Ted Cruz ended his campaign last night. He noted that Indiana voters “chose another path,” effectively ending his chances of winning the nomination. His withdrawal leaves John Kasich to contest Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Seventeen candidates began the process; who would have predicted that Mr. Trump would win the nomination and that Mr. Kasich would be his lone opponent at the campaign’s end?
I am writing today to voice three responses: one positive, one negative, and one hopeful.
Let’s begin with the positive: our process still works.
The Constitution requires that a candidate for president be a natural-born citizen who has been a resident of our country for at least fourteen years and is thirty-five years of age or older. It does not require previous political experience.
Mr. Trump is the first major party presidential candidate not to have served in political office since Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general who led the Allies to victory in World War II. While many view him as unqualified to be president, clearly many Republican primary voters see him as the best candidate to lead our nation. With virtually no party support, he is on his way to achieving a historic victory.
Now to the negative. Mr. Trump’s populist message gives voice to the distrust many feel in the political process and our government.
As I noted yesterday, a record number of Americans believe the American dream is out of reach; confidence in institutions has perhaps never been lower than it is today.
According to a new Gallup poll, fewer than ten percent of adults worldwide say they have “great jobs.” While 1.3 billion work full time for an employer, around one billion are truly unemployed. Unrest in America mirrors economic unrest around the world. Mr. Trump’s campaign has spoken directly to the pain many feel as our economy and culture change dramatically.
Let’s close with the hopeful: the frustrations of our day are an open door for the gospel.
Jesus’ ministry took him to the least, the last, the lost. He was “friend of sinners” and all without hope. He touched leprous bodies, forgave tax collectors, and brought hope to multitudes. He still does. But he needs his church to demonstrate his compassion today.
Dr. Kevin Shrum is a pastor and professor in Nashville, Tennessee. He worries about churches which abandon neighborhoods in economic transition. According to Shrum, God’s people need to “come to terms with the actual reality of their neighborhood. A lot of times in churches, we get into a cocoon. We are not even aware of what’s going on in our community.”
Jesus met felt need to meet spiritual need. He is ready to do the same for you today, whatever your fears, guilt, grief, or pain. And he is ready to use you to offer his grace to those who need what he has given you.
Austin pastor Gerald Mann saw his church grow from sixty to 4,000 in fourteen years. His explanation: “I know three things people want when they come to church: they want help, they want home, and they want hope.”
Do you agree?