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Why God Made Trump President

November 10, 2017

Trump

 

Imagine you have been in a coma for five years. Some of the last things you remember are: the first Hunger Games movie was out, The Dark Night Rises with Christian Bale as Batman had been released, Apple had announced the iPhone 5, there had been a mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut at an elementary school called Sandy Hook, and Barack Obama had been elected to a second term.

It’s possible the last thing you remembered was Tom Cruise being cast as Jack Reacher in the film based on the series by Lee Child. This last one may have been the reason you went into a coma, your mind could not comprehend Cruise as Reacher, a five foot-seven inch, one hundred-forty eight pound actor playing a character who is six feet-five inches, two hundred-fifty pounds.

Through the miracle of modern medicine, you have come out of your coma and it is 2017. You are going to have obvious questions about what has happened during your absence. You might ask is Christian Bale still playing Batman, only to find out that it is now Ben Affleck. As you start to fall back into a coma over that fact, you shake your head and ask about any new Apple products and are told the newest is the iPhone X.

Remembering the devastation of the Sandy Hook shooting you ask if there has been any progress on gun control. You learn that not only has there not been any changes but there have been one thousand-five hundred-fifty-eight mass shootings since. Or twenty-nine depending on one’s definition of what constitutes a mass shooting. With trepidation you ask who is the new president after Obama, and are told it is the real estate mogul and host of the Apprentice, Donald J. Trump. Realizing they are not joking, you then ask, “Why?”

Some would answer because he made campaign promises that resonated with a large part of America, people wanted change, they wanted to shake up the status quo. Others would say it was a backlash against Obama and people not wanting a woman as president. And then there are those that say God made Trump president.

Paula White, the leader of the New Destiny Christian Centre in Orlando Florida said, “Because God says that he raises up and places all people in places of authority, it is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down….Do I believe God raises up authority? Do I believe he sets one up and puts one down? I don’t believe that just for Trump, I believe that had Hillary [Clinton] been in. I believe that for [Barack] Obama.”

Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham, said, “I don’t have any scientific information. I don’t have a stack of emails to read to you. But I have an opinion: I believe it was God….He answered the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people across this land who had been praying for this country.”

Former Minnesota congresswoman, Michelle Bachman went even further by saying God made Trump president to prevent transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

The most dramatic statement came from Pat Robertson when he said that anyone opposing Trump was revolting against God.

Even Trump, in a speech to the students at Liberty College said that he had been elected with God’s help.

While the extreme right wing of Christianity is rejoicing over the man they believe God appointed as savior for the United States, I am going to propose that maybe God did put Trump in the oval office, but for a different reason. My reasoning is more in tune with  Obasanjo, the two time head of state of Nigeria. In a speech at the French embassy in South Africa he said, “The fact that America can produce a Trump in this day and age, it means Americans are as human as we are….Trump has come by Divine Will so that America can be humbled, and we can also learn a lesson.” I would add, so we can learn several lessons. What better way to show the world who and what we should be than by giving us the extreme opposite.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says —

“16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Trump is narcissistic, a liar, divisive, misogynistic, a con man, and has no empathy for others. If God did put him in charge, is He trying to teach us something?

The first lesson being just who are we‎ as humans and what is our responsibility to the planet we call home. Trump claimed that climate change was a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese. He has appointed climate change deniers to his cabinet, and is doing all he can to strip away environmental protections. He is adamant about bringing back coal and has backed out of the Paris agreement where the rest of the world had agreed to reduce emissions. This is the exact opposite of what God intended.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28, KJV).

Humans were given dominion over the earth. Unfortunately, the word dominion is often taken to mean destruction or doing whatever we want. The Hebrew word radah from which we get dominion, implies responsibility, treating as having value. God created heaven and earth and left us to maintain earth, to see that it is treated with respect and preserved. Not ravish and destroy it.  Which of these honors God’s creation?

before

In the image above, the view on the right is how Trump would use the land, on the left is how God intended it. So by putting Trump in charge God is saying, “Wake up, I gave you dominion to respect and preserve my creation not destroy it.” Because of Trump more of us are environmentally aware than ever before. More of us are taking action to preserve our natural resources, to protect the environment. The corruption of public officials who vote to ruin the environment after bribes from the oil and gas industry is being exposed more than ever.

The second lesson revolves around immigration. Trump campaigned on the promise to build a wall and to stop Muslims from coming to America. By claiming to make America great again, he basically was saying make America white again. Not only does this fly in the face of what this nation stands for, it goes completely against what God intended.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matt 25:35 NIV).

This verse is just one of many in the Bible talking about helping the poor, the refugee, anyone lest fortunate. Christians, especially, should be the first to advocate for the homeless, those forced to flee their home and country, the stranger that needs shelter.

Pope Francis said in October of 2016, “The world needs Christians to witness God’s mercy through service to the poorest, the sick (and) those who have abandoned their homelands in search of a better future for themselves and their families. In putting ourselves at the service of the neediest, we will experience that we already are united; it is God’s mercy that unites us.”

Cities and states have become vocal in protecting immigrants, opening their arms to refugees. Even places like Missoula, Montana have committed to helping displaced foreigners. Thanks to Trump more Americans are honoring the plaque attached to the Statue of Liberty. Words from the poem The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus – “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The third lesson is one of morality. Trump represents the worst in moral values, treatment of women, respect for one’s fellow man, and empathy to those who suffer.

From the golden rule, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: do ye even so to them.”(Matt 7:12 KJV), to simply being kind to one another as written in Ephesians, God asks us to respect each other.

Thanks to Trump, and to Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment is no longer being tolerated, and women are saying, “Enough!” As a country, we are having to ask ourselves what is acceptable and what is not. These are discussions long overdue, and may not have happened without the likes of Trump and his misogynistic outlook.

The final lesson is one of love. If there is any message in the Bible, it is that God is love. Christ left us with this one new commandment —

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35 NIV).

What better way to show what love is than to lift up one so full of hate. Trump has exposed the underlying hatred that exists in this country and in trying to divide us, has caused more of us to unite and proclaim this is not who we are.

So thank God for making Trump president. Because of him, we are more aware of the condition of our planet, more concerned for those less fortunate, more aware of how we treat each other, and more vocal against those who hate. And hopefully, more politically aware as to never let the likes of Trump in the White House again.

If God did put Trump in the oval office, it was to make America great again, just not in the way Trump intended. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is a good thing Jesus resurrected!

September 22, 2017

gaugeDue to the racist, immoral, misogynistic, arrogant, deranged man currently posing as the President of the United States, the majority of his advisory councils have quit. Councils were disbanded because of people quitting and of course, #45 tried to take credit for the disbanding, after the fact. While several councils have dissolved there is one that remains, that for me is the most puzzling, the Faith Advisory Council. This is an informal group of ministers that give advice to presidents on the moral compass of the nation.

Pick just about any one thing #45 has said or stands for and that would be reason enough for the ministers to walk away. But alas it seems, at least so far, they are hanging in there. Since nothing he does seems to awaken the moral backbone within these ministers, maybe a reminder from the book they hold above all else will.

Let us start with Psalm 1:1 – Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, (NIV).

Any part of that verse taken to heart would tell a believer to stay far away from the orange haired one. But ironically, if you use the King James version of the first part that says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,” you even have the word counsel which makes it very clear in this case.

Not enough yet! Okay, let us go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT)

 26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

The next verse says, “and He blessed them.” He blessed all human beings, not just the white ones. So if we are all God’s creation, and blessed, how can ministers sit with a man that spouts white supremacy, supports hate groups and refuses to oppose oppressors?

Actually this one is not all that surprising as the evangelical community was fairly silent in the sixties when the battle for civil rights was taking place.

Okay, still on the council. Let us bring out the big guns. Words from Christ’s lips.

Matthew 23:25-

25Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (ESV)

What is keeping these “men of God” from leaving the table. They may proclaim morality on the outside, and as Johnnie Moore, former vice president of Liberty University, said, their job is to give advice to the White House, not take it. That sounds good on the surface, but how many are on this council because of the prestige of sitting next to the President of the United States? Or in this case, the president of a small minority of the country.

Seeing #45 surrounded by clergy, head bowed in prayer, acting as though he has even an ounce of morals, should be repulsive to anyone with an ounce of faith.

Oh, I see we still have some hangers on. Okay, the next big gun Matthew 6:24.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (NAS)

The word mammon, here translated as wealth, is from the Aramaic mamona, meaning profit, wealth, money. Who represents wealth or profit more than #45. Yes, technically the members are not serving #45, but they are in that they are providing an air of legitimacy to his presidential performance.

One of the basic requirements of a shepherd is to know the difference between a wolf and a sheep, and especially a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In my opinion, #45 has pulled the wool over the eyes of any minister willing to still sit on the Faith Advisory Council.

 

Divided We Stand, United not so much…

July 2, 2017

divided_states_of_america_tshirt“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The above quote is one we are all familiar with, it is part of the foundation upon which this nation was built. Setting aside the gender bias, it is meant to remind us all that no one of us is better or less than another. Part of the naming of this country included the word united, as in The United States of America. The question must then be asked, why are we doing so much to divide us?

America was built by people from all parts of the world. Germans, Irish, English, Chinese, Dutch, French, African (although not willingly), and Italian, just to name a few. Once here, and settled, all these nationalities became American. They did not give up their heritage but blended it with those around them and embraced this unique identity. Were there cultural clashes, bigotry, racism, divisions? Yes, but for the most part this country became a melting pot and an example of what a free society could be.

Today there are so many forces trying to divide us, to pit us against one another, it seems we are destined to fall apart. Whether it is political, religious, skin color, or economic, there is no end to reasons we can’t use to separate ourselves from each other. One that puzzles me came up in a news story about a woman registering her children for school.

The parent was asked not only to classify her child as Asian, but as to which Asian: Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Samoan, or one of nine other choices. She responded by saying her children were born in the United States and are American. The school said that according to Assembly Bill 1088, government code 8310.5, the school is required to ask. The funny thing is that only Asians are subdivided. Under white, it does not ask German, Irish, English, Italian, etc.

While the reasoning for always having to classify ourselves on forms, government or otherwise, may be sound and of value, just doing so keeps us in a divisive mentality. Once an individual becomes a citizen, either natural-born or otherwise, they are an American. When we lose sight of this fact, it is then division begins.

As Americans we can be Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, pro or anti abortion, pro or anti firearms, climate change deniers or believers, but no one is better than the other. The moment we use any category to claim superiority, we divide.

The current political climate seems hell bent on dividing us, inflamed rhetoric on both sides fuels the differences between us and tries to erase the fact that we are all Americans. It is too easy to fall into the trap of believing one group has the answers and another the cause of our problems. Rational discussion has become nearly impossible as both sides shout to be heard over the other. It reminds me of the Buffalo Springfield song, For What It Is Worth, where it says, “There’s battle lines being drawn, nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

So as the Fourth of July comes upon us, maybe this is a good time to reflect on who we are as a nation. We may have originally come from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or some other part of the world, but as citizens we are all American. As Aesop said in the fable of The Four Oxen and The Lion, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Lest We Forget, Or Have We Already?

May 29, 2017

Memorial-Day-Images  Memorial Day is a time to pause and reflect, to honor and pay respect to those who fought and died, preserving this nation and the freedoms that we often take for granted. Men and woman who died to protect us from fascism, Nazism, communism, and the tyranny these ideologies promote. Sadly, it is tyranny that is once again at our door, this time from within.

Recently, I read and reviewed a small book entitled, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. I called this the second book all Americans should read, the U.S. Constitution being the first. The twenty lessons are to help us prevent tyranny from raising its ugly head here, allowing what all who have died to protect us, be for naught.

A patriot is defined as one who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. Maybe the key word here is vigorously. In the book, Snyder gives concrete examples of how we can be vigorous.

One point he makes that is worth reflecting on, especially today, is in lesson 18 – “Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.”  Snyder points out that “modern tyranny is terror management.” When an event occurs, such as 9/11, it is easy for us to be willing to give up freedoms hoping to prevent a similar event. Think of all the things we used to be able to do, that have been taken away. From being able to walk a loved one to a boarding gate, to being able to enter a plane without being groped. These are minor compared to what could happen if we are not vigorous patriots.

History has shown that tyrants use such events to take control of governments and people. Hitler did this in Germany, Putin did this in Russia, Trump is attempting to do this here. To be fair, Trump is too stupid to do this, but his advisors are not, and his ego is allowing other tyrants, such as Putin, to pull him into terror management. In this case terror management being “the exploitation of real, dubious, and simulated terror attacks to bring down democracy.”

Whether it is the Muslim ban or the border wall, alternative facts or discrediting the media, chanting “Lock her up” or denying climate change, we have a president seemingly determined to undermine the very freedoms the men and women who died, who we honor today, gave their lives to protect.

My hope is that as we reflect on the lives sacrificed for democracy, that we will become vigorous patriots. No longer content to sit on the sidelines, to simply hear opinions like our own, but to read for ourselves, to investigate truth, to seek out those who think differently and listen. No longer label makers, going beyond left or right, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, and working together for the future of our great nation.

Snyder ends his treatise with a quote from Hamlet. “The time is out of joint. O cursed spirit, /That ever I was born to set it right…..Nay, come, let’s go together.”

 

 

A Couple of Small Tweaks Can Mean Awesome Service!

May 9, 2017

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Being a server in a restaurant is not an easy job. J.Q. Public can be demanding, infuriating, and downright rude. While the majority of people may be pleasant, a server needs a tough skin to keep that smile on their face at all times.

Having said that, there are a couple of things servers can do to take a night out from good to awesome, at least in this writer’s opinion. Admittedly, some of what I am about to say may not apply to every eating establishment, but imagine how awesome even a Sizzler might be if servers there followed these simple ideas.

The first has to do with the wine. Yes, I just eliminated more than a few places to eat but bear with me. Every server should be trained in how to open a bottle of wine, it is not that hard. It is painful watching a server struggle with such a simple task, often ending up with a broken cork. I blame management for this one, all they need to do is have a server open a few with them and voila!, mission accomplished. Once the bottle is open and someone has tasted it, pour some in each glass, but if it is white two things to remember. First, white wine has been chilled and pouring too much in a glass means that it will warm before consumed, so pour less than you would with red. Second, since it is chilled it will need a cooler, and here is a simple trick to make that experience better. Most servers put ice in a bucket bring it to the table and try to force the bottle into the ice. The problem is the bottle is now sitting on ice, not in ice. The trick is to use less ice, add a small amount of water, then the bottle sits down in the iced water and stays cool.

The second idea for taking an evening out from okay to great is pacing. If I order a salad and an entree, I want to be finished with the salad before the entree appears. Having had too many negative experiences with this one, I tend to order my salad and after finishing it, order my entree. A good restaurant will have the pacing down so this is not an issue but a good server should be the fail safe here. If I want to be rushed I can go to a fast food joint, but in a restaurant I want to be able to enjoy the great food they prepare.

The last point is a simple one, listen to the customer. This, for me, is usually when it is time for dessert. My wife does not eat dessert, she does not have a sweet tooth, she has no problem watching me but she does not eat dessert. So when I order a dessert and say she does not want one, don’t bring two forks and say just in case. Because then I have a pissed off wife and you just lost part of a tip.

Which brings me to the last point, tipping. If the service is bad, I leave zero tip. I was told once by a restaurant manager that this is the best way to communicate dissatisfaction. Leaving a small tip just implies one is a cheapskate and the point is lost. If the service is good but you brought two forks I will probably leave you fifteen percent. If the service is good, if you paced things correctly, then I use my special formula for tipping. It goes like this. Let’s say the bill is $132.00. I round to the next highest whole number that is easily multiplied, in this case $140.00. I take ten percent of that, which would be $14, then I double that, which would be $28, divide that amount by two, which is $14, and add the $14 to $28, resulting in $42. Astute mathematicians will realize what I just did. $42 is thirty percent of $140.00. Some might think this is over tipping. While some restaurants do pay servers better than others, not all do. Also, I have no problem acknowledging a job well done.

So my basic point here is that while serving is a hard job, sometimes thankless, it only takes a few tweaks to make it an awesome and rewarding experience for both you and the customer.

Bon Appetit

Side note: As a Scotch drinker who likes it neat, I am surprised at how this term is so misunderstood. Neat is simply “a single, unmixed liquor served without being chilled and without any water, ice, or other mixer.” As a server, I realize you are not a bartender, but for us Scotch drinkers, please learn this term or at least if you hear it, ask the bartender before showing up with a glass of Scotch violated by water or ice or God forbid both.

 

A Minor Pet Peeve

March 25, 2017

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There are many things to enjoy in life, and some that just get under your skin. Keeping a positive attitude makes each day go smoother. It makes the day more fun and leads to a good night’s sleep. Most days are like that, at least for me, but occasionally a small thing can be just enough to make me question the intelligence of the human race. Long ago, I failed to be surprised by the things that people do, but still have to shake my head at times.

One of my minor pet peeves is going up to a cashier to make a purchase and having them ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” On the surface this is a legitimate question.

Except for two things. First, asking the question implies I am too stupid to have sought out help in finding what I may have been looking for. But second, and more important, is what the cashier does when I answer the question.

If I say, “Yes I did”, we both go on with our day and no one has been hurt. If I say, “No I did not, you were out of so and so, or you don’t seem to carry so and so”, it is the response that sends me over the edge. Usually it is, “Oh sorry”, and that is the end of it. If that is the response, then why ask me in the first place?

A better answer would be, “Oh let me make a note so I can tell the manager”, or “Did you want to speak to our manager?” At least give a response that implies some kind of action will be taken.

My most recent experience with this was at our local #Ace hardware store. I went in looking for a spring door hinge and a Kidde smoke alarm. The hinge was easy but they did not carry the brand of smoke alarm I was looking for. Okay, no big deal, I knew I could get it online (which is a future blog).

At the register, the cashier asked if I had found everything. I told her no, they did not have type of smoke alarm I wanted. Her response was, oh. Being used to getting this as an answer would have been ok except for two things.

One, I had been looking in the store for the alarms and after a time ran into a worker and asked where they were. The response was gruff and I felt like I had asked for their first born. Second, and this was the kicker, at the cashier after the caring concern for not having the product, I was asked if I had an Ace rewards card. I said yes and gave her my phone number, part of which is six-one-two. She punched my number in the register and said it didn’t come up. She asked for my name and zip and with those found me in the system. She then said, it didn’t come up because my number was six-twelve.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

I couldn’t help myself, so I said, “Wouldn’t that be the same as six-one-two?” She looked at me as if I were stupid and proceeded to ring me up for the hinge. So with these three events, I would say my experience was not up to expectations, and I left the store asking myself, did she just say what I thought she said?

I have been in stores and have asked clerks if they can check into carrying certain items, and have had great responses. They either pass the word or get the manager who then is very accommodating and the next time I shop, there is the product. Sometimes they say they can’t get the product and that is fine.

Bottom line, if you’re going to ask if I have found everything, at least make some attempt at caring if the answer is, No!

#45’s Version of “Imagine”

March 17, 2017

45                   Imagine there are no Muslims

It’s easy if you’re white

No blacks, or immigrants

Around us only light

Imagine all the people living to hear what I say.

Imagine there is only one country

It isn’t hard to see

No welfare or anyone poor

Only the rich, those just like me

Imagine all the people living to serve me

You may say I’m a dictator and

No, I am not out of line

I hope some day you’ll bow to me

And the world can be all mine

Imagine I own all possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for truth or kindness

A brotherhood called the Klan

Imagine all the people giving me all they own

You may think I am joking

It’s only a matter of time

I hope someday you’ll succumb to me

And the world will be all mine