Thursday, January 19, 2017

Between a rock and a hard place

May 20th and 21st brought the Minnesota GOP State Convention close to home in Duluth.  Doug attended as a Delegate, and Brandy and I attended as Alternates.  Hearing that our BPOU needed another Delegate, Brandy and I were giddy one of us would be seated as a Delegate.  Knowing Doug and I were headed to the big show in Cleveland in less than two months, I encouraged Brandy to take the Minnesota Alternate spot.  She had worked long and hard to become a Delegate for Donald Trump, and she had been a die-hard Trump supporter from the day he first announced his bid for the Presidency almost a year earlier. 
It was sweet watching Brandy take her seat as a Delegate to the Minnesota State Convention – a role she took very seriously.  I was grateful God blessed all of us, Doug, Brandy and me, by giving us the ability to become decision makers during a very turbulent political season.

B&B at the Minnesota GOP Convention.

Before the Minnesota Convention started, and knowing I would not be needed on the floor, I joined a group of Trump supporters outside the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC).  We handed out bumper and lapel stickers and yard signs, answered any questions people asked about Donald Trump’s policies, and we were interviewed, filmed and recorded by local and state news reporters. 

Because of the multiple conversations I had with Cruz supporters at the CD8 Convention I was fairly certain Cruz supporters would engage me at the State Convention as well.  Thinking about earlier conversations with Cruz-bots and how they could not or would not see their sin in crucifying Donald Trump over and over again for his sins, God reminded me of John 8 verse 7, where Jesus tells the Pharisees that anyone of them without sin can be first to throw the stone at the sinner.  The next morning as Doug and I walked across our gravel driveway I stopped, picked up a few stones and tucked them into my coat pocket.  I did not hope to use them, but wanted them in case the need arose.  

During all the hubbub at the “Trump Event” outside the convention center a young man came up to me and started asking questions about Donald Trump’s policies.  At first I thought he was sincere in his questioning, so I answered his questions with facts found on Donald Trump’s Presidential website.  But soon the man’s questions concerning policy turned into questions of Donald’s immorality – or better said questions about Donald’s ever present, never forgiven sins.  

Before discussing anyone’s “sin” with this man I needed to know who I was talking to.  Was he a Christian who understood what sin is, what repentance and Christ’s forgiveness are?  Or was he a Cruz supporter on the #NeverTrump, just hang-him-high-at-any-cost bandwagon?  Or was he a Christian who thought being a Cruz supporter meant you were fighting a fight for God Himself?  Not that anyone thought of Cruz as God, but many believed Cruz had been ordained by God to be His leader for the United States of America, and that ordination seemed to give Cruz supporters the go ahead to do whatever it took to make sure Cruz got elected.

Coming to an understanding we were both Christians, the young man and I discussed sin in general, and often he would bring up any number of ‘popular to talk about Donald Trump sins.  As he brought up each of Donald’s sins we discussed them, and with each sin the young man seemed amazed at how a different perspective showed both the forgiveness of Christ and the total depravity of every human being – including the two of us talking to one another that day.  It seemed he was intent on wanting to stump me with Donald Trump’s horrendously sinful life, and instead God gave me words to teach a young man how we all live horrendously sinful lives everyday.

But as quickly as he would stop and ponder each comment spoken in love, he would start up again attacking Donald Trump’s sins.  “He’s been married three times,” seemed to be his favorite Trump sin we discussed multiple times.  After discussing Donald Trump’s sins many times over – and believing the two of us had come to an agreement on where we stood before our Holy God – the young man raised his voice and said, “But he’s been married three times!” 

At that point I put my hand in my pocket and cradled a stone.  I asked him what his name was and he became quiet.  By this time many people were looking on and listening to our conversation, and the young man’s silence spread across the onlookers.  Realizing he did not want to tell me his name I then said, “Just your first name,” to which he also remained silent.  

With a hushed crowd around us I said, “I have something I’d like you to have,” and held my hand out to him as if to drop something into his hand.  He looked at me, looked down at my outstretched arm, and then held out his hand.  Into his open hand I dropped the stone and everything got quiet.  

Twenty seconds is not a long period of time, but that morning it seemed like an eternity.  Neither the young man nor the crowd seemed to know what to do with the stone, but they definitely knew what it represented. 

After a long pause looking at the stone in his hand, the young man stretched out his arm to me and said he did not want it, so I took the stone back.

Just then Brandy came up and told me we had a meeting to go to.  Since I had no recollection of any meetings we needed to attend, I guessed it was something new that had just popped up.  I told the young man I was sorry I had to leave and thanked him for the good conversation.  As Brandy and I walked away I told her I didn’t know we had a meeting to go to, to which she replied, “We don’t.  I just wanted to protect you from that crazy Cruzbot.”  

I know Brandy was being a friend who thought she needed to rescue me.  Still, I felt a sense of sadness, thinking the conversation with that young man could have ended in a better way.  And at the same time I know the conversation – with a stone – ended like it was supposed to.

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