Episode #282

Sanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump

Guest: Heidi Neumark

Series: Crackers and Grape Juice

Host: Jason Micheli

October 23, 2020

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“Rather than resorting to Luther’s Law-Gospel binary to excuse the Presidents mendacity and self-justify support for him, Protestants should turn to Luther’s theology of cross which tells us that we should call a thing what it is…and the thing is only God knows the details and depths of Donald Trump’s spiritual life, but Jesus says what comes out of our mouths is the fruit of what’s in our hearts, and what Trump routinely says publicly disavows every core teaching Jesus set forth in the Sermon on the Mount.”

Our guest is Heidi Neumark, an author and Lutheran pastor the South Bronx. Her new book is Sanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump. 

We discuss her new book, writing, and ministry and anxiety during the pandemic.

Throughout her nearly forty years in ministry, Heidi Neumark has strived to make communities of faith into sanctuaries amid the turmoils of life. Now, with the social and political upheaval of the years since Donald Trump was elected president, Neumark believes the true Christian calling is to live out a counterpoint to today’s prevailing spirits of exclusion and hatred. Using her own bilingual, multicultural congregation as a model, she moves through the seasons of the church calendar to reflect on what it looks like to live out essential Christian convictions in community with others.

Sanctuary is an amplifier for the many voices crying out against policies and rhetoric that are cruel, dehumanizing, and dangerous. Neumark begins each chapter with a quote from Donald Trump that she defies and dismantles with the power of her own stories—anecdotes about offering shelter for queer youth in her city, supporting immigrants and asylum-seekers being harassed by ICE, and embracing her church’s diversity with a Guadalupe celebration, to name a few. Timely, but also timeless, this book speaks to the deep wounds of this era, inflicted before and during the Trump presidency, which will remain long past its end.

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