“I Could Never Vote for Trump!”

I have heard a lot of people say recently, “I could never vote for Trump.” I agree. I could never vote for Donald Trump to be my pastor, my church’s Sunday School superintendent or Boys and Girls Club leader. But, here is what you need to know. He’s not running for any of those offices.

I find Trump’s “tweets” annoying, his personal lifestyle unacceptable and his hair atrocious.  But those issues rank pretty low in my consideration of a candidate. What interests me most of all are the political and moral issues which a candidate supports. While there are things I don’t like about Mr. Trump, I applaud his stand on issues. Show me another candidate who embraces the sanctity of unborn human life, who supports the nation of Israel, who appoints conservative minded Supreme Court Justices and who supports the rights of citizens as stated in the Second Amendment, and I will consider giving that person my vote.

If you are going to disqualify Trump from consideration as our nation’s leader, then forget about honoring George Washington who owned over a hundred slaves or Thomas Jefferson who had sex and bore children with his slaves, or Benjamin Franklin who was a flirtatious and unfaithful husband, or Abraham Lincoln whose Emancipation Proclamation applied only to the southern states, leaving slavery to continue in the north, or John F. Kennedy who was having an affair with a Soviet spy when he was assassinated, or Lyndon Johnson, another womanizer, or Richard Nixon who was a foul mouthed liar, or Bill Clinton who was having sex (or something) with Monica in the Oval Office. Did I mention Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. whose birthday our nation celebrates annually? His extramarital affairs make Clinton look like a choir boy by comparison!

I am not writing to “dis” these national leaders. They did some good things. But they weren’t perfect. Nobody is. I don’t judge presidential candidates based on their lifestyles, personal choices or moral compromises. I judge them on the basis of what they have done or are doing for our country. Some politicians in Washington D.C. manage to hide their personal lives and moral compromises better than Mr. Trump. His are right out there in the open for the world to see…and criticize. But one thing is sure about Trump; you see what you get. He is certainly not the pristine example of moral uprightness. But he is doing a better job at keeping his campaign promises than many others who have occupied the White House. Twenty years after congress voted to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump had the … well, courage to do it.

Many great men of history have blots on their personal records, but we remember and appreciate them for what they did, not necessarily for who they were. Americans have the right to cast their ballot for a candidate who supports a woman’s prerogative to terminate the life of her unborn child, redefines the meaning of “marriage,” and subverts the original meaning of our nation’s constitution. There are lots of those candidates to choose from. But whether Democrat or Republican, that’s a person I could never vote for!

Oregon Ducks Rose Bowl Winners! But there is more to the story.

The University of Oregon fighting Ducks were victorious over the Wisconsin Badgers in the 106th Rose Bowl football game. The fourth quarter was the most exciting part of the game as the both teams fought for the victory. The Ducks and the Badgers were pretty evenly matched, with Oregon squeezing out one more point than Wisconsin. The final score was 28-27. Whew!

Without wanting to take anything away from Oregon’s hard earned win, I was disappointed in how the game finished. The Oregon team walked to the scrimmage line, got in position for a play. It looked as though the Ducks were going to kick. But when the clock started and the ball was hiked, they quarterback took a knee, put down the ball and walked away with 30 seconds left in the last quarter.

As the clock continued ticking, the team began celebrating. Fans started pouring out onto the field. Water was dumped on the coach’s head. All this while the official game clock continued ticking away the final seconds of the game.

People who know more about football than me are quick to explain. They say that the Ducks didn’t want to start another play with the risk of turning over the ball and giving Wisconsin a chance to score. Other say that the Oregon team didn’t want to risk another play which might result in injury. OK, I get it. Still, even as an Oregon alum and Duck fan, I believe it was wimpy to quit playing the game before it was officially over.

What lesson did the finish of the game have for me? Eighteen months ago I concluded my forty-year career as a professor at Western Seminary. Although I still enjoyed teaching the Bible, I knew that there were others who could do the job equally as well. And they were ready and waiting their turn. In addition, I wanted to leave my teaching post before I ran out of steam and someone suggested that it was time to move on.

So I am officially “retired.” But I really don’t like that word. My game is still on. The clock is still ticking. And I plan to keep playing. I still have sermons to preach, books to write, lectures to teach and disciples to mentor. I don’t plan to spend the next decade of my life coasting to finish line of my life. I want to finish strong and finish well.

I have been in enough marathons to know that the last six miles is the toughest part of the 26-mile race. Plodding along with blistered feet, hungry and thirsty from pushing my way through the first twenty miles, I have wondered, “why am I doing this? I am not going to win. Who cares if I finish?”

But in spite of how I feel or how badly my legs ache, I know I have to finish the race. I will stop at the finish line, and not before. It would be easier to stop running and disappear into the crowd of spectators. But my family would be surprised and a bit disappointed. Most importantly, I would be disappointed in myself.

I don’t know how many more minutes, hours, months or years there are left in my game. Someday the Lord will blow His whistle and stop the clock. But until that day, I will be playing hard, playing to win, giving Satan some hard knocks and doing all I can to advance the kingdom of God here on earth. The mighty Oregon Ducks won the 2020 Rose Bowl football game. But they didn’t finish strong. They didn’t fight until the clock stopped. They coasted into the finish. They started the victory celebration before the game was officially over.

I hope and pray that by God’s grace, I will still be in the race, pushing hard in the marathon of life until I cross the finish line and the clock stops.