Viewing a few clips of Donald Trump and realizing that he has millions of Americans cheering him on, I wonder, does anybody in the United States stop to
question the underlying values that so many Americans seem to swallow without thinking?
I’m talking about what I call the Alpha American Achievement culture. Go, go go! Win, win win! Be Beautiful! Be Successful! Be Great! Be Powerful! Positive Thinking! Beat the other guy! You can do it!
Putting a braying windbag like Donald Trump up as a candidate for President?
Far be it from me to rain on anyone’s parade, but I find it all discouraging and exhausting and I remember why I ran away from home to go live in England. However, it is not only that this mentality is exhausting, but that, from a Catholic point of view it doesn’t really fit with gospel values.
There’s very little in the New Testament about being winners. Instead it’s all about crosses and the paradoxical truths that God’s glory is revealed not in strength, but in weakness. The New Testament echoes with readings about the foolishness of the gospel, the weakness of St Paul and the lowliness of the Christian calling. So St Paul writes to the Corinthians:
What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given, how can you boast as though it were not? Is it that you have everything you want – that you are rich already, in possession of your kingdom, with us left outside? Indeed I wish you were really kings, and we could be kings with you! But instead, it seems to me, God has put us apostles at the end of his parade, with the men sentenced to death; it is true – we have been put on show in front of the whole universe, angels as well as men. Here we are, fools for the sake of Christ, while you are the learned men in Christ; we have no power, but you are influential; you are celebrities, we are nobodies. To this day, we go without food and drink and clothes; we are beaten and have no homes; we work for our living with our own hands. When we are cursed, we answer with a blessing; when we are hounded, we put up with it; we are insulted and we answer politely. We are treated as the offal of the world, still to this day, the scum of the earth.
I love St Paul. He’s actually being sarcastic here. He’s making fun of the Corinthians, who clearly,were all wrapped up in power plays and the way of the world. “Ooooh” he says, “You guys are so smart, but me, I’m just a holy fool, a clown for God. You are celebrities. I’m a nobody.” You can just hear him writing to modern Americans, “Wow! You guys have really done it! I mean, talk about superpower of superpowers! You’re rich, you’re beautiful, you’re smart. Geesh! Good going! And me, I’m just a blue collar guy, mostly out of work and homeless, but I’m chugging along. Trying to do my best you know?”
Wouldn’t you like to see St Paul in a debate with that jerk Donald Trump? Continue Reading