You are the change

The cover of a Norwegian newspaper the day of the election. Showing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
The cover of a Norwegian newspaper the day of the election.

My friend Jay made an interesting comparison between the American election and the Israel described in the Bible (or the Tanakh). The First Book of Samuel describes Israel as nomadic tribes. They had the Ark of the Covenant, a gold-covered wooden chest that according to the tradition contained the two stone tablets of the ten commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. This reminder of the pact between God and the Jewish people was a very holy object and only a select few could handle it. It was like a magical object, and when the Philistines stole it, it was as if God had been taken from the Jewish people.. Israel got the ark back, but they were still dissatisfied.

Israel didn’t have a king, but God filled that position, while the prophet Samuel was the last in a line of judges that had been the link between Israel and God. The people demanded a king, which was a sign they didn’t trust God. They wanted a physical person telling them they didn’t have to do anything themselves. God told Samuel to give the people a king, but he had to explain what that involved first. It meant that the king would require servants to provide a wide range of services, and the people would have to pay tax. The people still wanted a king, but Saul turned out to be a bad idea, and he was replaced.

The Americans are not in a unique situation, but that’s where it’s the most obvious at the moment. It’s about a human need to be taken care of. It wasn’t the people’s responsibility to change America eight years ago. That was Obama’s job. Many are sick and tired of the political elite now, and they voted for the candidate that promised to do something about the political corruption. People are still worried about the unknown, and many are worried about what Donald Trump will do. The most worrisome is still the fact that media, in Norway as well, preferred Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump was seen as the plague we had to avoid at all costs. When the plan failed the shock was even greater.

Change has to start with ourselves, and we have the same problem in Norway. We have had mostly Labour-governments since World War II, possibly exactly because we want others to make decisions for us. We have a rare right-wing government now, and people are predictably calling for a return of the socialist saviour. I admit that there are many troubling things about Trump, but it remains to be seen what he will actually do. I have a Facebook friend that shared something a friend of her had written, and he demanded that Trump voters revealed themselves and justified their support for Trump. That’s something I might write about later because how would you justify voting for Hillary Clinton?

We can’t expect authorities to adopt change. They have to contribute of course, but we can make major changes ourselves. We have a responsibility. The Americans don’t have to wait for Washington and I don’t have to wait for Oslo. I think it would actual be hard for governments to change things if we don’t start with ourselves. We are the change.

I can’t take credit for these ideas. I mentioned Jay as a source, and one of her friends, Phil Fletcher, is being the change in Conway, Arkansas.


2 thoughts on “You are the change

  1. Beautiful! Yes!
    Change begins with the individual.

    Interestingly, the problem you illustrated…our need to be cared for, and our refusal to let God do it His way…is outlined in Genesis 3, when the Lord told the people they should not eat from the tree of “knowledge of good and evil.”

    In my mind, the choice we have been given is to either look to God for direction on how to care for one another and manage the world OR try to gather enough knowledge on our own and see how well that works for us.

    Apparently, doing it on our own is not working out so well.

  2. And no “king” or “queen” can save us. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords already did that. In that passage in I Samuel, chapter 8, when Samuel went to God with the Israelite’s request, God told him that the people weren’t rejecting Samuel, but God himself. They did not want God to rule over them, but rather a king like other nations.

    And thus, today, the “American church” wants a king to rule, to bring in the kingdom of God through the political process, in the hopes they can therefore save their nation. We would be better off to consider II Chronicles 7:14. But we idolize a nation, its political processes, and flawed humans those processes produces. Instead of doing what Jesus told us in Matthew 28: “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded.”

    Sadly, the American “church” is following the example of those in Jesus’ time, who want an earthly kingdom, and will reject Christ in order to preserve their nation.

    for these words, I think some would consider me a “heretic.” Such is the mindset of our times….

    “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”

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