civilization. (Memo to ourselves: the best way out of the inexorable judgment of God is through repentance.)

(6) Trump will re-focus our attention on the Book of Revelation. Most of the time this book makes no sense, save for some sense that "at the end of time" it will make sense because at that time The World Will Turn To Custard in Bizarre and Terrifying Ways. Maybe that time has come. (Expect a post or two on Revelation 13-17!)

(7) This may sound a bit perverse, but I think the world has been heading towards a major war for some time (think: China, Russia, Middle East, with or without American involvement) and rather than this time dragging on for decades through this century, just maybe Trump will hasten the day of culmination. I pray it might be largely a cyber and economic war, rather than a guns and bullets war.


liturgy said...

Am I correct, Peter, your first blog post was October 11, 2007?
God continue to bless your mission and ministry online (and offline)!
And all those who gather in the community around this site.


Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Bosco
Yes, that date is correct.
I was just a teenager then :)

BrianR said...

"(7) This may sound a bit perverse, but I think the world has been heading towards a major war for some time (think: China, Russia, Middle East, with or without American involvement) and rather than this time dragging on for decades through this century, just maybe Trump will hasten the day of culmination. I pray it might be largely a cyber and economic war, rather than a guns and bullets war"

- Interesting punditry, Peter. But I think you need to be looking at Europe this year as well. France and Germany and the impending implosion of the EU ...

Peter Carrell said...

I rule nothing out, Brian, and the two countries you mentioned have, erm, form, when it comes to WWs!

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter.

"(But, Donald, if you are reading this, could you please tone it down a bit. How about one new thing to respond to each day rather than each hour?)"

This is actually strategic. He has the MSM running around in circles chasing every little thing he says instead of focusing on serious policy issues.

"and even more fun is observing the people straining to find the good in him"

I don't need to strain at all. Neither do the folks in the Rustbelt who have, even before he is officially Pres, seen thousands of jobs announced as businesses reverse plans to move to Mexico or announce new investment and jobs on the basis that a Trump USA will be far more business friendly, in terms of tax and regulation, than Obama's.

"Trump's very divisiveness is challenging us all in respect of values, attitudes and actions."

Personally I found Obama far more divisive, and dangerously so. But any politician worth anything will be divisive to a degree.

The prophets and Jesus were certainly very divisive.

"Despite all the "post-truth" naming of this new era in politics,"

Meh. Liberal globalists invented this silly term after Brexit to try and explain to themselves why ordinary folks did not vote the way the Davos Man wanted. It reeks of the very arrogance that is bringing about their downfall.

"the best way out of the inexorable judgment of God is through repentance"

Agreed, though it may also help to re-build the walls of "Jerusalem", or in our case, the borders of the West!

Welcome back Peter!

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Shawn!
When I write about Donald, I am always conscious that you and some other readers see more good in him than I do :)

Andrei said...

"More importantly, Trump's very divisiveness is challenging us all in respect of values..."

Donald Trump is only divisive because the anointed candidate didn't win for which the heavens be praised because DT will hopefully avoid WW3 whereas with Hillary Clinton that result was inevitable

As a parting gift Barack Obama has moved 4000 more troops into Poland to escalate tensions in the Baltics.

"This may sound a bit perverse, but I think the world has been heading towards a major war for some time (think: China, Russia, Middle East, with or without American involvement) "

The funny thing is that the USA under Barack Obama has bombed at least seven sovereign nations in violation of international law

Russia has only bombed in Syria acting in accordance with international law and China has bombed no one

As you say we live in a post truth world - Russian aggression is responding to military build ups on its borders by moving military assets within its on borders


Anonymous said...

"Donald Trump is only divisive because the anointed candidate didn't win"

Trump's first speech on election night was a call for unity and a statement that he would govern for all Americans.

The response from Hillary supporters, the Democratic Party, and the Left in general has been hysterical emotional meltdowns, violent protests, violent attacks on Trump supporters, ludicrous conspiracy theories about Russia hacking the election, claims his Presidency is illegitimate, claims that he is literally Hitler, vows to violently disrupt the inauguration, vows to oppose him without any compromise on every single issue.....

In short, divisiveness, and to a degree that easily leaves Trump in the rear view mirror.

It's different when THEY do it though. Because THEY can be as violent and as divisive as THEY like because THEY are always utterly and totally righteous, and we have no need to think about Christian values where THEY are concerned.

I have seen more violence, threats, and divisiveness from the Democrats and the Left in the last four weeks alone than I have seen in politics anywhere in the West over the last twenty years. Nothing Trump has said since the election comes anywhere near to the divisiveness and violence coming from the Left.

Now all of that really does "challenging us all in respect of values, attitudes and actions", but I wonder if the anti-Trumpists want to have that conversation?

Anonymous said...

'Protesters to Disrupt Trump Inauguration; Plan Blockades, Property Damage'

"Large groups of left-wing protesters will try to sabotage Donald Trump’s inauguration by creating blockades and destroying public property, according to recent reports."

By all means lets have a conversation about values and the election, but if it's just going to focus on Trump, then it's not really a conversation about values at all, just selective and hypocritical Trump bashing.

Andrei said...

The Trump hatred seems visceral - even people who are going to sing at the inauguration are getting death threats.

It is all totally bizarre

And the outgoing administration is doing everything in its power to sabotage his presidency before it begins

He is going to attend an Episcopalian Church service before the inauguration Peter - that should please you

Andrei said...

...and the two countries you mentioned (Russia and China) have, erm, form, when it comes to WWs! Peter Carrell


In both WW1 and WW2 China and Russia were on the same side as Britain and the USA and in both these conflicts Russia was attacked and invaded by Germany

Russia was also invaded by Britain and France in the Crimean war

And Russia was invaded by France during the Napoleonic Wars - Russia responded by taking Paris under Tsar Alexander the first to the great joy of most of Europe in fact Queen Victoria was Christened Alexandrina Victoria in honor of the Tsar because of this

The USA has been almost continuously involved in conflicts since the end of the second world war and since the fall of communism and NATO has expanded east like a rotten necrotic tumour devouring Europe destroying Christianity and sacred institutions like marriage in its wake

The West is not benign or good, it is rapacious, decadent and degenerate and its motives are not benevolent

Ask the Chinese about the Opium Wars - Britain and other Europeans have made war on China but China has never made war on Britain or Europe. The closest you will get to war on Europe from the East is Genghis Khan 800 years ago

BrianR said...

Shawn, I think you are right that the Left has been in hysterical meltdown for the past two months and has been doing all it can to delegitimise the Trump presidency even before it starts. The threats of violence - and the actual violence - are all too typical of the Left which has never been at heart democratic but rather demagogic. It is weird that the Left flings the epithet 'fascist' at its opponents when its own street behaviour is exactly like the mob behaviour of the 1930s.
But I wait in vain for commentary from this site's resident Leftist meteorologist in Brooklyn. Kurt, where are ya? Not headed for DC this Friday?
I carry no candle for Donald Trump. Not by a long shot. But I rather like the smashing up of 'politics as usual' and I agree with Andrei that if anyone was going to start another war, it would be Hillary Clinton.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
Actually I was thinking of Brian's reference to Germany and France!
As for Trump going to an Episcopal church: that is the sweetest and most delicious irony. Is it not?

BrianR said...

What's with your preferred new flag, Peter? A kind of Icelandic-English mashup with four Commonwealth stars? As a certain Oz senator would say, explain, please.

Peter Carrell said...

well spotted, Brian.
It is an old flag, the flag of the Confederation of United Tribes, designed, I was told recently, by Henry Williams, and prompted by the need for NZ ships in 1835 to have a flag when sailing into foreign ports.
It has a certain contentiousness to it.
But, arguably, its history means it should be considered as a possible new flag for NZ.

Anonymous said...

"But, arguably, its history means it should be considered as a possible new flag for NZ."

Ahh, Peter? I hate to be the one to break this to you, but the flag referendum has been and gone. ;)

carl jacobs said...

Amidst what I expect will be the wreckage of the Trump Administration, I expect two bright spots.

1. No more wars of International Do-goodery. The US military does not exist to right international wrongs and re-fashion failed nations. Gareth Evans is free to send the Australian Army on such missions. Other nations that think R2P is a good idea are free to follow suite. The US is out of that business.

2. A re-evaluation of NATO. Which seems at the moment to have no purpose other than to serve as glue for EU expansion. Well that, and Europeans don't actually want to fight. They want to subcontract that job to the Americans. The truth is that (outside of Turkey and the UK) the Europeans are currently pretty much useless in a shooting war. Trump might actually force the Europeans to pull their own weight. That's a good thing because the US has extended guarantees under Article V that are not credible. The US needs to get away from the Russian sphere of influence. It needs to make Russia into an ally instead of an enemy. It can't antagonize Russia simply because Europe wants to push east (under American protection, of course) at Russian expense.

The world is farther from war now. The Cosmopolitan Crusaders of International Lawyerdom have lost the Executive Authority of the White House, so the flash points are less likely to flash. That's a good thing.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn
I am getting in early for the next referendum!

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Ron
Regarding your recently submitted comment: no.
Please do not comment on commenters with suggestions for how they might live their lives.
This is a theological blog not a life coaching seminar!

Anonymous said...

Peter, I thank God for everything. I do not like Donald Trump, do recognize that the election was tainted, and do feel the weight of the concerns of eg Paul Krugman and John Lewis.

But I will not make an exception to the general rule. Since sooner or later a Republican was bound to return to the White House, I also hoped that s/he would be as populist a leader as the badly broken GOP could support. That is, I hoped for a leader who pressed the GOP: (a) to address the material needs of its base from the center-right, and (b) to heal the rift between that base and a donor elite with too much influence. That hope mattered to me more than my vote for Hilary Clinton, and it also matters to me now more than the election shenanigans both here and abroad.

Personally, I would have preferred some contemporary echo of Jack Kemp. I had and still have doubts about Donald Trump's ability to actually learn and do the job. But the actual GOP has followed Donald Trump's broader agenda, and that better defines the space of C21 politics.

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman and all
I see good in Trump (notably his ability to tell the emperor when he is wearing no clothes, e.g. calling out NATO) but I feel that sometimes for every three bits of good there are two bits of bad or for every two bits of good there are three bits of bad.
So the process of hoping and hoping that this will turn out for good is sapping ... and we are not even at the inauguration!
As an "eg" of the bad Trump (and GOP): I am very concerned for Americans who have benefitted from Obamacare suddenly finding themselves without benefit - that will be a "curse" for many who have no other means of paying for needed medical care. Despite loud endeavours to abolish Obamacare, neither Trump nor the GOP has clearly articulated what will replace it.

Bryden Black said...

When confronted - if that is the right word - with the phenomenon - if that is the right word too - of Donald Trump, I am forced by the Spirit of God to ponder all the chapters of Habakkuk and the circumstances that prompted them. And having pondered them a bit, I seek to sit yet again with Mary and ponder the sheer strangeness of our ways and then God’s Ways - such as I marginally ‘get it’ ...

Peter is right: we need the rich dynamic of an Apocalypse (and I use that title/word deliberately, rightly this time) in order to see what is truly going on behind the scenes, and so to live coram Deo as opposed to parading before whatever gallery shouts loudest - whatever gallery!

“Kyrie eleison!” is the liturgical response to the call for repentance, that change of “loyalty”, we perform at the start of any Eucharist ...

Anonymous said...

So far on the tainted by Russia claim I have yet to see a shred of actual evidence. There is none in the FBI/CIA report, just conjecture and innuendo.

I do admire the truly epic faith of anyone who still takes Krugman and/or the NY Times seriously though. I have long since relegated both to the comedy section of news and opinion outlets. I have seen net rumours that Breitbart New Network may sue the NY Times for repeatedly claiming that they are a white supremacist site, a claim which is manifestly false.

'An Obituary of The New York Times'

"Working with the government to suppress stories, covering up election fraud in the ruling party and ruthlessly campaigning against the main US opposition leader, The New York Times has sentenced itself to wither away into irrelevance. Remembered only in history books as a relic of the Cold War, much like its sister newspaper Pravda of the Soviet Union. The New York Times R.I.P."

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,

Reasons no. 11 & 12 to thank God for Trump.

(11) Trump has taken the opportunities that have come his way; won some and lost some.Got up, dusted himself down and moved on.He did not use his political influence to make multi-millions by pay and play.He did not indebted himself to foreign countries; raising the issues of pay back.Nor was his campaign funded by a known globalist and sociopath.Nor was it his agenda to give America's sovereignty to the UN.

(12) He helped the people build a movement to make America great again.He may have stood for the Republican Party and they may have gained the Hose,the Senate and many Governorships; But the Trump Train is a movement of the People.They want a Supreme Court which can read the Constitution and not re-write it.They are sick and tired of Political Correctness.They want a healthcare which they can afford and then get some advantage of being in it.
They want the economy to run for the advantage of the American People and not the Iranians and Mexicans.They want a proper immigration policy.Simply,they want America to be great again,and with the help of good leadership,THEY CAN DO IT.