Yes, the Bigger Table is Open to Trump Supporters (And No, I Don’t Expect Them)

I recently released my first book called book called ‘A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community.’

It the continuation of my twenty year journey as a local church pastor and online activist, to try and craft spiritual communities where all people are truly welcome—especially those most often excluded based on gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious tradition, nation of origin, or less rigid theology. 

Given the clarity with which I’ve declared my contempt for our current President and my exasperation with those still supporting him, lately I get a fairly loaded but still reasonable question: 

“So, John,” they ask me, “is your ‘bigger table’ open to Trump supporters?”

Well, yes it is—though sadly I don’t expect many of them to pull up a chair or to stay very long and here’s why:

The bigger table as presented in the book, is built on a commitment to four non-negotiables for all those who gather there:

Radical hospitality: Everyone is equally celebrated and effusively welcomed without reservation—because they have the same inherent worth.
Total authenticity: People can be a fully non-edited version of themselves and know that won’t be a deal breaker for their full inclusion.
Real diversity*: Difference in worldview, religion, experience are all not only expected, but seen as necessary and beautiful.
Agenda-Free Relationship: You don’t meet someone with the expectation of changing, fixing, or saving them. You simply listen to their story and count it as equally valid and meaningful as your own.

These are the humanity-honoring preconditions for every person coming to the bigger table we’re building, which is likely problematic for those currently supporting this President—a man whose entire campaign and first year in office have been defined by exclusion; by fear of the other, by the hoarding of advantage, by the marginalizing of the outsider. Donald Trump isn’t just seeking to make the table smaller—he’s trying to legislate out all but the wealthiest and whitest. He’s attempting to buy the table and deny access to the lion’s share of those seeking to be present. 

And this is the crux of the matter: to align yourself with this President (the one of muslim Bans and Mexico walls and healthcare sabotage and Supremacist coddling and LGBTQ condemnation and Dreamer expulsion—is to loudly champion the smaller table, and to clearly declare a vast portion of the world unequivocally uninvited. It is to ratify his contempt for humanity by proxy, and there’s really no other way around it.

To see all that you’ve seen and to still contend that this President has the slightest bit of compassion or decency or competency, points either to a complete lack of sense, of awareness, or of character—all of which make fellowship with real barrier-shattering diversity a tall order. Reiterating this President’s platform and his conduct or declaring it reasonable or normal, in nearly every way takes a chainsaw to the bigger table.

Donald Trump’s steadfast base (composed mainly of white Christians) have never not been welcomed at the table, and that’s why this all will be difficult for them. In order for his proponents to meet people in relationship while upholding those fundamental non-negotiables that affirm the intrinsic worth of disparate humanity—they really have to stand in direct opposition to him. It’s virtually impossible to simultaneously claim alignment with this President—and with a table where equality, diversity, and empathy all get seats. So as much as someone like myself (seeking to be the people of the bigger table) truly extends the invitation to the world, I know that many Trump boosters will not come or stay very long because they are still holding too tightly to prejudice and hatred, to grab hold of what is being offered there: a place where those things are of no use.

Yes, everyone is invited and welcome where the people of the bigger table gather, but those not committed to hospitality, authenticity, diversity, and relationship without religious agenda—probably won’t come. Those who use FoxNews as their primary source of information will likely reject the heart of the bigger table, because they have been indoctrinated to see so many potential table mates as a threat. Given Trump’s dehumanizing treatment of LGBTQ people, Muslims, women, immigrants, and people of color—my guess is that most of his most ardent cheerleaders won’t show up to make those groups feel they’re seen and heard and respected, and that simply isn’t up for discussion.

If LGBTQ men and women aren’t truly welcomed at the table, it isn’t big enough.
If people of color don’t get to be fully present and heard, it isn’t big enough.
If non-Americans don’t have an equal  seat, it isn’t big enough.
If Muslims can’t be there without feeling threatened, it isn’t big enough.
If women are asked to take a lower seat, it isn’t big enough.

This isn’t virtue signaling—it’s unapologetically demanding an equality that has been absent.

The dream of the bigger table is to create  space where no one feels they are disqualified from dignity.
It is a non-partisan, non-sectarian aspiration.
It claims no political ideology and no theology—beyond an apologetic of love that allows everyone proximity.
It isn’t about making America great, it’s about making humanity human.

Yes, the invitation to the bigger table is open to the world—but active violence, discrimination, and bigotry will have to wait in the car because they are not welcome. 

There’s a chair for everyone at the bigger table, but not everyone will want to take a seat—because they’re not used to making room for the world.

And they’re going to need to if it’s going to be big enough.

Trump supporter, consider yourself fully invited—but know what your RSVP will require.

 

*Diversity does not mean tolerating active bigotry or violence against people. The table is big, not because you can say or do any horrible thing you want to, it’s big because all people’s inherent worth is protected—especially those usually marginalized. It will not sacrifice oppressed people on the altar of us tolerating their oppressors.

 

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

43 thoughts on “Yes, the Bigger Table is Open to Trump Supporters (And No, I Don’t Expect Them)

  1. I think the entire notion of “radical hospitality” is one of the most profound, and at-the-heart-of-it, capturings of the essence of the Gospel message.

  2. Oh God…
    Let me always “run breathlessly to the banquet…”
    With my wedding garment ready and sashed!
    In awe and wonder, with unspeakable gratitude, of having been invited…

    Me, one who had turned my back on the King for so long… Doing it my way. With no love or compassion in my cold heart. With nothing but blame and excuses. Diversions and preoccupations too many too count. Gathered from the street corner and called “bad”.

    And at the hall door, I say Yes! Yes! Transform me!

    Please say “yes”… The banquet is great!

  3. Waiting for the inevitable comments about “Agenda-Free Relationship”. There is an agenda, here, John – it’s the agenda of engaging fully with others. It should be the only agenda we follow, but for many it’s a radical manifesto designed to shrink the number of seats at the table for them.

    Life is so much more than a zero-sum game. And we can hold, and benefit from, holding two opposing thoughts in our head at once.

  4. I know I get myself in trouble because I take things too literally, but I have read this twice and still not understanding. Is this a new set of parameters for posting?

    From – not a stranger to being confused and would welcome anyone who would translate into old lady brain language.

  5. excellent post , enjoyed the read. I am a Canadian but also worry as we are the closed neighbour to the USA. Please do not stop being a activist it is truly needed . I Congratulate you for having the
    courage to post each day and to write a book.
    Sending Blessings you way, and following what our
    Lord so clearly said To love one another as I have LOVED YOU .

  6. Are pro-lifers welcome to the table?

    On the one hand, they are “against” women since they want to force a woman to incubate, but on the other hand they are for the millions of unborn of all races who get killed by Planned Parenthood and the abortion mills.

    Or maybe I should ask if the unborn are welcome and if once they are welcomed if they will be protected, even if they are inconvenient.

  7. Thank you for this, I have been feeling an overwhelming sadness over this experience we are having under this leadership. After feeling angry for so long, I now find myself feeling grief over the hatred and exclusion and fear that I hear coming from people. After the hurricanes and floods and fires, I really hoped that we would all be able to see the humans around as fellow-humans, not the enemy. On the ground, face-to-face, nothing has really changed. The homeless are going to continue to be homeless after the floods and fires, while people with resources will rebuild. Communities will still say, sure, go ahead, build the tiny houses for the homeless, just don’t do it in my backyard or my neighborhood or my city. It was a momentary blip in their lives that they were helped, side-by-side, in the shelter with other homeless folks. People on FB have long ago blocked me because I post stuff they don’t want to hear, shutting me out because I don’t fit their narrative. It’s all just so very sad.

  8. So John all people are and can come to the table as long as you’re still preaching against sin. My preacher preaches against fornication, lying, stealing, adultery homosexuality,stealing and those very things that God hates. SIN!! Not the people. People need to hear the truth. The truth is when Adam and Eve sinned it brought evil into this world. That is why people are like they are. God didn’t make us this way he made two perfect people that sinned. Are you still going to preach against these things or are you going to try to make sure everybody feels good. God also wishes that no one would go to hell but he knows because of their Wicked Ways they will. I am all for everyone coming into the church. But as a preacher your job is preach against sin. The act of homosexuality is just as bad as murder and all the other evil that is in this world. Surely I’m not telling you something you don’t already know.

  9. I like John’s post today and the concept of THE TABLE. At one time long ago, I was hoping that this blog might be THE TABLE. It turned out to be a disappointment—if that was John’s original plan several years ago.

    I have no problem at all sitting down with Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals as long as they behave themselves and refrain from launching religiously and politically motivated attacks on other people—including me.

    I know some of you here think that I hate the fundies—but the hallmark of true hatred is that you consistently and honestly— over a long period of time—want to kill them. (I am not talking here about a momentary flash of extreme anger like all of us get on some rare occasions.) That is not true hatred. What Hitler did systematically to the Jews in Nazi Germany is true hatred. I do not wish to kill fundies, throw rocks at their windows, throw them out of their rental homes, deny them food, or refuse to take wounded fundies to the hospital, etc. I suspect that many of them would gladly do that to me because of my Mainline Christian religious beliefs—but while tragic—I understand that. Just like a rattlesnake—a copperhead—a black widow spider—they are the way they are—and most of the ones I have met are as unable to change their true natures as are these species of wild animals.

    Many of you were not here at the time, but I first started the “Flee from Christian Fundamentalism” blog in May 2015 as a direct and hard-nosed response to the many Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals (like Leslie, Matt, Edward, and now Joe Catholic) who were coming to this blog specifically to launch attacks on John Pavlovitz (and destroy his blog) and to launch similar attacks on anyone who dared to express Christian beliefs or nonChristian beliefs that do not line up perfectly with the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical religious and political beliefs systems.

    I had seen this type of targeting and abuse go on for many, many, many years on numerous other on-line religion blogs and forums and in the comment sections at the ends of numerous on-line newspapers, magazines, etc. I had watched very nice, sincere, kind, loving, and well-meaning people be condemned to Hell and reduced mercilessly to tears at the hands of two-bit fundie b*st*rds who claim to love and follow Jesus—but behave in most instances like Satan himself. Consistently, one of the things I noticed for many years is that the poor victims of these fundies—and they were indeed victims—knew so little about the Bible and the fundie belief system that they were unable to defend themselves. They just stood there and took the abuse until they folded into emotional despair or were forced to leave the various venues—never to come back. And to be quite frank about it, I would not be at all surprised to learn that some of them had to seek mental health treatment or even committed suicide as a direct result of the mean-spirited ways in which the fundies treated them. It was just awful and terribly tragic.

    The last straw for me—the very last straw—was when a conceited, condescending, snotty-nosed recent high school graduate who had been raised in a strict fundie church (like IFB) came here to John’s blog looking for victims in May 2015. He was taking some sort of short-term fundie college certificate course that was teaching him how to be a more effective and powerful fundie—and he honed in on me–and me alone—as his target to “try out” what he was learning in his classes—and abuse me—first of all by claiming that I could not possibly be a real Christian because I did not believe everything in the Bible EXACTLY as he did. I guess this last straw was kind of like the anchor man in the famous movie “Network.” I had seen so many kind, innocent, loving, and well-meaning people abused mercilessly by these fundies for so many years that I finally reached this point:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awv8dySZaHE

    I went straight to WordPress and immediately created the “Flee from Christian Fundamentalism” blog to expose and fight against these fundie monsters who claim to follow Jesus—but do it so poorly—because the fundie belief system has transformed them into people who behave like the sons and daughters of Satan.

    So yes. I am willing to come to THE TABLE and make nice with everyone there—even the fundies—because I can indeed tolerate and be nice to people with beliefs different from my own. I do it every day in regular life, and I have numerous friends, colleagues, family member, and acquaintances who are Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals—and we get along just great—probably because we only very rarely talk about religion and politics. I am willing to behave myself as long as they behave themselves at THE TABLE. However—and this is a warning—the first fundie at THE TABLE who gets on their fundie “belief system” high-horse and soapbox—and starts:

    Condemning people to Hell

    Declaring you people are not “true” Christians

    Pointing out peoples sins (because all people have them)

    Attacking my friends and colleagues at THE TABLE

    Attacking me personally and how I believe in the Bible or Jesus

    Attacking John Pavlovitz

    Treating people in an unloving, uncaring, and condescending manner.

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    (1) I SHALL lay your sorry, Satanic fundie ass to WASTE on the spot.

    (2) Leave THE TABLE (because it will no longer BE THE TABLE)

    (3) Continue writing on the “Flee from Christian Fundamentalism” blog for years and years to come—because of YOU—and expand its readership all over the country—and I have a long history of success in many things. In other words. if I really want to do something and put my passion and mind to doing that something—IT HAPPENS.

    Despite the no comment policy on my blog, we still get occasional comments by other avenues—sometimes from fundies. The best comment we have received so far is from a fundie who said:

    “I wish you could understand the enormous damage that your blog is causing to Christianity here at home and around the world.”

    No. My blog is not doing enormous damage to Christianity here at home or around the world. My blog is doing precisely what it was designed to do—cause enormous damage to the pit vipers that inhabit the Satanic little fundie cult that marches around everywhere attacking people, destroying lives, and masquerading as the “true” Christian faith.

    • Charles, do you ever notice that so much of what you post makes a mockery of Mr. Pavlovitz’s words that active violence, discrimination and bigotry are not welcome at the table? You have expressed active violence on more than one occasion even posting a “kill list”. You have used offensive language and called people names. You have singled out certain people to attack – not their beliefs but the actual person or group of people. Your juvenile jokes never hide the cruelty you aim at the person who is the butt of your “jokes”. You have the need to fill your screeds with what I can only describe as a 14 year old’s idea of soft porn. You have encouraged a deliberate months long campaign of libel/lies based on zero proof targeting one person. You proclaim that people who say words you do not like are somehow out to destroy Mr. Pavlovitz’s blog.

      I support a table that allows all voices. We all have a choice to read what we want and ignore what we choose to. If you were ever poked for your threats, foul language, or harassment it was done in a way for you to save face – a grace certainly not extended to everyone.

      I am not attacking you – I feel I am merely stating what I have seen your posts as “treating people in an unloving, uncaring, and condescending manner”. If I am mistaken I am sure you will let me know. You take yourself and your beliefs very seriously. Isn’t that the majority of people here do also? I have certainly not seen anyone here speak to the people that are LGBTQ or any other group of people in the way you speak to so many. Obviously the rules you list do not apply to you.

      I am a rule follower – again, I see things in black and white. A rule should apply to everyone. If it does not it is a bias, not a rule.

      You are very passionate. I see a cruelty in you that is frightening to me and I am truly sorry for whatever has caused your anger and very happy we both are hidden behind our own keyboards. I guess I probably have missed your posts when you are charming. Usually you seem to find joy in hurting others. I hope you can find peace Charles. Again, maybe I have missed your posts where you are joyful just because, or because you are alive, or because you have a son, or because God is love and most people are more alike than they are different.

      Peace, happiness, and rock and roll

      • Sorry—but after that—I have to ask what psychotropic substance you are taking today. I read your post above, and it appears to be bordering on some sort of internally generated hysteria that is detached from reality.

        Rest assured that I pose no physical harm to you or anyone else. I do not have a kill list. On my blog, I do have a list of famous Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical leaders who are very old—so old that they will die of natural causes very soon. That is why I listed their ages. Because fundie enterprises tend to be highly charismatic-central-leader-focused, just like in small religious cults. When the cult leader dies (again by natural causes), their enterprises soon die after them. All I was saying is that in my opinion the world will be a better place when these people are gone—and when their enterprises are gone after them—again purely as a result of natural causes. That hardly qualifies as a “kill list.”

        If I appear to be treating Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals with a good deal of snark, rest assured that all I am doing is feeding back to them the venom and vitriol that they first spewed onto me and many other people when we were mere “innocent waifs” minding the business of Jesus when they so viciously attacked us. What you and they need to learn—I hope—is that they created us in their own image. I and others are the mirrors they may stand before and see their true selves and what monsters the fundie system has turned them into.

        • Charles, drugs have never been my thing even growing up in the 60’s. I am just a boring old lady. I have never read the blog you promote on these pages. I was just commenting on your list of rules for other people listed above. Although my eyes are bad I can still read and I do remember some of your past posts.

          Peace Charles

  10. I love the idea of hospitality, authenticity, diversity & relationships… but already you have so many ‘rules’. Makes me nervous that I might make a mistake, spill my drink, and get yelled at. 🙁

    • I am surprised that you would say this Leslie—especially when your own fundie religious tradition SPECIALIZES in doing precisely those things to nonfundie Christians and nonChristians on a daily basis. Think about that for a while. You have no problem doing it unto others—but you fear someone doing the same unto you. BIG SMILE EMOTICON.

    • Oh leslee m,

      I like your post! Who woulda thunk?

      To me it seems that on some days it is more about who spilled their coffee and less about the actual spilling of the coffee. Oops, I think I spilled some.😮

      Peace leslee m.

    • See what I mean folks. Always dangling a bit of bait on a fishing line for the specific purpose of starting trouble. These people major in it. “Peace” is a dirty word in their lexicon.

  11. I usually, as far as possible, strive to be on good terms with all people, but without surrendering my values or equality and diversity. The problem I see now is that I have to chose between being on good terms with some people by surrendering these values or stand up for these values and not being on good terms with these people. I have not been through any situation like this. When we invite people that are loud and aggressive the rest of us will need to stand united for the equality of each of us. Then if they stay offer to listen to their story and truly listen to them. If they leave be assured we have done right by those of us who are normally marginalized in society that are still sitting at the big table.

  12. “To see all that you’ve seen and to still contend that this President has the slightest bit of compassion or decency or competency, points either to a complete lack of sense, of awareness, or of character—all of which make fellowship with real barrier-shattering diversity a tall order. Reiterating this President’s platform and his conduct or declaring it reasonable or normal, in nearly every way takes a chainsaw to the bigger table.”

    In other words:

    Unless you accept our politics as the gospel and our particular (and peculiar) definitions of morality, you’re not really welcome at our table.

  13. The Religious Right Will Rise and Fall with Donald Trump
    By Jim Wallis 10-19-2017

    President Donald Trump is the logical hero for the “religious right,” judging by how he was welcomed to their Values Voter Summit last weekend. These Christians rallied around the billionaire playboy, political bully, ethno-nationalist, and purveyor of racial bigotry. As a result, he has become the moral definition of their movement.

    The religious right will now rise and fall with Donald Trump.

    Trump is the natural conclusion to how the religious right movement began, and what it has become. When it comes to this movement, the operative word is clearly not “religious” (or even “Christian”), but “right.” (And for the vast majority of “values voters” who are white Christians, the operative word is not “Christian” but “white.”)

    The longest applause for President Trump from the right-wing white evangelicals gathered in Washington D.C. last Friday was when he brought up the flag, not the cross. Those standing and shouting “USA! USA!” were making a clear statement against black athletes who have been protesting racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem.

    Steve Bannon showed up, too, and his revivalist message of economic and cultural nationalism also wowed the crowd, with an altar call to make “war” on the Republican establishment, because “you are the transmission of the best values of the Judeo-Christian West.”

    Bannon’s far-right media platform makes clear what the racial implications of this cultural nationalism are. Of course, the fact that Jewish and Christian values actually abhor the exclusion of other human beings, and hold every society accountable for how we treat the poorest and most vulnerable, was not mentioned. Muslims, of course, were also not mentioned, except for accusations of false religions and implied terrorist threats to America.

    Let’s be clear. “America First” is not just a political statement — it is a theologically heretical statement. The body of Christ is the most international and racially diverse community on the planet, in keeping with the teachings of Jesus’ gospel. But that got passed over for another gospel — that of white American ethnocentrism, a worldview hateful of “others” including immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and black athletes who take a knee. Curiously, Jesus didn’t come up very often at the Values Voter Summit, except tangentially, in Trump’s pledge that everyone will once again say “Merry Christmas” at our shopping centers—where we revere the one born in a manger by lining up for holiday sales.

    “You look in Matthew, and go through the Beatitudes. Every single Beatitude. You go through Jesus’ teaching, what he says he wants people to be. Donald Trump is the antithesis of just about every single thing that Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount.”

    That was Joe Scarborough, a conservative Republican, on his “Morning Joe” show the Tuesday after the president’s weekend appearance at the Values Voter Summit.

    Mike Gerson, former speech writer and policy advisor to President George W. Bush, wrote a Washington Post column on the same subject:

    “When Christians ally their faith with bias and exclusion, they are influencing how the public sees Christianity itself. They are associating the teachings of Jesus Christ — a globalist when it came to the Great Commission — with ethnonationalist ideology…the faithful give standing ovations to the purveyors of division and prejudice. When anything takes priority over the faith, there is a good strong word for it: idolatry. And the word is unavoidable as religious conservatives carry their golden calf into Bannon’s battles.”

    Why did 81 percent of white evangelicals support Donald Trump? The polling shows it was not mostly about abortion, gay marriage, and religious liberty, as some of their leaders suggest. Especially given the Democrats’ extremism on issues like abortion, some of that would be understandable. But those “moral issues” were not the main motivators for the white evangelical vote. Instead, it was guns, taxes, how much they would make from the economy, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment, and anti-terrorist and anti-Muslim visions of national security.

    Fox News seems to have set the white evangelical political agenda, more so than the Bible all evangelicals claim to believe.

    And for that political agenda, the Values Voter Summit decisively showed how the religious right has set aside its own alleged moral values for a political leader who clearly has none at all. President Trump shows us every day that he is devoid of the most basic values of humanity, empathy, respect for others, and basic human decency. The president’s utter lack of empathetic capacity was again painfully revealed this week in the way he politicized the death of fallen soldiers, and turned deep family grief into issues all about himself.

    He is always all about himself.

    Donald Trump is the consummate worshipper of money, sex, and power — to which Christian history has always tried to provide an alternative. Trump literally embodies what Christian ethics and history have been against — and all for a political deal with the religious right.

    A widely-respected white evangelical leader recently expressed to me his personal agony over how “white evangelicalism has destroyed the ‘evangel’ of Jesus — the bringing of ‘good news’ to the poor.” Another leader of a top national evangelical organization told me in a personal conversation that evangelical support of Trump “will destroy our integrity for at least a generation.”

    The issue really isn’t just politics. It goes much deeper than that. Political differences and dialogue and debate is healthy in the Christian community. We are much better as practical independents, who evaluate candidates, parties, and platforms by our Christian values — true “values voters.” But the ideological captivity of white evangelicals, and their conformity to white identity politics, raises the deeper issue of discipleship. White American evangelicals have become “conformed to the world,” as Romans 12 warns us not to do. Rather, we must become “transformed by the renewal of our minds” — what the apostle describes as our “acceptable worship.”

    Faithful discipleship and acceptable worship are now what are most threatened by the false gospel of the religious right and the state-church they are creating for Donald Trump, who is indeed the “anti-thesis” of everything Jesus Christ stands for and calls us to be.

    Jim Wallis
    Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners. His book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, is available now. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis..

    https://sojo.net/articles/religious-right-will-rise-and-fall-donald-trump

  14. Dear John Pavlovitz and Reader:

    The gospel comes to us in many ways.

    What is the gospel in this context? Several things come to mind.

    — Rich young man: Sell all your goods, give it to the poor, and come take up your cross and follow me.

    — The banquet invitation: Of one accord they began to make excuse.

    Christians truly ought to see the how the gospel relates to our times.

    Blessings!

  15. Thanks John
    May our lord and savior jesus christ , bless all who come to the table , open hearts for learning, open minds for seeing truth , and closing doors that lead away from the truth.
    Friend s in Jesus Christ

  16. Good stuff John!
    Interesting in your last paragraph you said; “The table is big, not because you can say or do any horrible thing you want to,—”
    What is profound is that when people are aligned with the acceptance you talked about there simply aren’t any horrible things being said or done because that quality of love doesn’t ever think about words and actions that break that bond of love.

  17. I know a few people, including some relatives, who voted for Trump. As with many Clinton voters, they really didn’t feel they had much of a choice. It’s an awful situation when voters feel they have to select between the lesser of two evils. But, as ugly as American politics has become over the past 20 or so years, that’s where we are right now. I don’t fault any Trump voter for choosing him; that’s a right as sacred as free speech and freedom of religion in this country. There are literally millions of people across the globe who wish they had the luxury of such a dilemma.

    One of my best friends who – from the outside – fits the mold of the traditional Trump voter lamented on Facebook shortly after last year’s elections: “I guess I’m one of those deplorables.” I quickly replied and told him “no, you’re not deplorable. You’re my good friend, and I don’t hang around deplorable people. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are deplorable. You’re not!”

    And I meant every word of that! I still feel that way and would gladly have him over to my house sooner than Trump or Clinton. It’s easy to say all the people who voted for this or that candidate are . It’s tougher to realize the individuals behind those votes are just exercising their First Amendment rights and their selection of a candidate is not all there is to them.

    • Mr. De La Garza

      I agree with your words. Thank you for expressing how I feel. I see such hate and vitriol on both sides. I try to limit my character critiques to our President and his behavior and policies I do not agree with. I take issue with liars and bullies. I don’t see the point of hating millions of people. That is way more energy than I want to expend on hatred.

      Peace Mr. De La Garza

  18. Pingback: Compassion-gate, Trumpers and Jesus, Wealthy Tax Cuts, Sexual Predation – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  19. I just recently happened on to your blog, and I have greatly enjoyed it. I’ve passed it on to numerous friends. It is important to me that you are kind and loving even while being bold and straight forward with your thoughts, opinions, observations, beliefs, values, etc. That is not easy to find, but you do it wonderfully. Thank you for saying Stuff That Needs to be Said (from a place of love).

  20. First off, I’m not trying to attack here, I’m just trying to get a sense of how this concept works. (Full disclosure: I’m an atheist.)

    Your basic point is clear — that in a community dedicated to acceptance, the intolerant can be welcome only if they don’t bring their intolerance in with them, and since they won’t want to drop it, they’ll wind up excluding themselves. But it seems to me that Trump supporters aren’t the only people this will apply to.

    There are vast numbers of Christians, many of them not Trump supporters or even Americans, who are extremely intolerant of homosexuality, of atheism, and of non-Christian religions, or even of forms of Christianity different from their own. Wouldn’t they be just as much asked to check their attitudes at the door? I read Christian websites a fair bit and it’s a common thing in comment threads that if a Christian expresses acceptance toward gays, other Christians will quickly jump in to denounce homosexuality as a sin and the acceptance as a betrayal of God’s law. I’m familiar enough with the relevant passages in the Bible and the intolerance has a solid basis there. Yet the community you’re proposing would presumably not welcome such denunciations.

    Even if the “red letters” don’t mention homosexuality, they do imply here and there that non-Christian religions are false — that “no one comes to the Father except through me” and suchlike. By that standard, Muslims, Jews, pagans, and certainly atheists aren’t expressing a “necessary and beautiful” difference, they’re simply wrong, and probably doomed to Hell for their errors. But again, exhorting them to that effect presumably wouldn’t be welcome in a community of acceptance, even when done by Christians who regard it as their duty.

    So I guess what’s puzzling to me is this — if an accepting spiritual community requires exclusion of prejudices which are rooted in Christianity’s doctrines and sacred text, in what sense is it a Christian community at all? Wouldn’t it have to be explicitly non-Christian in order to work as you describe?

    • Unfortunately, for reasons not at all clear to me, human beings seem to always find ways to start fights with each other. THE TABLE is a wonderful concept as concepts go. My only concern is that human nature may—unfortunately—render such a TABLE unable to function as John desires. Often times two kids—or even two adults—in a simple sandbox are unable to get along and live in peace with each other. That is a sad commentary on the human condition—but certainly one that Jesus understood.

  21. John, I see what you propose at your table versus what the true Gospel requires as being similar, but different in some aspects.
    Radical Hospitality This is found in John 3:16. God invites the entire world to partake in Salvation, no exclusions.
    Total Authenticity God calls us unto Salvation while we are yet sinners. We must be willing to see ourselves as God sees us and agree upon His findings.
    Real Diversity This is where the differences between the two tables abound. The reason for even approaching the Table of Christ vs John’s big table is not based on who takes a seat at the table, but rather the one who calls you to take a seat. When we sit at the Table of Christ, we should be focused on the person who sits at the place of honor and not so much as who sits beside us. When we have that type of focus, our diversity as individuals fades and we celebrate the passing of unrighteousness which overshadows any individual differences we have between ourselves.
    Those that sit at the Table of Christ are called from a diversity of backgrounds, ethnicity, etc. The Table is made up of people who are diverse in individual characteristics but called through a common calling. Christ said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…”, it’s a common component of the Table.
    Agenda-Free Relationship Again, this is different between the two tables. Being called to Christ’s Table requires us to submit to His will. Those that are called to Christ’s Table are called to work together for His glory and honor, in unity and with purpose. This work we are called to do is primarily to change people, their beliefs, the way they see the world, the way they invest in people by telling them of the Gospel. The Gospel changes people, it must. The Table is Christ’s table and it is surrounded by those who have answered that call. If anyone isn’t sitting at the Table, it is themselves that have refused the invite.

    • Edward. Not bad. However, I think your perspective here comes primarily from you religious tradition that sees the Jesus experience as solely a legal “transaction” within a system of legalism. There is far more to the gospel message of Jesus that just that—and that alone. That is my position.

  22. So what you seem to be telling me as a Trump supporter (and one of the reasons is because of the pro-life issue–remember that that inconvenient unborn are not welcome at your table), is that I’m a bigot and a jerk, so that might be a reason that I won’t show up, since you’ve already demonized me.

    What you really need to do at your table is invite everyone and hear them out instead of defining and vilifying those who think differently than you do and instead of telling them what motivates them. How about letting them speak for themselves?

      • P.S. I said that because you have clearly demonstrated here on numerous occasions that you do not really care about the “unborn.” They are just convenient bait that you use to generate a big fuss so you can feed on all the negative emotion that gets aroused—and you know that subject is always a sure bet to arouse the level of negative emotion you need to have in order to dine sufficiently—i.e. feed on a really good meal that fully satiates your hunger. If I were a billionaire, I would be more than pleased to pay for the psychotherapy that you obviously need.

  23. *Diversity does not mean tolerating active bigotry or violence against people. The table is big, not because you can say or do any horrible thing you want to, it’s big because all people’s inherent worth is protected—especially those usually marginalized. It will not sacrifice oppressed people on the altar of us tolerating their oppressors.

    THANK YOU

  24. John, with all due respect, when I was being trained in community leadership in a town that was as diverse as any in America, I was taught that you start with the smallest of commonalities, such as family history, dreams for your children, where your family came from, what their dreams are, etc. What I see that you have done is to count out those who disagree with you right out of the starting gate. That is not my understanding of how people come together to discuss their differences, and it will not work if you set them up the way you have.

  25. Accepting a seat at God’s Bigger Table implies changing our hearts. It means leaving behind our insistence on pursuing the transgressions always whispering to us, the erection of walls to separate us from each other and from God, or the belief that anything we do must be from God and is therefore acceptable in His eyes.
    http://wp.me/p8nXbF-aH

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