Then Nathan said to David "You are that man! The Lord God of Israel says 'I anointed you King of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you his house, and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough I would have given you much much more. Why then have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed?....Because of what you have done I, the Lord, will cause your own household to rebel against you.'" -2 Samuel 12:7-9; 11
He did everything wrong politically. He offended gays. He offended women. He offended the military. He offended black people. He offended the Hispanic people. He offended everybody! And became the president of the United States. Only God could do that. -Franklin Graham
Nathan was a prophet of God. David was the King of all Israel and Judah. David had tremendous power. He had been called and used by God in extraordinary ways. His enemies had been vanquished one after another. Everything he touched seemed to prosper. He was powerful. And he had done something evil. He saw a woman he wanted. He didn't care that she was already married. He called her to him anyway. He got her pregnant. He tried to cover up his mistake by calling her husband home from battle hoping they would sleep together and get him off the hook. When that didn't work he used all his military might and power to ensure that man died on the battlefield. Then he married that man's wife and took her as his queen.
Enter Nathan. That prophet of the Lord. That man who walked into the throne room and told the King a story about an evil man who steals what isn't his and tries to cover it up. And when David reacts with great anger demanding to know who this man is Nathan looks him in the face and proclaims, "you are that man."
Donald Trump is the president of the United States. He has been given tremendous power. He also has seen women he wanted and made them his no matter their wishes because "when you're a celebrity they let you do it." He has mocked the disabled. He has closed the doors to the immigrant fleeing persecution and death. He supports drug policy that benefits for profit jails and leaves men of color dis-proportionally affected by mandatory minimums in drug sentencing. He has proposed a budget and supported a healthcare bill that would cut benefits to the children, the poor and the elderly.
Enter Franklin Graham. Who looks at all we have seen this president say and do. He looks at that and calls it God. God who has brought this about. God who made this man our leader. How wonderful! How can we stand to look at that quote? Have we lost ourselves so totally? Where is Nathan? Where is the courage and bravery to walk into the throne room and call out sin where it resides? Even when it is the actions of those who are in authority over us. Where are the prophets? All I see are sycophantic yes men. People so desperate to hold on to political power that we will sell the words of our Savior down the river for a chance to be at the table of influence.
What good is it to gain access to the room if we don't have the courage to say the hard truths when we get there? Franklin Graham and others like him don't see a divide in their churches. Maybe that's because they're in the very bubble they accuse so many others of being in. Because I see it. The cracks that are widening every day. You think we don't see the hypocrisy? That it doesn't make us sick? It does. It makes us question everything we knew. Everything we are. We're ashamed to call ourselves Christians. Ashamed to say we go to church. We are like Peter in the courtyard where Jesus was being questioned after his arrest. But we don't deny Christ. We deny his followers.
No no I don't know them
I've never met them.
When Nathan confronted David it took courage. And his courage was rewarded. The story in 2 Samuel goes on to say that David confessed his sin. That he repented with great sorrow. He wrote Psalm 51 right after it asking God to have mercy on him and make his heart clean. Christians have a tremendous opportunity before them. I would never say avoid the halls of power. That's silly. We need to go into them. But we have to retain our integrity once we're there. We have to have the courage to speak the truth to power even when it's uncomfortable. Who knows what influence we can wield. What hearts we can change.
But I fear that right now we will never know. It seems to me that before we can get a Nathan in the Oval Office we need a Nathan in our church pews. Before we can wake up our world we need to wake up ourselves. Someone needs to tell us the story of the church that slept while the world around them burned and say "wake up! We are that church!"
And I think I have an idea of where we're going to find our Nathan's. We will find them in a place that has usually been ignored in our Evangelical circles excepting the few areas we have allowed them to lead that cater to "their natural gifts." We'll find our Nathan's on the margins. They've been there the whole time working and using their gifts whether we valued them or not. God has always used the ones who seem to have no power and voice to speak the loudest and topple oppressive systems. Have you guessed it yet?
It's the women.
Our Nathan's are our women.
But more on that later.