It’s a fascinating thing to watch Dr. Ben Carson, who rides a bizarre kind of leadership pony, follow happily in the horse tracks and rancid droppings of Donald Trump’s Great White Steed.
His man crush on Trump–who Carson says he endorsed partly because Trump offered him a job in a Trump Administration (and Carson must desperately need a job)–troubles even the good doctor’s dear friend James Robison.
Happy Ben Carson with the “deeply troubled” TV evangelist James Robison (left, with wife Betty).
Robison has been TV evangelizing out of Fort Worth going back to my college days near the Cowtown city. Considering that 95 percent of TV evangelists are shrill, glorified moneychangers who prey on the most vulnerable people for their profiteering and living in high cotton (as we in Texas describe the wealthy), the down-home Robison and his wife Betty stand out as comparatively humble, tolerant and reasonable.
Mind you, my theology and New Testament ethics are diametrically opposed to that of Robison, and any other TV preaching huckster. But his theology at least includes some of God’s attributes that are missing entirely from some of his like-minded, fundamentalist brethren–beginning with the attributes of extravagant grace and tender mercies.
That said, I want to share with you, dear readers, a TV interview Robison did with his friend Dr. Ben Carson. I think you’ll agree that Robison is baffled–really struggling to understand and come to grips biblically with Carson’s lame attempts to justify Trump.
You will notice that many times throughout his conversation with Carson, Robison cites the behavior and language of Trump as “deeply troubling.” Carson fully acknowledges the concern, but promptly pivots to contend that Trump’s raging manner is OK in the big scheme of things.
Shoot, it’s probably part of God’s plan, or so says Carson, who knows the mind of God in a way that most of us are not privy.
Pay attention in Robison’s sit-down with him how Carson will seemingly say anything to justify his friend Trump, who–don’t forget–once characterized him as “child molester.”
Here’s just one excerpt I’ll unpack after you’ve read it:
Robison: The Bible is clear, “iron sharpens iron,” and that implies friction. I see this whole process as that friction, but it seems that when friction comes Mr. Trump’s way, rather than seeking the potential honing and sharpening effect, he tries to discredit, damage and in many ways destroy anyone who disagrees with him. That concerns me deeply.
Carson: It is very concerning, and you notice that was not the tack that I took, but by the same token, the tack that I took was not successful and the tack that he took was successful for him. There is a pragmatism that goes with that. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know the end from the beginning. We think we do, but we don’t. What we have to do is go with it and trust. That’s where faith comes in. If things are not going the way we think they should go and we become disillusioned, we have to recognize that God has complete control. Frequently it’s always the darkest before dawn.
First off, if somebody has any idea what “we don’t know the end from the beginning” means, please clue me in. Carson has a habit of babbling non-sequiters like somebody from a planet yet to be named.
* * *
Now, from his answer to Robison’s concerns, Dr. Carson seems to think that the politics of personal annihilation is just “a pragmatic tack,” and that’s just how politics goes–and–golly gee–why should we expect higher standards from our leaders? We have to be realistic.
He is right, theologically, that God is in control. But I’ve always noticed that this student of the bible Dr. Carson has missed that God’s control depends entirely on our obedience.
The bible tells us how God expects us to respond to Him/Her. Being baptized a Presbyterian, or being a “saved” or “born again” evangelical, is not a license issued by God’s District Clerk to laugh off Ben Carson as “a child molester” because “it’s just a successful political tack.”
It seems lost on Carson that God expects us to respond to him in a way that doesn’t include raging anger to the point of destruction and endless character assassination that Trump thrives on. It hasn’t dawned on him that children and youth are being exposed to this kind of far-out incivility, internalizing all that god-awful rage and incivility. (Whatever happened to electing good role models? Social-Conservative Christians used to have that value on their checklists at election time.)
I sense that Robison is troubled because instead of trusting in God and being obedient to God, it’s obvious to him and many of us that Trump thinks he IS God. There is no discernible smidgen of humility in Trump, and humility as a faith virtue goes back to Moses.
The bible tells us that Moses was God’s guy because Moses was “the most humble man in the land.”
This is Christianity 101. And yet it seems to me that Carson, who is famously humble to a fault, wants so much to hang on to Trump’s coattails–now that Trump is the “presumed nominee”–that he will say anything to get that job and elevate his stature in the Republican Party as part of his legacy of life achievement.
Carson, who often said when he was a candidate that he was running because he wanted to “heal” the nation, has taken a strange tack to healing by embracing Trump.
He is so lacking in his supposed dignity at this point that he will ride that bizarre pony of his behind his buddy Donald’s Great White Steed no matter how low Trump’s path to the White House goes. God only know how low that road will get when the Donald starts spewing his horse droppings all over Hillary Clinton.
But give Carson credit. He knows how to charm the snakes out of the trees, and does, to elevate that aforementioned stature of his. That might be my political cynicism speaking and it might be God’s truth I’m speaking, and in my opinion, it’s the latter. You decide.
Click here for the whole interview between these two ultra-conservative buddies.
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