Skip to content

Why I Play Golf

July 9, 2018

1560496_10152465110154131_858162053722912089_n

One of the funniest comedy routines I have ever heard is Robin Williams explaining the origins of golf.  If you have never listened to it, take a moment and do, then come back. Even the name Golf is funny. Legend says that originally it meant, Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden. Some believe it came about because all the other four-letter words were taken. If you have ever played, you can relate. The actual origin is a bit more complex and likely came from a word meaning “club”. In any event, to play golf, you need a sense of humor.

There is a story about JC Penney, that when he would interview prospective managers, he would do so over lunch. If they salted their food before tasting it, he would not hire them. If I were to be in a position to hire someone, I would play a round of golf with them. I can think of nothing better as a test of one’s temperament. If you have ever watched the pros play, you have heard four-letter words even from them.

A few years back a friend and I played and being only two they put us with another player. When we got to the third hole, a long par four, it was backed up because someone had a heart attack about halfway down the fairway. The medics were there already. The guy with us starting cussing and telling the people ahead of us to go ahead and tee off, they could just play around the medics. At that point, my friend and I excused ourselves and said we would play another time. Golf can bring out the best or the worst in people.

969070_10151720270399131_1279878903_nGolf requires patience, concentration, honesty, and above all else it is humbling. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have two holes in one, but I have also caught two of my drives off the tee. The first hole in one was the first hole at Sunnyvale Gardens, a par 3, 155 yards. The second at Deep Cliff in Cupertino, a par three, 120 yards. The first drive that I caught was when the ball hit a tree and came straight back, the second hit a fence rail and came back. The point of me telling you this is golf can be rewarding and extremely frustrating.

What I like most about it, is it is an individual sport. Anyone can play it, it is a leveler of differences in age, athletic ability, and gender. People who are good at other sports can either be good or bad at golf. Like any sport, it does take practice, but even then most of us are mediocre at best. Just when you think you have mastered it, you watch your ball disappear into water, or grass so high you will never find it.

Playing eighteen holes usually takes about four hours. That is four hours of being out in fresh air, getting some exercise, and spending time with your spouse and friends. Some people think that golf is expensive. This is only partially true. Yes, you can spend a lot of money on equipment and courses like Pebble Beach, but you can also spend less than say a ski trip to the mountains. And best of all, in California at least, you can play pretty much year round.

The game is a metaphor for life. You do your best, the results are not always good, but no matter where the ball lands, you have the potential of what the next shot will bring. They say golf is eighty percent mental and twenty percent skill. Golf and life are more about one’s attitude than anything else. Both require a positive mindset if you are going to enjoy either.

I started this with Robin Williams and to end, I offer another hilarious view of golf.  The majority of us will never be at the level of Tiger Woods or any of the professional golfers, so all we can do is hope to play bad golf well. Leslie Nielsen made a film about just that.

So keep your head down, count all your strokes, and enjoy life, even if you never play the game of golf.

 

Advertisements

The Great Tea Adventure!

July 2, 2018

cg49VTy4hZQjJYpFj93W7RU9HJW3YQ_iwVae8j6PHTEiCGMgl2YdCF9xUfZN0DmdgRHK2w=s170To my surprise, after over fifty years of drinking coffee, I was able to kick the coffee habit and switch to green tea. Coffee used to be my kick-start every day. We had an electric pot that I could preset, so that every morning a fresh pot was ready when we got out of bed. My habit was to drink a few cups at home and continue drinking at work until 9 am.

I drank my coffee strong and black, buying ground beans that were a combination of expresso and dark Colombian roast. Guests in our home would always comment on how strong our coffee was. I tried once before to quit, but the intensity of the headaches that followed were too much, I gave in.  This time I weaned myself slowly, decreasing the amount each day until I switched completely to green tea.

5666EB8A-ABC4-E28A-4C90-94D0F94436E6-5278We buy Yogi Pure Green Tea now and I don’t miss coffee. If we go out for breakfast we bring tea bags and the temptation to have coffee has disappeared. While we originally bought our tea at places like Whole Foods, I discovered a better price through Amazon. We could buy six boxes, and being Prime members received our order in two days.

At least that was until my last order. For whatever reason, the order was filled by ProDepot and not direct from Amazon. The order was placed on June 11 and since this was not Prime, the shipping estimate was for the week of the 23rd. This was not a problem as we had a couple boxes left. The week of the 23rd came and went and still no tea. We ran out, but I luckily our local store carries it.  We then received a new estimate of delivery of July 5th.

This was nuts! I contacted the seller and said why is this taking so long, only to get a reply that said that was how I had ordered. What? My first thought was maybe they were making each teabag by hand, handcrafted especially for me in China, boxed in the Philippines, and shipped by row boat into San Francisco where the package would be transferred to a delivery service using bicycles to ride down Highway 1 to our house.

The truth became even stranger. According to the shipping information, the package of green tea was on its way via FedEx from the ProDepot facility in Michigan. Having a tracking number, I was now able to follow the progress of the package and here is where things got weird.

The package supposedly left ProDepot on June 12 but did not arrive at the first shipping point until June 22. The first shipping point was in Livonia, Michigan. Why did it take ten days to start the journey, who knows? Did shipping and receiving at ProDepot print a shipping label and forget to give it to FedEx? Did the employees decide to drink the tea and had to refill the order when the new stock arrived? Did the FedEx driver leave the package on his truck behind his seat under his winter coat he hadn’t used since the last snow? Whatever, this was not the strangest part of the tea’s journey.

The package left Livonia at 10:21 pm on the 22nd and arrived at the next stop at 1:21 am on the 23rd in Perrysburg, Ohio. Now according to Google Maps this is a one hour nineteen minute drive, it took three hours. Maybe Gilligan was driving the truck.

At 8:12 am on the 23rd the package left Perrysburg and arrived in New Berlin, Wisconsin on the 25th at 5:58 pm. I guess the drivers don’t work on the weekends as this is about a five hour drive.

Here is where things get even stranger. Originally, as I tracked this package it left Wisconsin, went back to Illinois, then to Kansas, to Texas, to New Mexico, and finally to California. Why in the world it went back to Illinois, I have no idea. Now, when I look at the history, it shows it left Wisconsin on the 26th, arriving in Sacramento, California on the 29th, and delivered to me on the 30th. Why the history changed from the day to day tracking I have no clue other than to assume it was fake news.

We did receive the package on the 30th at least. So it took nineteen days to get green tea from Michigan to California. Needless to say, I won’t be ordering from ProDepot again and if I do order from Amazon, I will make sure it is coming from them direct and not a secondary source.

What a headache! Almost makes me wish I had a cup of coffee!

Why, Why Did America Die?

June 24, 2018

It doesn’t seem that long ago
Even though it’s hard to remember now
That this country was doing okay.
Things weren’t perfect by any means
Back when I was in my teens
But things have changed since that day.But January 2017 made us worse
That’s when we came under a curse
Fake news became a reality
Truth and facts a casualtyI can’t believe things are this bad
To see democracy fall is so sad
One man who constantly lied
Has caused democracy to die.
OHWhy, why did America die?
Drove my Honda to the station
But gas was too high
And fascists were spewing prejudice and lies
Yelling make America white again
This was the day democracy died.Hypocrites quote the Bible with ease
To justify positions as they please
Taking verses out of context
Ignoring all the rest
They believe God is on their side
But forget why Christ died.Well, I know it won’t be that long
That Trump-ets will sing a different song
Cause what they fail to remember
Is we will all vote come NovemberTeenagers are mobilizing in mass
Signing voters, kicking ass
Politicians no longer get a pass
Maybe democracy doesn’t have to die
But we’re still singin’Why, why did America die?
Drove my Honda to the station
But gas was too high
And fascists were spewing prejudice and lies
Yelling make America white again
This was the day democracy died.Now, for two years they have been in control
The hate and division are taking their toll
But, that is not how it needs to beThe clown is sitting in the Oval Office
Orange and fat, hating all of us
But now it’s up to you and meWhile he’s spending time playing golf
Taking way, way too much time off
The voters will return
HIs kingdom about to burnHe likes to court Putin and Un
And wants us all to march to his tune
But forgets deep inside,
We will not let democracy die
We won’t be singin’Why, why did America die?
Drove my Honda to the station
But gas was too high
And fascists were spewing prejudice and lies
Yelling make America white again
This was the day democracy died.He wants a parade in his honor
While affordable healthcare is a goner
But his policies will not lastMore players will refuse to stand
When the anthem is played by the band
Until prejudice is a thing of the pastThe classroom was filled with shattered glass
The sound of gunfire, no one had a chance
Valentine’s Day, cancel the dance
The only safe place, out on the grass.The NRA stood steadfast.
Gun control will never pass
We will keep our guns at all cost
No matter how many lives were lost
And the students started singin’Why, why did America die?
Drove my Honda to the station
But gas was too high
And fascists were spewing prejudice and lies
Yelling make America white again
This was the day democracy died.So now we’ve come to this time and place
To ask what will the next generation face
Will democracy live again.So hickory dickory dock
There is time left on the clock
The lies will come to an endWhile he hides in Mar-a-Largo
It is time for him to go
The curtain will fall on his show
Just as winter brings the snowAnd while he thought he was flying high
The voters will shoot him out of the sky
And he will crash and burn and that is why
we won’t be singin’Why, why did America die?
Drove my Honda to the station
But gas was too high
And fascists were spewing prejudice and lies
Yelling make America white again
This was the day democracy died.The country will no longer sing the blues
and it will be the death of all the fake news
We all can laugh and playThe people will go to the polls
And will find their names on the rolls
Democracy will be here to stayAnd across the land the people cheered
No hate or prejudice appeared
Not an evil word was spoken
No one seen as just a tokenAnd the values we hold so dear
Truth and justice once again were clear
Across the land you could hear
Democracy had not diedThe people were singing’
My, my America didn’t die
Drove my Honda to the station
And gas was not high
Fascists no longer spewing hatred and lies
This will be the day
Democracy does not die! Written by Donald W Grant
(with thanks to Don McLean)

Why The Second Amendment Is Like The Bible

March 27, 2018

Screen-Shot-2017-07-01-at-12.32.48-PM

 

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Amazing how so few words can create such controversy. Often misquoted, misused, and abused, this sentence has caused more confusion and delusion than the Bible. Well, okay, maybe not as much as the Bible, but still a lot. Like the Bible, words are taken out of context, used to defend a particular viewpoint, and open to interpretation. Like the Bible, the Second Amendment’s meaning is layered.

When Bible scholars look at the meaning of a verse or passage, they ask three questions: What does the original say? What did it mean when written? And, What does is mean for us today? This approach could serve interpretations of the Second Amendment as well.

The question of what does the original say is easy as it stands today as written in 1791. It is interesting to note that the first draft said …”to the security of a free Country,“…., and was changed to free State by the insistence of the southern states. The reason being, they did not want government interference in the slave militias; patrols that kept slaves from rebelling and brought runaways back to their owners.

This helps us in interpreting the original intent. The right to bear arms was tied to a well regulated militia. Until 2008, the rulings of the Supreme Court centered around the idea of the militia. Ironically, for the discussions today, the case of United States vs. Miller (1939) stated that a shotgun with a barrel less than eighteen inches was not protected under the Second Amendment saying, “Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense.”​

It was in 2008 when things changed. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case of District of Columbia vs. Heller that, “We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.”  What was still possible was the right to regulate fire arms in the case of “unusual” weapons, which is what the 1939 case had stated regarding sawed-off shotguns.

Like the Bible, the Second Amendment has been co-opted by the far right. Extreme fundamentalists use a strict interpretation of the Bible, and anyone who disagrees is condemned. Sadly, this rule book approach has done more harm than good. As for the Second Amendment, the group that began as a safety and educational source for the proper use of firearms has become one of the most influential and feared political entities in the country. The NRA went from its roots in 1871 of educating marksmen, to a political juggernaut that can make or break a candidate’s chances of being elected.

Using fear to persuade people believe that any regulation on firearms will lead to the removal of all guns and large amounts of money to line the pockets of lawmakers, the NRA has been successful in thwarting attempts to curb weapons such as assault rifles.

This stand is the same as creationists saying if you don’t believe the world was created in six literal days then you are not a believer. While the Bible describes creation this way, science has proven that there is more to how the world came about than a few verses in Genesis state. Our knowledge has expanded opening up a different interpretation of the process.

In the same way, the availability of military-style weapons to the general public requires a re-examination of the meaning of the Second Amendment. The ideas of background checks, age limits, mental illness and national data bases, banning of assault weapons, banning bump stocks, do not infringe on the right to bear arms. My right to own a handgun or rifle is not thwarted by any of the above.

The real problem is one of dialog. Like gay rights, divorce, or interpretations of the Bible, it is hard to get religious people to agree or even listen to each other. More so with gun advocates and those wanting restrictions. Rather than intelligent conversations, both sides of any of these issues are too quick to resort to name calling or close-mindedness.

Maybe it is just human nature to think one side is right and one side is wrong. While this attitude in regards to the Bible results in heated debate and a plethora of denominations, sects, and cults, this division over the Second Amendment results in lives lost.

 

 

I Wasn’t Supposed To Be Left Handed!

February 17, 2018

Fathers often see themselves in their sons. Hoping the son can be what the father wanted but never became. While my dad was good at baseball, he played for recreation. In me, he saw the potential of going beyond the sandlot.

His vision was for me to be a pitcher. He also knew that left handed pitchers have an advantage. They not only have a natural curve, but can throw to first base faster to catch a runner off the bag. So he made sure that I am left handed.

It wasn’t that long ago teachers, parents, and society felt there was something wrong with being left handed and many potential lefties were turned into righties.  After all 85-90 per cent of people are right handed, let’s make the kid go with the flow. Not my dad.

To his dismay, I was terrible at baseball. I have to give him E for effort as he tried his best to turn me into a Sandy Koufax. We would go out on the front lawn and play catch. After warming me up, he would get into a catcher’s stance and tell me to fire away. Some of my pitches were close enough for him to catch, but after about five or six going over his head or left/right, he would throw his glove down and go back in the house.

59635_10151202356794235_1349089457_nStill, he had high hopes. When spring came and I was old enough for little league, he had me try out and even agreed to coach the team. What he forgot to tell me was that pitchers in a real game pitch off a mound. My front yard was flat. None of my try out pitches made it to home plate, unless you discount the first bounce.

Deciding pitching was not my forte’, and being the only left-hander on the team, they put me at first base. The only problem with that is the first basemen needs to be able to catch throws to first. My catching ability was a hair better than my pitching, but after letting too many runners find second base, my days of playing in the infield were over.

So into the outfield I went. Now the outfield is a cool place, you are out there in your area with no one to bother you and you can contemplate the meaning of life. Unfortunately, every once in a while a batter from the opposing team would hit a ball far enough to head my way. If it was on the ground, no problem, my dad had taught me to drop in front if it and not let it shoot through my legs. But at times a good hitter would hit a fly ball high and in my direction.

There must be a gene missing in my DNA, the one that lets your eye track a ball in the air well enough so you have an idea where it is coming down. I could see the ball against the sky and would wait for it to come down, only to find myself about thirty feet from where it landed behind me. Now when I missed a ball playing first, the worst thing was the runner got to second or maybe third. Missing a ball in the outfield, scrambling back to get it, and throwing to the second baseman, usually meant someone would be crossing home plate.

So after my pitching career ended, my first base stint was over, and my outfielding skills were apparent, my dad found a position for me that I could handle. The nice thing about warming the bench was being able to yell at the other team’s pitcher, rattling his cage. Thanks to my dad, and my early training, I have always been really good at rattling cages.

If left alone, would I have been left handed? I will never know. I throw left handed, write, shoot pool, and bowl left-handed. But I bat and golf right-handed. I am left eye  dominant. Give me a pair of scissors and I can’t cut with either hand. So who knows?

One thing I do is write with my left hand like a right-hander. By that I mean I don’t bend my left hand as if I am writing upside down like a lot of left handed people. This is because I learned early on to do the opposite when instructed. So when the teacher said everyone turn your paper so the top is to the left, I went right. Many lefties didn’t and so had to bend their wrists to write across the page. Only problem is my writing is so bad even I have a hard time reading it.

The only time being a leftie was an issue was when I was in the Army. You guessed it. I found myself saluting with my left hand. After being dressed down several times by officers, I did manage to break that habit. They did not like my explanation that if the salute was originally meant to show no weapon in one’s hand, it made sense for me to salute left handed as that is where I would carry a weapon. Even in the Army, I couldn’t help but rattle a few cages.

Was I meant to be left-handed? Who knows. I do know I must be left brained because I hear people say I am not in my right mind.

 

 

Them Used To Be Us

February 13, 2018

PikiWiki_Israel_20841_The_PalmachWebster defines immigrant as simply “a person who comes from another country to live in another one.” This is as opposed to an emigrant who “is a person who leaves a country or region to live in another one.” So the Pilgrims were emigrants when they boarded the Mayflower and immigrants when they landed at Plymouth Rock. Some will say unless you are a Native American you are either an immigrant or a descendant of one. Actually this is not true as even the Native Americans came from Northeast Asia across the Bering Land Bridge approximately 25,000 years ago.

While all of this may be interesting, the current debate over immigration has America more divided than ever. Fueled by misinformation and fear, there are many who support a Muslim ban, a wall along our Mexican border and the end of DACA. There is a need for immigration reform but the current administration is pushing an agenda that is splitting families apart, inspiring hate crimes, asking the nation to spend 25 billion on a useless wall, and threatening to uproot those who were brought here as children and are now responsible adults within our society.

Those backing these policies have forgotten from whence they came. Sadly for them, there is Jennifer Mendelsohn. Through her site she calls #resistancegenealogy, she “has been using people’s public family history to beat back some of the uglier claims about immigrants and how they fit into US history.” One of my favorites is about Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke out against so-called chain migration. The term “used by demographers since the 1960s to refer to the social process by which migrants from a particular town follow others from that town to a particular destination city or neighborhood.” To hear those opposed to chain migration talk, they make it sound as if hordes of immigrants are swarming across our borders to live off taxpayers. The facts are somewhat different, I refer you to this New York Times article, January 26, 2018. But back to Pence. Through her research, Mendelsohn discovered, VP Mike Pence is also the product of ‘chain migration’. His Irish grandfather arrived in 1923, with passage paid for by an older brother who’d arrived a few years earlier. Brother’s passage had been paid for by an aunt. Let’s stop pretending to be surprised.”

It is perplexing to try and understand why most Republicans are anti-immigration. One answer, at least for those in Congress, comes from Robert Sapolsky’s insightful book, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. Based on what he calls social-dominance orientation (SDO), which is the measure of how much people value power and prestige, the higher one’s SDO, the less likely one will feel empathy to the less fortunate. Neurologically, this is explained by those with a high SDO having low basal glucocorticoid levels which means less activation of the anterior cingulate cortex and insular cortex, both of which promote empathy.  While this may help explain behavior, Sapolsky points out that this tells us nothing of which came first, the power position or the lack of empathy.

As for the rest of those in favor of a wall or a ban, Sapolsky would put them in the category of people who “often haven’t a clue why they’ve made some judgement, yet they fervently believe it’s correct.” This is based on scientists who study moral behavior and conclude that we make moral decisions based on intuition. Then use reasoning to convince everyone, including ourselves, that we’re making sense. My take would be that they get their “facts” from the likes of Fox News.

The group that perplexes me the most are Christians who back the anti-immigration rhetoric and/or still support the current occupant of the White House. As for my opinion on Christians and 45, I refer you to a previous blog, “It is a good thing Jesus resurrected.” For those who rant about immigrants, there is one simple question. “What would Jesus do?”

Sadly, the bashing of immigrants is not new in the United States. Sometimes it is easy to forget history. This article from the Huffington Post reminds all of us just how badly immigrants have been treated from the beginning of this great country we call America. Pence, being Irish, should read his own history.

The debate is getting hotter and politicized more than ever as this is being written. The stories of ICE using, and abusing, the power this administration has given them, pile up every day. Republicans and Democrats are drawing lines in the sand to stake out their positions. One thing both sides, and all of us, need to remember: Immigrants, like the homeless, are not a category. They are human beings that need to be treated fairly and with compassion. We used to be them!

 

 

 

 

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.