Source: Appeal to Christians Regarding President Donald Trump

In these times of difficult conversations and sometimes fractious words, we celebrate the political diversity of our churches. We are thankful that the U.S. church is not beholden to any political party.

Since November’s presidential election some in the American church have rejoiced that their candidate won (or that the other candidate lost), some are cautiously at ease with the results, and still others remain in a state of shock and anger at the election results.

Whatever the varied reactions, we believe our time calls for a prophetic word.

As Jeremiah wrote, we should not say, “Peace, peace!” where there is no peace. We mourn the absence of biblical shalom in the U.S. today: everything is not at peace. Our God is a God of truth, who brings thoughts, words, and deeds out of shadows. By the light of Christ, we see what needs to be transformed.

In that light we are troubled by the new access to power of a man who has signaled that he may not stand up for the dignity and welfare of all people.

President Donald Trump has bragged about sexual assault and berated his female accusers. He has repeatedly disparaged African Americans, Latinos, and other communities. He has denied what is true and promoted what is not. He has threatened political opponents, called for torture of U.S. enemies, and has failed to quickly and unequivocally denounce and distance himself from race-based crimes committed in his name.

We recognize that many voted for the President  in spite of—not because of—these patterns.

But now is the time for the body of Christ to stand together against the devaluing of women and their bodies, xenophobia, inflammatory racialized rhetoric, and other harmful speech and behavior.

Some perceived greater political good cannot offset the President-elect’s words and actions. We cannot “just make the best of” our current moment without calling him to accountability. Calls for “national healing” ring hollow when they fail to acknowledge the division, fear, and hostility that the President-elect has done much to enable and incite. Rather, we stand united to promote the dignity of all people.

To that end:

1. We will pray for President Trump, elected officials, our nation, our churches, and each other.

2. Rooted in the teachings of Jesus and the prophets, we will tell the truth about the world around us, and we will speak up for those who have been marginalized and taken advantage of.

3. We will actively resist the temptation to overlook or normalize values, speech, and behavior that are in conflict with what Scripture calls us to.

4. In the name of Jesus, we call President  Trump to repentance for dishonoring the image of God in others.

5. We will fix our eyes on Jesus and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, redouble our efforts to honor the image of God in all people and to love all our neighbors as ourselves.

We implore all Christians to take on these same commitments, and to model the repentance to which we call President-elect Trump.

Our calling comes from the God who raised Jesus from the dead. The same power on display in the resurrection enables us to promote the well-being of others and to seek God’s justice for all people.

We commit ourselves—and call on fellow Christians—to walk more worthily of such a calling in these challenging days.

Stand with us and add your voice to the appeal here.

Organizations of lead signers below are listed for purposes of identification only.

Abram Kielsmeier-Jones, Pastor, Writer at Words on the Word

The Rev. Dr. Randall Balmer, John Phillips Professor in Religion, Dartmouth College

The Rev. Traci D. Blackmon

Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary

Dr. Gregory W. Carmer, Pastor

Dr. Heath W. Carter, Assistant Professor of History, Valparaiso University

Noel Castellanos, President, CCDA

The Rev. Eugene Cho, Local Church Pastor, Founder of One Day’s Wages, Author of Overrated

Shane Claiborne, Author, Activist, Co-founder of Red Letter Christians, www.shaneclaiborne.com

Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Associate Professor of History, Calvin College

Thomas Getman, Humanitarian Consultant, former World Vision International Executive

The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America

Dr. Mimi Haddad, President, Christians for Biblical Equality

Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus, the Divinity and Law Schools at Duke University

The Rev. Dr. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary

Dr. Wesley Hill, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA

The Very Rev. Timothy Jones, Priest and Author

The Rev. Dr. Deborah Kielsmeier, Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church, New York, NY

Dr. Brian McLaren, Author, Speaker

David Neff, retired Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

The Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, Pastor, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina, Chicago, IL

The Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary

The Rev. Fleming Rutledge, Author of The Crucifixion, named Best Book of 2016 by Christianity Today

Arbutus B. Sider

The Rev. Dr. Ronald J. Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action

C. Christopher Smith, Founding Editor of The Englewood Review of Books, author of Reading for the Common Good

The Rev. Dr. Linda E. Thomas, Professor of Theology and Anthropology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Jemar L. Tisby, President of the Reformed African American Network & Co-Host of Pass The Mic

Dr. Noah Toly, Director of the Center for Urban Engagement, Professor of Politics & International Relations, Wheaton College

Dr. Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, Yale Divinity School, Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

Michael Wear, Author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America

The Rev. Dr. Will Willimon, United Methodist Bishop, retired, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, author of The Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love (Abingdon)

The Rev. David Wright, Esq.

The Rev. Jill Zook-Jones, Priest

Aaron Burden Bible Photo.jpg

Sign the Letter

Stand with us and add your voice to the appeal at change.org.

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The Pledge of Allegiance of a Christian:
Jesus Is Lord

The Constitution of the Christian:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Bill of Rights of the Christian:
Matthew Matthew 5-7New International Version (NIV)
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said:
3
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
5
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
7
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
8
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
9
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,that they may see your good deedsand glorify your Father in heaven.
The Fulfillment of the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Murder
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Adultery
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Divorce
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f] 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Oaths
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.[g]
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h]39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Giving to the Needy
6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Prayer
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11
Give us today our daily bread.
12
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13
And lead us not into temptation,[j]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[k]’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Fasting
16 “When you fast, do not look somberas the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[l] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[m] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worryabout your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[n]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Judging Others
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.16 By their fruit you will recognize them.Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day,‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Footnotes:
* Matthew 5:21 Exodus 20:13
* Matthew 5:22 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman; also in verse 23.
* Matthew 5:22 Some manuscripts brother or sister without cause
* Matthew 5:22 An Aramaic term of contempt
* Matthew 5:27 Exodus 20:14
* Matthew 5:31 Deut. 24:1
* Matthew 5:37 Or from evil
* Matthew 5:38 Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21
* Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18
* Matthew 6:13 The Greek for temptationcan also mean testing.
* Matthew 6:13 Or from evil; some late manuscripts one, / for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
* Matthew 6:22 The Greek for healthy here implies generous.
* Matthew 6:23 The Greek for unhealthyhere implies stingy.
* Matthew 6:27 Or single cubit to your height
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, […]

via Christmas: Herod in Trouble — A Peculiar Prophet

 

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I came across this wonderful Christmas story on NPR and wanted to share it with you. It’s worth taking a few minutes to listen.

Commentator Bill Harley was a great saver, but he had a lot to learn about spending. As a young boy, he discovered the true spirit of giving.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/144067544/143728138

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/144067544/143728138