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Open AccessArticle

Trump as Mirror for the Church: Death and Despair, Hope and Resurrection of the Church

Religious Studies Program, Lenoir Rhyne University, Hickory, NC 28601, USA
Religions 2020, 11(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030107
Received: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 25 February 2020 / Published: 27 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hope in Dark Times)
The election of Donald Trump inaugurated a wave of anxiety-bordering-on-despair among various peoples hoping for another, better world. This paper considers whether Trump deserves such acclaim in the sense that Trump is at best a symptom or cipher that can be approached by heeding Martin Luther’s observation that our politicians reflect who we are. To make this argument first I draw upon the work of Andrew Bacevich to suggest a certain continuity rather than apocalyptic break in recent American politics. Then I ask what the production of such politicians and politics says about American Christianity, which is far more frightening than the fleeting ascendancy of a mere Trump. In particular, using the National Study of Youth and Religion I suggest that the church in America suffers from a widespread failure of formation in the faith. What are we to make of this failure? Whence cometh hope? Building on Ephraim Radner’s interrogation of the divided church and on Jonathan Lear’s exploration of radical hope in the wake of cultural devastation, I will suggest both a theologically appropriate despair and also a hope for emergent forms and practices of faith capable of resisting the darkness of these times. View Full-Text
Keywords: hope; despair; Donald Trump; Andrew Bacevich; Jonathan Leer; Ephraim Radner; Stanley Hauerwas; National Study of Youth and Religion hope; despair; Donald Trump; Andrew Bacevich; Jonathan Leer; Ephraim Radner; Stanley Hauerwas; National Study of Youth and Religion
MDPI and ACS Style

Bell, D.M., Jr. Trump as Mirror for the Church: Death and Despair, Hope and Resurrection of the Church. Religions 2020, 11, 107.

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