Hugs All Around

It was an interesting week in politics. Actually, most weeks are politically interesting, but this one was particularly fascinating because of some White House visitors.

There are large groups of White House guests each week, so why was this any different? The variance is certainly not earthshattering, but I found it to be more than intriguing that POTUS was getting extra hugs. The enthralling part is from whom the hugs originated.

180 Degrees

Early on, Kanye West (along with NFL superstar, Jim Brown) called on the President. After a lengthy bombast, West gave Mr. Trump a hug. In case you’re unaware, Kanye is a famous rapper (as in rap music). Not being a huge rap fan, I only knew him from a statement he made several years ago when he brashly announced that (then president) George Bush “doesn’t care about black people.” Now, to see him embrace this president is quite a shocker. Somewhere along the way, he made a 180° turn in attitude. Admittedly, he still might think that “W” doesn’t care about black people, but he certainly doesn’t feel that way about The Donald.

Later in the week, Pastor Brunson (newly freed from a Turkish prison after a two-year incarceration) knelt in the Oval Office, embraced the President, and prayed for him—out loud and unashamedly. I’m sure the separation of church and state folks were a tad miffed, but praying for the President, no matter who may hold the office, should be a common practice among all people of faith.

So, we have the juxtaposition of two presidential hugs. One from a black, Chicago rapper… The other from a white, Presbyterian, North Carolinian… I guess the old saying is true. “It takes all kinds.” Thank God for diversity.

Holy Embrace

The Bible doesn’t actually say much about people hugging each other, but it says a lot about how we should greet one another. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letters to the churches that we should greet each other with a “holy kiss.” He repeated this four times in writing, and my guess would be that he also said it a bunch as he traveled around and preached. Since we don’t use that term much anymore, various Bible translations have rendered the holy kiss phrase as warm greetings, kiss of peace, shake hands warmly, and holy embraces all around. I think we get the idea.

Though Kanye West has since verbally rejected much of his upbringing, he was reportedly raised in a Christian home. And while Christians don’t have a full nelson on hugging, he might possibly have garnered that habit in the congregation of his youth. POTUS became the latest beneficiary.

Pastor Brunson, on the other hand, appears to be steeped in Scripture. He was an evangelist in Turkey for twenty years prior to his arrest. His expressed love for the Turkish people (as well as for the President who brought him home) came through in his hug.

Maybe we should take a cue from these guys. Hugs all around!

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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