Donald Trump and his toy sacraments

Originally at: http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/joeljmiller/donald-trump-toy-sacraments/

by Joel J Miller

It says something about the state of America that Donald Trump could be running what looks like a serious bid for the White House. I say “looks like” because it’s all a farce. There are few people so ontologically unserious as Donald Trump. All he’s missing is the red-and-white face paint and the blue wig.

The Donald has juggled a lot of sharp objects while standing and waving in the center ring, but he might have made a blunder this past weekend. Speaking to religious conservatives in Ames, Iowa, our showman said, though he loves frequenting his church, he has never asked God to forgive his sins.

That’s like an American POW escaping a Nazi prison camp in disguise and slipping into English as he says goodbye to the guards. As Matt Lewis reminds us, you’ve got to know the lingo!

I don’t know if the mistake has damaged his act or not, but there was more to the performance that should. Trump went on to explain the role of the eucharist in his routine. “When I drink my little wine . . . and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness,” he said.

Little wine? Little cracker? I winced both times I read the word. He might as well have said adorable or dainty.

Frankly, even Trump’s flippant toss of the word cracker is off-putting. Even if the thing in his hand is identifiably a cracker, it’s not a cracker. It is the bread of life, the broken body of Christ, the bread of heaven, the food of angels, the medicine of immortality. This is how the Bible and early Christians spoke of Trump’s crumb. For him to call it a cracker is to demonstrate he knows nothing of what he is doing.

But maybe this is too much criticism from the balcony. After all, it’s been a long time since Donald Trump went to seminary. And, as Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica once said, “We scorn our politicians . . . yet they are our children. We were the ones who were wrong before them. . . .”

Trump picked up this regrettably deficient understanding somewhere. And like catching a runny nose in a preschool, it wouldn’t be hard.

American Christianity is rife with nonsacramental sacramentalism. I was once at a major Midwest megachurch. Communion was served at this particular service, but it seemed almost like an afterthought. The words of institution were said right before everyone left the building. The idea was to pick up the elements as you walked out the door. Like getting a mint when leaving a restaurant.

Then there are the peddlers of communion convenience cups, juice packaged like coffee creamers with a wafer strapped to the top. And this to say nothing of virtual communion being seriously discussed and even practiced by various Christian groups in which anything in the fridge might do, including Kool-Aid, if you just think about Jesus when you toss it back.

Once you open the door, the examples start pouring out like too many clowns from an overstuffed Volkswagen. And to study the parade is to find fresh new reasons to consider even Donald Trump deep and enlightened.

It’s easy to see that Trump is fooling around, even if he thinks he’s being serious. What about the rest of us?

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