Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Hopeful Thanksgiving

Good morning! It's just before 5:30 AM as I write this. I'm wanting to find time to talk with some dear friends about the election that has just passed by, and about the changes that seem to be happening, in some ways, in the positions that the president-elect is speaking about. I want to talk with these friends about hopeful signs that I'm seeing. I'm wanting to talk with family members too, and I'll be seeing many of those today, but, as a family, we've talked about keeping some of the political conversation away from our gathering. And I know that many of my friends are just not wanting to talk right now. So I'll need to wait.

I'm thankful, right now, that our president-elect seems to be moderating some of the positions he took prior to the election. I'm feeling less hopeful about some of the people that Mr. Trump has gathered around him, but I'm not feeling hopeless. I don't think Christians should ever give into despair, even though there may be moments of intense sadness, joy does come in the morning.

I have enjoyed the online conversations I've had with friends from left and right, and I'd like to continue those conversations. I almost tweeted or posted a link to an article just now, but I decided to put it here instead, because, as I said above, some of my friends just want to give it a rest right now. And that's fine. But we will need to get back to this conversation later.

Here's an article I'd like to talk about with many of them:

(begin quoted article, original <here>)
Evangelical Christians and President Trump

The 2016 election is decided and Evangelical Christians bear great responsibility to stand with those who feel afraid and left out.

Donald Trump is now President-elect Trump. Half of America, especially African Americans, Latinos and the vulnerable, feel great unease; the rural half and working class feel vindicated.

By Carl Nelson

Christians who voted for Trump on the basis of religious freedom and the sanctity of life, knew they were doing so at great risk. Countless evangelical leaders denounced Trump’s immoral behavior towards women, his racism and assaults on the vulnerable, yet many white evangelicals chose to risk voting for him over Hillary Clinton.

While we may not immediately acknowledge it, evangelicals’ decisive role in influencing this election for a candidate whose character contradicts so much of what Jesus stands for, creates a barrier to our witness of the Gospel, which we must now overcome.

The sanctity of life matters. Religious freedom matters. Those causes made huge advances last night. But racial justice matters too. So does care for the poor and vulnerable. And the plight of the refugee.  And the treatment of women. The spread of the Gospel may depend upon how well we advocate for those causes too.

The Burden of Responsibility

As Ed Stetzer wrote “Evangelicals made Trump’s candidacy; now they owe it to the world to help remake his presidency.” [Take a look at Ed Stetzler's full article in Christianity Today <here>]

Throughout the campaign there has been concern about how people of color, urban poor, refugee groups and other vulnerable populations would fare under a Trump Presidency. These are the very people Jesus commands us to love.

Because white evangelical voters were so prominent in the coalition that elected Trump, they bear a great responsibility to stand with these groups, which includes many evangelical brothers and sisters, against callous indifference, racism and nativism, which surrounded so much of Trump’s candidacy.
(end quote of longer article - Keep reading <here>)

One of those I'm wanting to talk with is Pastor Paul Anderson, perhaps using that article as a basis, who endorsed Donald Trump before the election. You can read what Paul wrote <here>. I've heard from a couple Christians that they had dreams about our president elect. I'd like to talk with them. I'm also, in retrospect, investigating the claims of some Christian Conservatives who said that Donald Trump was something like "God's Chaos Candidate."

I'm also wanting to talk with Christians who voted for Hillary Clinton, asking them what hopeful signs they see as we move forward, signs that perhaps our president elect won't turn out to be as evil as they thought. I agree with them in so many ways, though, for me, the voting part was more difficult. What I've heard from our president-elect before the election was chilling as he demeaned women and immigrants to just name two groups. And you know how concerned I am that we talk carefully and cautiously about environmental issues, issues that relate directly to God's first command to men and women, that we be caretakers of this earth.

But those conversations will need to wait. I will be praying about the right time and place for these talks. Today isn't the day for that. I hope it comes soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

House Work

One view of our basement rental.
As you may know, if you've been following this blog at all, I've been spending a lot of time in the last few months focused on "house" stuff. First looking, then doing the purchase, then working on and now organizing this place to live. Our lower level is ready for rent. You can see some pictures at <this link>. We'd appreciate it if our friends could send some renters our way!

Today I've been cleaning and starting to organize a combination workroom and storage area. There's still a lot more to do, but it's good timing since the weather has changed and it's not as pleasant now to be working on things outside. Right now, until I sat down to write this little post, I've been switching out summer clothes for winter ones. About time.

That's all for the moment. Peace to you all, in Jesus' name.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Another Source For Grief

Yesterday I posted, on this blog, a plea for mercy and understanding as I grieve the "rise of a man and an ideology that seems, to me, to be dangerous."

Because I live the privileged life of a white man in this world, my main concern is the long term effects of human-caused climate change.

Below I'll quote an article that speaks to my concerns. I quote it here so you can read it without needing to deal with advertising. I quote it because, much to my grief, some of my friends have such a different understanding about this issue.

The "climate change skeptic" position is now poised to take over in the United States. Because of that, and because so many dear friends think I'm wrong on this, I am filled with sorrow.

The article below was written by John Abraham, "a professor of thermal and fluid sciences at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering" here in St. Paul, Minnesota. For more about John Abraham, click <here>.

I don't want to fall into despair and complete negativity as regards "conservatism." I thought conservatism had to do with "conservation"! But it seems to me that "conservatism" has somehow gotten married to climate change skepticism. I don't know how that happened, but, as the article below says, many of us believe this will bring dire consequences to God's good earth.

And many of my friends are in the climate change skeptics camp, believing that I am the victim of a liberal conspiracy, believing I'm deluded.

I am conservative in many ways! Those who have followed this blog for the last few years may know how, back a few years ago, I was attacked online for being too conservative. My base values on God's plan for what has been called "the traditional family" have not changed, and some of my liberal friends think I'm so wrong about that. That's just one example.

So again, I post this with a prayer for God's mercy, and for the mercy of my friends. Take time to listen (or read) a bit to see why I'm so broken up by what happened on Tuesday.

God's peace be with you all.

Article from The Guardian, a British newspaper and online news source. (Click <here> to learn more about this news source.) The original online article can be found at <this link>.

Many of us in the United States are in deep shock and despair. The election of Donald Trump speaks of a country and a world that represents so many things that go against our deepest grains. However, as I told my children this morning, the Earth will still turn, the sun will still rise. In fact, a Trump presidency will not have the dire consequences that many of us fear – especially for people like me who will be insulated from his policies. Surely it will change the economics and courts in the US, among other things. But really, all of these are transient.

The one thing that isn’t transient is the impact this will have on climate change. It is now virtually certain the world will not meet any of its climate targets. If Trump (and the Republican-controlled Congress) stand by their pledges, we will see a major rollback of the tremendous progress that has been made on reducing emissions. A Trump presidency will likely set us back at least a decade, perhaps longer. And that is a decade we can’t afford.

The world will blow past the 2C (3.6F) target set in Paris. This means it will be difficult to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

The election also affects how we should talk about climate change. In the US, and in many other countries, opposing steps to cut carbon pollution has become a litmus test for conservative politicians. So, in this sense, conservatives now own climate change. I can just imagine the slogans, “Climate change, brought to you by your neighborhood conservatives.”

George W Bush was the worst president ever on climate change. Back then, with the reality of climate change not as widely known, it is conceivable to give voters a pass. But not now. Anyone who voted for Trump shares the responsibility for what is now inevitable.

It’s really too bad because many conservatives certainly don’t want to destroy the Earth’s climate. Furthermore, there are some conservatives who do take climate change seriously. However, when a central belief to conservatism results in decades of inaction, it makes it impossible to avoid staring facts in the face.

Conservatives own climate change.

Conservatives own the consequences of climate change.

They own the increased droughts, more severe storms, sea level rise, and floods.

They own the heat waves, the loss of habitat and the shifting climate zones.

They own the climate refugees, the resulting political strife, and climate conflicts.

They own it all.

Liberals, both in the US and around the world, have tried to work with conservatives to devise practical plans that will reduce the threats of climate change. In the past few years there was real progress.

We had hope.

Now, we can look forward to the US going backwards. Becoming the world’s laggard on climate change (again). Once again, America’s leaders will describe climate change as a hoax or as a non-threat.


I didn't quote the end of Professor Abraham's article.

You can read it if you want.

But I don't feel the same way he does about those who hold climate change skeptic positions. I still hope we can talk and come to some kind of agreement as to the facts.

O Lord, may it be so.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Grieving with those who grieve ;'(
I found the item above as I am grieving what a Trump presidency might mean for God's good earth. It's taken a couple days for the grief to settle in for me. Toni (my wife) posted something on facebook about grief yesterday morning. (BTW I'm not familiar with either "The Climate Mobilization" or John Pavlovitz. I'm just using their images and thoughts as examples of the feelings I'm going through.)

It's hard to grieve for others about some things, isn't it.

I would guess that, for many of our friends, this is one time it's particularly hard because the things Toni and I are grieving over are either being celebrated, or our friends are wanting us to move immediately to "praying for our country" or "praying for our new president elect."

Okay... yes...

But imagine how it is for those of us who have been so concerned about the rise of a man and an ideology that seems, to me, to be dangerous.

O Lord have mercy.

And friends, have mercy on me too.