A Prayer for President Donald Trump

During those years I served in pastoral ministry, I often reminded myself: never speak to our people about God before I speak to God about our people.

It’s time that I remind myself to do the same today.

I’m tempted even now to post my own version of a Dear President Trump letter pointing out all the errors of his ways. Those who know me realize I’ve been calling human attention to that boatload of errors I’ve been counting up since at least 2011. My cup overfloweth!!! And my letter to him today would amount to yet another rant hopefully calling to his attention the reasons I fear he is destroying the very America he purports to make great.

Which brings up a problem I must instead work on within myself. I fear Donald Trump to such an extent that I cast out the very love Jesus would have me instead use in responding to him as my enemy. And it’s time that I repent today not by writing a “come to Jesus” Dear Donald letter, but instead writing a “go from Jesus” Dear God letter that prays for the enemy I sometimes think God alone knows how to love.

Dear God, please forgive me for not loving my enemy, Donald Trump, as I should. Forgive me for fearing him instead. And help me today to love him as my enemy by doing the only thing I can in this moment: by praying for him as my enemy.

I pray today in the faith my own mind holds firm: believing the human mind is itself the very computer you have installed within our human body’s master organ, our brain. You will know already of my belief that the world’s virus has entered every human brain affecting our networked computers’ operating system. You will know this is what I call sin. And you will know that I believe Donald and I both have some form of this same deadly, destructive virus.

I pray for your help with Donald’s computer virus, which I belief has corrupted his data and caused him to make choices that carry harmful consequences for your entire world. I fear for those consequences in my own life, but even more for the lives of the majority of world citizens who live within the margins. Those human citizens who need better food, better educations, better healthcare, better incomes, better justice, better freedom of speech and religion and press, or just better human rights in general.

Lord, please work on Donald’s computer today. Please empower it to manage data and make decisions in line with truth and not the viral lies of corruption. Empower him, inform his choices, that people in America and around the world might be freed from the margins that otherwise enslave them. The margins of hunger, ignorance, disease, poverty, injustice, intolerance, and oppression.

God, you know of my faith in your love to do that which love always does: helps to empower. Help to empower Donald this day to be the President Donald Trump who chooses truth not lies, love not fear, and good not evil. Love and help him as only you can. Just as Jesus asked you even from the cross to forgive his own enemies for their presumed ignorance (or computer virus), so I ask you to forgive Donald Trump. Keep his own mind’s and body’s operating system from crashing in ways that crash all others networked with him. Do what only you can do and we cannot do. Love him by helping to empower him for good today.

Amen.

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Is false equivalence false?

The cartoon character I perhaps most easily identify with is the marriage counselor for Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn. Some of you recognize the Lockhorns from “The Better Half” comic strip. Their long-running marital squabbles have taken them all over the map and then back again for an office visit with D. Pullman, the marital counselor.

One of my favorite scenes, causing me to most easily identify with Pullman, is when he suggests Leroy and Lorreta are both to blame for their marital problems. To which Leroy retorts, “We’re both at fault??????  Well, I should’ve known you’d side with Lorreta!”

Which raises a whole new argument in my own mind about whether, when fault lies on both sides, both sides are really equally to blame. I say no. I say that states a false equivalency.

I’m no Dr. Phil, but I’d be wealthy enough myself if having a dollar for every time I’ve had to tell some couple, “however much either one of you is to blame, you’re making things even worse whenever you work on her faults and she works on yours. If you’re going to solve this thing, you’re both going to have to commit to working on your own faults and nobody else’s.”

I bring this up today because, in the sick and highly dysfunctional family that is today’s United States of America, I’ve about had it with listening to everybody blaming each other. Are we both to blame? Of course! Are we equally at fault? Hell, no! But however much either is wrong, fixing each other’s wrongs is a total waste of everyone’s therapy hour. Why not just go out and spit into the wind as a way of taking a bath? Makes the same amount of sense.

At some point in life, we simply have to say STOP! Either we’re going to work on solving our own problems or else we’re going to waste our entire lives spitting on ourselves.

After 50 years (from 5/27/67, thank you) of having to work on my own problems in my own marriage to Sue, I’m going to boldly offer an assessment on what’s wrong with America in general and the Christian Church in particular. Folks can agree or disagree. I’m retired so not getting paid anyway. No problem if the whole world disagrees with me at this point.

Both liberals and conservatives are to blame for the mess today’s USA and today’s Christian Church finds ourselves in.   I didn’t say equally to blame. Nowhere close to equal in my opinion as a moderate. But both have contributed to problems they can only solve for themselves and not for each other.

Because I blog as a pastor, I typically use Christian metaphors. One that is easily familiar are the disciples of Jesus named Peter and Judas. Peter denied Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus.

Following me so far?

Listening as a pastor to Christians squabbling about whether all sins are equally bad is almost as annoying after awhile as listening to married couples squabbling about whether all marital misdeeds are equally bad. Suggest to me that denying Jesus is just as bad as betraying Jesus when it came to getting Jesus beaten up and crucified, and I’ll suggest “NO WAY!!!” right back to you. Both are bad, but not equally bad. Not even close!!!! Not even in the same time zone close?

In my humble opinion, today’s Christian liberals are to blame for denying Jesus even now. They’re often the last to defend Jesus from today’s worldly attacks against Christianity in general. The world today needs to hear a defense on Christ’s behalf asserting that Christ is no Christian. But today’s liberals are denying Jesus. Repeatedly so. They’re also denying his divinity or his singular authority to speak for God. And that’s making things at home in this world even worse!!

Today’s Christian conservatives are to blame for betraying Jesus even today. And, yes, I suspect money is again involved. Some of our more prominent evangelicals today are trading pieces of silver with our world of corporate capitalism even when it means killing Jesus all over again. They are betraying everything Jesus ever stood for. They are close to being for everything Jesus was against. And that’s making things at home in this world even worse!!

However, let’s be realistic about something. Judas who betrayed Jesus was the far greater sinner. He got Jesus killed before turning the whole mess into a lousy murder-suicide. It didn’t have to be that way then, and it doesn’t have to be that way today. Conservatives can say “we’re wrong and we repent and we’re going to fix ourselves by from now on agreeing with the teachings of Jesus instead of arguing against them or trying to put our own words into his own mouth.” They might start with admitting that Jesus was against heterosexual lust, not homosexual marriage. Do that, confess their own sin of betrayal, and they stand a great chance of making our world more like the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus still intends for it to be.

Peter was a mess in his own right. But he got over it. He didn’t go out and hang himself. Rather, he confessed his sin and went to work feeding Christ’s lambs for the next 30 years until executed by the Romans for still proclaiming the Gospel. He fixed his own problem. And if today’s liberals will do the same, they stand a great chance of making our world more like the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus still intends for it to be.

Will today’s church end up in divorce court, liberals vs. conservatives? Perhaps. That’s not up to me. My role is just to call out both sides for the ways in which they are both making this earthly home a worse place in which to live. Unhappy. Tense. Insecure. Bitter.

My role is that of D. Pullman, the comic-book character who feels little choice but to tell the Lockhorns why their marriage is so messed up. And why he’s really on both sides.

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