Dear President Trump. It is my assumption that the key to understanding God’s love is not atonement… but example. Grace and forgiveness are needed because the example of Jesus showed that if we speak love and truth to both power and weakness you might live to be thirty years old. But someone is probably going to kill you or lock you up. So, we live lives of compromise and grace. To live long enough to do some good we compromise with evil and sin. What keeps us whole and alive is God’s forgiveness… (Father, forgive them…). Mr. President, many people do not want to forgive you. You show no evidence of wanting to forgive anyone for any real or imagined offense. That may keep you in the Whitehouse. But an attitude of “I’m perfect and have no need of forgiveness” puts you at odds with Jesus. That’s a game we cannot win. We humans live a daily compromise between good and evil. Grace, God’s loving forgiveness, renews us each day to draw breath and do good and live a little longer. I know I’m preaching… it is my nature. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. To think otherwise cuts you off from the grace you need but cannot accept because of your blindness. We’ll talk another day about guilt and innocence in the American legal and political systems. Because Robert Mueller is an honorable man and you are not… you will remain our President. But in God’s eyes, that may be the least of your problems. God forgive you and me. I hope you can learn to accept and reflect that forgiveness before it’s too late for all of us. 032719.
Outrage is a somewhat satisfying response to evil. It gets the juices flowing. It targets an enemy and focuses us on what we value and love. But outrage accomplishes so little. It could spur us to action. It may not. Usually, it’s an easy way to feel I’ve accomplished something without actually doing much. You and I get outraged at so many things. I see your face redden. I see you sputter and lie and spew hatred at so many people. Then I get outraged and rant and rave and spew epithets at you. I don’t know about you but after a while, outrage gets boring and repetitive and childish for me. You use it to run a country. I use it to call you to be a better Christian. I fear we are both failing, badly. I’m tired of outrage. It’s unproductive. It’s boring. It’s unloving. I wish my love could or God’s love would make you a better person and leader. I fear it won’t. But, beyond outrage, I choose to love you. Outrage and anger won’t change you. But trying to love you might change me. If, by some chance, my love, other people’s love, God’s love changes you…. that’s a bonus worth working for. God bless you, Mr. President. God forgive you. God make us both better people. 031919.
Dear President Trump. The last meme I posted troubles me greatly. As a human being and struggling Christian I am confronted with a painful contradiction. I feel and hate and yet am commanded to love. I do not want to love you. I do not want to hate you. I would rather just ignore you. But Jesus does not say “ignore your enemies.” He does not even say ignore anyone. So, I am stuck with an honest emotion. I hate you… who you are… what you have done… all the lies, your racism and misogyny. But as a child of a loving God I am called to love you. As you and I both know… hate is easy. Loving those you like or admire is easy. Loving someone you hate… seems almost un-American. It reeks of ignorance and duplicity to modern ears. It makes us vulnerable to so many evil people in the world. Like you, I want to protect those I love already, my family, my friends, my neighbors and others ‘like me.’ I fear so many things and people. Let me ask you… what kind of God commands you to love those you hate and fear? Obviously, there is more to life than self-protection, racial purity, ethnic cleansing and sexual dominance. There is more to being faithful to God than power and control over others. May God help us both as we struggle to love – even those we hate. It is so difficult. 031219.
Dear President Trump… You know Frank Bruni… he writes for one of your favorite newspapers, The New York Times. Recently he mentioned my church, The United Methodist Church. Just this week my church reaffirmed its hatred of LGBTQ people by declaring them incompatible with Christian teaching. The vote was close but love and grace lost to hatred, bigotry and self-righteousness. Inside the church, we are still reeling or celebrating depending on our love of Christ and one another. Outside the church Mr. Bruni observes, “And religion arguably remains a hostile frontier: not all faiths and denominations, but too many of them. They say they have no choice. They quote scripture. But they do so selectively, picking and choosing what to take literally and what not to, and their interpretations are open to dispute.And what of love? What of empathy? Why so much forgiveness for so many other people who run afoul of traditional religious teachings, so long as those people are heterosexual? Donald Trump commands the loyalty of many conservative Christians, who stay mum about his transgressions even as they scold L.G.B.T. people. That’s more than a double standard. That’s a travesty.” So, we are a travesty… You for promoting, and me for not doing enough to prevent the legalized hatred and ostracization of human beings from society and the Christian community. May God bless your efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to threats in southeast Asia. Hurry home. While you pander for a Nobel Prize, we are tearing each other apart… and celebrating our meanness. As usual… God forgive us. 022719
Dear President Trump. Kudos to the Border Patrol agents, reported on by your ‘fake news’ outlets. They showed great compassion towards children at the border. But then, that’s the problem. I am the son of a journalist who prized truthfulness and integrity above all else… He despised liars and self-serving politicians. Like you, he despised “Fake News.’ So, when I read the article about generous and compassionate Border Patrol Agents in the ‘Fake News’ forums, is that “Fake News” too? Or, does news you agree with, even written by the press you call “Enemy of the People” become ‘unfake’ whenever you declare it. Jesus declared, if we continue in his word, we shall know the truth and the truth will make us free.’ What I know for sure is, You will not make me free. Congress will not make me free. Nor will money, sex or power. These things enslave. I’m getting preachy, I know. Sorry, it’s in my blood. One thing I have learned is, ‘we believe what we want to believe.’ Facts be damned. Truth is debatable. In the end, the heart rules. Where is your heart, my enemy? I admit, you are a master of making people want to believe you. It doesn’t make you right, or truthful, or great… just convincing. Kudos. But also, warning… We followers of ‘The Way’ play a long game. While we honor truth wherever we find it, we too are wary of ‘Fake News’. Please know that we evaluate your words and actions by the words of Jesus. Sadly, your words and actions too often fall into God’s definition of “Fake News”. God forgive us. 022319
Dear president Trump. 41 children under government ‘protection’ in Guatamala die screaming in a fire behind locked doors of a building ostensibly guarded by soldiers under orders to ‘protect’ them. Too late the captors poured water over the door handles because they were too hot. But by then most of the screaming had died down because most of the children were already dead. These are the people traveling thousands of miles seeking our protection from cruel and inhuman governments. The horrible truth is our Great American Government props up these monsters. Your solution to the threat of children Jesus says we should welcome… ”Build the Wall”. “Lock ‘em Up”. “Send the back.” “Lose them in our prison camps.” May God have mercy on your soul and the souls of those who will not see the horror of their plight and our role both passively and actively in the deaths of these and other children. The lack of compassion expressed by you and so many leaders of this “Great Nation” in their greedy self-centered desire to wall out the problems of the world by patriotically crying ME. ME. ME…. is sickening. On top of that, when compromise is offered, you take money from necessary programs designed to keep us “Great”!!! How petty and small can you get. The only “Emergency” is in your own heart. God forgive you. 021519
Dear Donald. The politics and religion of fear work wonderfully until people wake up one day and realize there’s nothing to be afraid of…or worse, they’ve been afraid of the wrong things. Christian elders have prattled on about million dollar jets, xenophobic communities based on wealth, race and sex, and fear of “not us” for too long. Younger generations begin to see the church, not as a beacon on the hill, lighting our way to a better life of liberty and justice for all. No, the church and therefore Jesus stand for hatred, bigotry, greed, intolerance and banishment of anything “not us”. The church of Jesus who said, “let the little children come unto me” becomes the church of “lock ’em up.” So, we rip the stranger’s children from their families and lose them in ‘the system.’ We denigrate, abuse and rape women because they ‘do not know their place.’ Do you really think the American youth of today do not see the hypocrisy of so-called disciples of a semitic middle eastern savior, Jesus, claiming that same Jesus exclusively for their white, ‘doesn’t look or act exactly like us’ ‘get the hell out or MY country’ selves??? Yes, your fear mongering will work for a while on many of us. But there’s an expiration date on fear. Like any beast it must be constantly fed. Increasingly, the people of our great country will wise up, and realize the menu of intolerance, racism, homophobia and sexual repression is poisonous to our union. I only hope it happens in time for God to save our union. 020919
Dear Donald. As a self-professed Christian, I am sure you are at least passingly familiar with the Sermon on the Mount. Many experts say it was a compilation of several sermons. Others say it was actually longer and this was a distillation of a two or three day discourse. You should read it sometime again. This time however, read it to the end. At the very end is the kicker. “Anyone who hears the words of mine, and does them, is wise…. Anyone that hears and does not act, is a fool….” That’s our problem. We hear the words. We know the words. But we fail to act on them. Jesus had a special place in his heart for children. Many of us do. Your failure to protect the children in your custody… to separate them from their parents… and then to lose them in the system…. is an act of barbaric cruelty. We have seen your caring and protective love for your own children. Why, so many of us ask, can you not love and care for the children of the poor, the minorities, the refugees. Why instead, do you use them as pawns in your political games. Even more abhorrent, you convince your followers to share your cruelty and failure to act with love and compassion. You pit them against one another. You act with malice and cruelty for political gain. Yes, you’re a politician. But that is not an excuse… it is actually the best reason to care… to love… to act according to the teachings of the one you claim to be a disciple of. 020819
Dear Donald. Mixed reviews on your speech tonight… didn’t expect much besides politics at its best and worst. Your friends praised it. Your enemies panned it. Most of us wait to see how your words and actions affect us. In the end, the game of politics is fascinating on both a national and local level. But, of course, what counts is what you are doing to me and mine and those I care about. Like you, I care about a lot of people. I care about vulnerable humans, minorities, those you oppress, denigrate, disparage and marginalize. Try reading Matthew chapter 5. It’s called the beatitudes. It keeps saying “Blessed are…” and you know what… no blessings for politicians, priests, or lawyers as a group. No blessings for the rich and influential, the liars and cheaters, the swindlers and racists, the vain and the haughty. No blessings for those too proud to ask forgiveness, unwilling to change their actions. My prayer is that you grow out of the need to constantly feed your ego. I pray you grow into the office of President with grace and compassion. May we both know and do God’s will. 020619.
Dear Donald. I must admire your dedication to the tenets of “Game Theory.” However, I am losing faith in your ability to master the technique. A line from the movie “Jesus Christ Superstar” is a poignant critique. “You’d have managed better if you’d had it planned.” Jesus had it all planned. But the plan as it unfolded, included his tortuous death by crucifixion. How much are you really willing to personally sacrifice for your love of the American people. Big Macs in the White House hardly qualify as sacrifice. Your people, especially our government workers, sacrificed for your game plan. Wilbur Ross has no conception of the cost in suffering of your “game plan.” The gold-plated bathroom fixtures in your private jet scream your indifference to real suffering brought about by your games. It really is just a game for you and your other one-percenters. You may indeed be a master game player, strategist and manipulator. My fear is that your ego and your prideful manipulations are not just against fake news, Democrats, and minorities. You aren’t just fooling your ardent followers. My fear is you are trying to ‘Game’ God. Be careful, my President and my enemy. Unlike your gods of hate, intolerance and bigotry, the God of Love and Grace and Mercy plays a very long game…. and she hasn’t lost yet. 012519