As trauma, paralysis and anguish envelope some people upset by the election of President Donald Trump, three ministers offer advice to believers to overcome feelings of helplessness.
The Rev. Kelvin Sauls, pastor of Holman United Methodist Church; the Rev. Eddie Anderson, pastor of McCarty Memorial Christian Church; and the Rev. Dr. Anthony B. Pinn, professor of religion at Rice University in Houston, Texas recently shared their thoughts on the role of the church in the era of Trump.
While all agreed that the people’s anxieties are understandable and should be listened to, the preachers were united in recommending prayer and action as ways to alleviate the pain.
“This is the same democratic process that gave us Barack Obama, so we have to recognize that although hate and fear won this election, the beauty is that it is not the last word,” said Pinn.
“We must give folks an opportunity to mourn loss, be empathetic and sympathetic and listen. Give folks an opportunity to feel what they feel. But, I’m also reminded of what Frederick Douglass said that he felt the value of prayer most with his legs. Ultimately, we have to move beyond mourning to moving. We have to do something.”
Sauls, who combined the words Trump and hypocrisy to coin ‘Trump-ocrisy,’ encouraged believers pray with their eyes, heart and ears open to learn the will of God and to remember the experiences of African Americans in U.S. history.
“What keeps me going is to look at what my ancestors went through who were able to still endure. That’s the shoulders I stand on during this time. I recall the vision and values of our beloved people in righteous kingdom of God,” said Sauls.
Anderson added, “There is a time for lament. People need to feel with their whole body what the election meant to them and they’re not okay, but you just can’t stay there. After that, we must see what are the tools we have to move forward.”
Preparing for the next steps on the political front, the faith leaders urged believers to take part in the 2018 elections for U.S. Senators and Representatives. To those reluctant to participate, Pinn suggested, “We have to start with the reminder, ‘If you don’t vote, this is what you get.’ There’s a moral and ethical obligation to try to create the world in which we live.”
The ministers also attended the 39th Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Lectureship sponsored by Claremont School of Theology and the Pan-African Seminarians Association on Feb 7. The event recognized Bishop Charles Wesley Jordan and the launching of an endowed scholarship in his name for African American students called to congregational ministry. Pinn, the author of several books on African American theology and humanism, delivered a lecture at the MLK dinner.