Settle for More – a Christian perspective from the new @MegynKelly book

megyn-book-cover-529x800Friends who know me know that I’m not really a fan of FoxNews. While I am theologically conservative, I tend to lean more to the left than Fox does when it comes to social issues and politics. That being said, I have not spent a lot of time watching Megyn Kelly on Fox. But I saw that she had a book published, Settle for More, and saw an interview she did regarding the book. Then, by chance, our base library had a copy of it on display. That’s when I thought I’d pick it up and give it a read.

I will admit that it is not what I thought it would be. After all, Ms. Kelly is hardly older than I am. How could she possibly have a memoir? Additionally, I knew that a good portion of her book was dedicated to Donald Trump. A book on Trump doesn’t really seem like it’s memoir-worthy. But the book wasn’t just about Trump. It wasn’t just about Megyn Kelly. The book really was about the last year of Megyn Kelly’s life under fire from the Trump organization/followers, her response to it, and the life that brought her to the point where she responded the way she did. In short, it’s an apologetic

From her telling, Ms. Kelly has endured quite a bit from Trump and his followers. The book gets into a bit of the details. In fact, the last fourth of the book is all about her chaotic experiences with Trump. But the first three-fourths of the book set up the reader to understand the life that gave Ms. Kelly the convictions and determination that allowed her to deal with the hardships of her past year.

She had dealt with bullies as a child. She endured the sudden death of her father when she was a teen. She worked diligently in college and law school. She went through a divorce. All of the negative experiences in her life prepared her (ultimately) to deal with the Trump organization and the grief of her last year. She sums up her attitude in this paragraph:

Adversity is an opportunity, and one that has allowed me to flourish. It has made me stronger, my skin a little thicker. And as with any turmoil in your life, none of it is for nothing if you survive it and take stock.

And THAT is a principle that we would all do well to learn. It’s what the Bible is teaching believers when James writes:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

There is more to our suffering than simply suffering. There is something that happens within us when we endure suffering – we grow. We learn. Get get better. We get stronger. Let’s not be naive, sometimes this world tears us down. Plenty of faithful believers have gone to their graves without ever seeing an end to their suffering. This is where our hope that comes from our faith plays a big role in enduring troubles.

One day the trouble will cease. One day the pain will end. Revelation 21:4 proclaims:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

When you go through difficult times, please know that you’re not the only one. Others have gone before you. Others walk with you. And people will endure hardships until this world passes away. But hold fast, knowing that God is working something within you. He may not remove the troubles, but you can be changed for the better because of them. And one day, God will ease all of your troubles.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Why Jesus Must Be White

Ain't Nobody Like This Buddy
Ain’t Nobody Like This Buddy

So there’s a minor kerfuffle going on with Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The other night she was talking about an author who wanted to do away with the idea of a white Santa. Ms. Kelly found the idea to be ludicrous and insisted that there are some people whose ethnicity you cannot touch. Jesus, for example, was a white guy – you can’t change what it is.

Here it is…

Now, here’s the thing. There have been a lot of people making fun of Ms. Kelly. I’ve even cracked a few jokes like:

Of COURSE Jesus was white. Who on earth would want to worship a middle eastern Jew?

Please understand that the previous sentence is a joke – I’m not serious. The simple fact of the matter is that Jesus was a middle eastern Jew. There’s a good chance he looked like a lot of cab drivers in New York.

In the midst of the discussion about Ms. Kelly’s goof there have been some accusations of racism. We need to be careful about the words we use, because I don’t think racism is at play here.

Racism is treating people as inferior because of their race.

What happened on Fox News the other night was not about inferiority. It wasn’t racism. It was racial bias but not racism. And racial bias is normal. It is a normal human trait to imagine stories from our own perspectives. When we read our imaginations usually make the characters look like us. Even when the author is clear about a character’s description we will often overlook that description in our heads.

There were many fans of The Hunger Games who were upset when the character Rue was cast as a little black girl. They failed to recognize the description the author provided and filled in their own gaps from their own perspectives….

The story of Jesus is no different. We don’t have any photos of the man, so we are left to use our imaginations to see him. Left to ourselves, we fill in the blank spots from our own experiences, culture, and background.

Megyn Kelly wasn’t being racist. Ignorant, sure, but not racist (and honestly, it’s hard not to see Jesus as white when the majority of sacred art we’re exposed to is European…).

One of my most prized possessions is a book called “The Life of Jesus” (1978, Buechner and Boltin). I don’t think it’s in print any more, but you can get it used on Amazon.

It’s the story of Jesus combined with sacred art from around the world. Let me show you some famous art of Jesus…

Christ Crowned with Thorns. Wood. Philippines, 20th Century
Christ Crowned with Thorns. Wood. Philippines, 20th Century
Virgin and Child. Oil on Canvas. Uruguay, 20th Century.
Virgin and Child. Oil on Canvas. Uruguay, 20th Century.
The Last Supper. Crayon on Paper. U.S.A., Contemporary.
The Last Supper. Crayon on Paper. U.S.A., Contemporary.
Mother of Divine Grace. Textile. Japan, Contemporary.
Mother of Divine Grace. Textile. Japan, Contemporary.
Crucifixion. Bronze. Italy, 1933.
Crucifixion. Bronze. Italy, 1933.
Adoration of the Magi. Rome, circa 200.
Adoration of the Magi. Rome, circa 200.
The Holy Family. Painting on Silk. Japan, 20th Century.
The Holy Family. Painting on Silk. Japan, 20th Century.

We all tend to fashion the Bible from our own background. Is it wrong to see Jesus as a white guy? As Japanese? As African? Historically, sure – he was a middle eastern Jew. But the whole point of the Incarnation is that Christ is WITH us. God is not far away and removed – He is one of us. So the God who left heaven to be like me might look like me. What other god ever bothered to become like us?

The mystery and magnificence of YAHWEH is the Incarnation. His name is Emmanuel, which means: God with us.

Ms. Kelly might want to apologize for her cultural bias and ignorance but I don’t fault her for seeing Jesus from her background and heritage. I don’t really expect my blog will ever cross her path, but if you do know her send her the link, okay? 😉

This Christmas season take some time to reflect on the idea that God cares enough for us to become like us. To feel like us. To suffer like us. To die like us.

Yes, even to look like us.