Dear Donald. Matthew records Jesus’ first sermon being, “Repent for the Kingdom Heaven has come near.” My problem has never been, having things to repent. Nor has it been the actual repenting…. I trust God’s grace and forgiveness and love enough to keep coming back for more. No matter how hard I try, I always fall short. We all do. But over the years I grow and learn and hopefully do better day by day. One key to that is having people around me who care enough to call me to account… people who aren’t afraid to tell me I’ve screwed up and need to change and do better. I am afraid you do not have people like that or that you don’t listen to them. I wonder, what is it like to have advisors who want to profit from you, gain power and wealth from you? Do you always have to question their motives? Are you afraid your supporters only love and support you for what they can get from you? Is your game theory of life that of a cold and calculating bully? Behind all the bravado, is there simply fear? I vacillate between anger at you and feeling sorry for you. Too often, I fear my anger and disgust of so many of your actions. I try to remember Jesus’ words… “Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near.” A reminder to both of us my President that despite all appearances, we live in the Kingdom of Heaven… and our time on earth will end. My prayer is that God bless us and keep us and make us better day by day. 012019.
Dear Donald. I know you listen to your religious counselors who love to quote the judgmental proclamations of select portions of the bible. I prefer to stick with the source. Jesus’ first recorded sermon in his home town was short and sweet. He claimed to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind… a new year of the Lord’s favor. You make promises too. Jesus’ actions reflected his words as he healed the sick, fed the hungry, cared for the stranger. Your actions appear on the surface to take health care from the sick, food from the poorest humans and build walls to keep the stranger out. You have proclaimed the year of favor for the rich and powerful. Like Charlie Brown preparing to kick that football Lucy is holding, we are expected to trust that you really do care for us. That’s the difference between following a generous, loving and forgiving God and a God of vengeance, hatred and alienation. The more innocent among us ask why you hate foreigners and people of color. Why do you listen to religious voices of intolerance, misogyny, hell fire and damnation? It really does appear that you love Fear the way many of us love God. Instead of caring for one another and the stranger at our border, we must fear them, demonize them and lock them out of our paradise. May God forgive you and me for succumbing to those fears rather than trusting God’s love. 011219
Dear Donald. Happy New Year. My prayer is that God will love you and protect you and keep you and teach you. The most cogent lesson I learn from the bible is Jesus’ response to a lawyer trying to trap him. The lawyer, a Pharisee, asks Jesus what commandment in the law is greatest. Jesus responds, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” As a Christian, I know you probably know this passage. But with all your worries and responsibilities I bet you are susceptible to bad advice. So many of your advisors love to quote the old testament, especially out of context, and especially the violent, misogynist, and retributive passages. I’m not surprised their bloodlust and anger blind them to the love that Jesus says, is above all. My fear is that you are too preoccupied with your responsibilities, your wealth, your worries, that you have forgotten how to genuinely love even yourself. Grossly feeding your ego, your greed, your appetites and your need for power and adulation is not love…. I should know… I’ve tried those myself, though without the evident success you have had. In this New Year may God forgive us both… and teach us both a whole lot more about the best that is love. 010319.
Dear Donald. I know it’ a bit presumptuous, but after 2 years of trying to love you, I figure it’s time to get personal. Unlike many, I don’t think you will ever be impeached. Too many powerful people are getting rich because of you. But it’s never too late. God’s forgiveness is already a fact for you and me. All you need do is accept it by acting on it. Personally, it is a time for me to both cry and laugh. You make America great by letting a 7 year old Guatemalan girl, in U.S. custody die of dehydration and starvation. It belies a macabre idea of our greatness. There is blood on our hands. We have not “ceased to do evil”. We fail to “learn to do good, pursue justice, rescue the oppressed, uphold the rights of the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:15-18) My laughter comes when you tweet complaints about a comedy show defaming you and making fun of you. You even imply lawsuits. You, the king of insults, the sultan of slander, the queen of misogyny…. complaining of others making fun of you. I have concluded that your vision of America, liberty, and justice for all originated somewhere in the Twilight Zone. Donald, God awaits your change of behavior, your change of heart, literally… your renewed spirit. God bless you and keep you closer and closer to her vision of heaven on earth. 121618.
Dear President Trump. Tear Gas???? I am undone. The most powerful person in the world is afraid of poor, terrorized, non-white parents and children. Rather than deal with them fairly, justly, legally…. you gas them. Does your fear know no end? With all your millions and your 1% friends with their billions… you fear people legally seeking asylum. Your America is not great. It’s a gated community of frightened, spoiled, rich people hiding behind their walls. The Cows of Bashan have nothing on you. King Herod also knew fear around this season two millennia ago. A child, from the backwater of Galilee, born in a barn in Bethlehem, scared him to death. Herod slaughtered an entire community of children because he feared a baby. You, of course, are civilized. You just gas them. Like you, Herod got rid of people because he feared them. Like you, Herod relied on sycophant priests and soothsayers of his day to bolster his ego and plot the future. Like you, Herod divorced his wife to marry another and another and another. Like you, Herod built a high walled edifice, Masada, to hide behind and keep the riff raff out. Like you, Herod abandoned God in favor of personal power and greed. Question… Like you, Herod had many chances to repent of his evil actions and care for all people. Herod refused to be just and loving and compassionate in his dealings with his own citizens and foreigners. Herod made his choice. What will you choose? 112918.
Dear President Trump. 14,000 children now in ‘custody’. Their crime? Scaring you… With questionable courage you face down Fake News, Demonic Democrats and nefarious North Koreans. But the kids need to be imprisoned with less rights than convicted criminals. They terrorize Republicans. They threaten America, arguably the greatest nation on earth. They deserve to be sent away to die of starvation, illness, and/or torture and neglect. Dear God, Mr. President, we treat prisoners of war with more compassion than you offer children from other countries. Their crime is wanting to be American. You are not making America Great Again. You are making the rich and powerful of all your crony countries more rich and powerful. You support dictators and demagogues around the world. You make yourself the world’s buffoon. We Americans are an embarrassment to compassionate, justice loving people around the world. Indeed, we have attained greatness. We are the world’s great American joke. Macbeth described your world best.
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Are you enjoying your strut? God has forgiven you, if you desire it… 112518.
Dear President Trump. This Thanksgiving I fear I am failing in my task of loving you. In my heart I spend more time hating your behavior, your politics, your duplicitous morality. Oh, I couch it in terms of obeying Christ’s commandment to love you, my enemy. But deep within me is a sadness, and anger, even a fear of you. At the heart of my failure to love you is my belief that you do not practice the love and discipleship of Christ that you profess and preach. Simply put your actions do not match your words. To be honest, neither do mine all too much of the time. That is why we Christians live in covenant community, why we are part of the ‘church’. We expect our sisters and brothers to help us act out the faith we profess. It’s a messy, often painful process. So, in my weakness and imperfection I write to you with as much love as I can muster. I will be a faithful law abiding citizen. But, I expect you to be a faithful, law abiding president. Please feel free to let me know if I am failing. I will continue to critique you with as much love as God gives me. 112418.
Dear President Trump. Thirty pieces of silver. That was the price paid Judas to betray Jesus. No, Judas did not kill Jesus. I don’t believe he even hated Jesus. He might even have been trying to prod Jesus into acting against the establishment. But he made a deal with powerful people to sell out a powerful communicator, a trouble maker, an outsider. You sold out Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi. For so much more than 30 pieces of silver you put a price on the head of every journalist you ever disagreed with. If the price is right, any journalist that any demagogue disagrees with, is fair game. My father was a journalist. A staunch conservative Republican, he hated corruption, greedy politicians and moral turpitude of any kind. Fearlessly, he challenged greedy people and evil institutions regardless of their importance or value. For his efforts, he endured criticism, ridicule and threats. But he trusted his government and its institutions of justice to have his back. You have destroyed that trust for anyone who might criticize you or your friends. You have established the price for dictators everywhere to silence their critics. Worse, you have given them permission to do just what you have done. You have sold out the 1stAmendment of our American constitution because you fear losing the ephemeral friendship and patronage of a foreign country. God forgive you. I’m trying, but it is so very hard. 112218,
Dear President Trump. An armed security guard saved patrons of a club from a gunman by shooting at him, chasing him, and tackling the shooter. Police arrived on the scene. The shooter was white. The guard subduing the shooter was black. The police shot and killed the black security guard. Patrons tried to explain the guard was the hero. The shooter was taken into custody without injury. And you want to arm untrained teachers, preachers and other civilians to meet out justice against gunmen bent on mass murder. How dumb do you think we are? You and the NRA are just painting a target on our backs, saying “Shoot me first.” Jesus had an amazing comment on situations like this, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” That may not work for you because I assume you expect others to lie, cheat and steal from you as you do from them. But most Americans expect to be treated with fairness, justice, kindness and yes, at times forgiveness and mercy. We therefore teach our children to act accordingly. God forgive you for turning neighbors into enemies because of the color of their skin, their poverty or their gender. God forgive you for encouraging racism, misogyny, and solving problems with guns and anger and hatred. In my anger I would have you treated with the same vileness and disdain and ugliness you perpetrate on others. I would have God do unto you what you have done to others. But God will continue to love you and forgive you and set you on a better path. I pray it happens soon. 11.14.18
Dear President Trump. King David abandoned a faithful soldier, Uriah the Hittite, to be killed by the Ammonites in battle. Uriah was a good soldier. His fatal mistake was having a beautiful wife, Bathsheba. After getting Bathsheba pregnant, David tried to cover it up by inviting Uriah home from the war to report and, of course to sleep with his wife and thus protect David. Uriah refused the comfort of hearth and home while other soldiers suffered in battle. Frustrated, David sent him back to the front lines with a note which was his own death warrant. David showed contempt for a good soldier and callously abused loyal troops. I suspect they lost faith in David as a King. You, haven’t yet ordered a soldiers death to cover up your misdeeds, that we know of. But to send American men and women into harm’s way and then deny them the right to have their votes counted in an election is callous, cruel and very Un-American. Yet that is exactly what you are doing in the State of Florida’s elections. They can bleed and die for you and our country but they cannot have their votes counted. You have abandoned them. They can swear allegiance to America but if they threaten your grasping for power, you spit in their faces, deny them the vote, with barely a shrug. Is it fear that drives you to dishonor them and yourself? A reminder… Jesus says, ‘Fear Not’… You and I have much to repent my enemy. 111218