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.

Listen to Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #187 – Click Here

Thinking of giving the gift of music this Christmas but you aren’t sure of what kind of music that those special people in your life might appreciate? This week’s podcast is a sample of the entire album, “Hymns, Prayers, and Invitations”. Listen first and see if you like the music enought to give it as a gift this year, and if you do like it you can buy it at www.RickLeeJames.com, Bandcamp.com, iTunes, CDBaby.com or Amazon.com.

Rick lee James live concert movie available on Amazon Instant Video.

Also, check out Rick Lee James interview about Advent on CCMMagazine.com

You can also purchase Rick Lee James Book, Out of the Depths, on Amazon.

I think half of my childhood was spent waiting on Christmas Day. When I was in the first grade I remember lying in bed one cool October night with my imagination running wild, just thinking about what it would be like when Christmas came. Like most 6 year olds, I didn’t have a very good grasp of time. I remember getting out of bed and walking into our kitchen where I heard my mother cleaning and getting our lunches ready for school the next day. I asked her how long it would be until Christmas. When she told me that I still had several more weeks to wait my heart sank a bit.

I was ready for Christmas. I wanted to see my grandparents, I wanted to eat Christmas cookies, I wanted to decorate the tree, and I especially wanted to open presents. The longing stayed with me. The hope, the expectation, the and the waiting were all part Christmas manifesting itself into my world. In my heart Christmas had already arrived, but Christmas Day was still to come. Those are my earliest memories of living in the already and the not yet.

As an adult the waiting and longing in life continues. This past summer–still in the shadow of the loss of my Grandfather only a month prior–I along with many of my family members, waited around the bedside of my Grandmother as hospice was called to administer care. Over several days, she slowly drifted from this life into the next. We sang hymns about heaven with her, we shared the Lord’s Supper, we recited the Apostles Creed as we grieved and steadied our lives facing the inevitable. We were waiting, watching, longing, and hanging on her every breath; wondering which one would be her last. When she waved her final goodbye we were relieved that her suffering was over, we were hurting because we already missed her, and we were heavy with the hope that all believers have. We will have to wait, but we hope in God, knowing will see her again.

My wife and I also experienced two miscarriages this year. The watching, waiting, and longing to see our babies ended in hospital rooms with doctors telling us the babies didn’t make it. As I held my wife in those hospital rooms, I recited the Apostles Creed again, trusting, believing and hoping in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. We needed that hope more than ever before. We still do.

2000 years ago heaven sent a baby into this world named Jesus. The prophets foretold his birth and for many, many years the people of God put their hope in the Messiah who would come to save them from the brokenness of the world in which they found themselves. They watched for him, they waited, they longed and prayed for the coming King, but it seemed that silence was the only reply from Heaven.

But then, in a way they never imagined, the silence of the years was broken. An angel came to Mary and her relatives with a message that the Messiah was coming. One night in Bethlehem as angels sang songs of glory and terrified shepherds trembled in their fields at the heralded announcement of his advent, Jesus the Savior of the world was born. The One who had been watched for, waited upon, and longed for was among us, wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger where livestock fed.

God made good on His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ. He was a man in the flesh and a Jew by birth; he grew up poor and lived in a small village until the time was right. At the age of 30 he left his home and journeyed into the world doing good, curing people through the power of his Father, teaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and revealing that the meaning of religion is love.

His people rejected by him, tortured him and nailed hands and feet to a cross where he died like a criminal between two theives. He lay buried in the grave, but death could not defeat him. On the third day, he rose from the grave, he revealed himself to his followers, he told them to wait on the Holy Spirit, he ascended into heaven and he is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is the Lord and He will come again. We wait expectantly for him to return.

So, once again, we find ourselves waiting; just as we’ve been waiting for 2000 years for a Savior who is, and was, and is to come. We wait in the confidence that all our sins are forgiven through Him. We watch for him, believing that all who have faith in Him must repent, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, and live as citizens of the Kingdom of God. While we wait, we break bread together and in love announce this Good News to others until Jesus comes again: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

I’m still ready for Christmas. I still want to see my grandparents. I really want to hold my unborn children. I still want to eat Christmas cookies, I still want to decorate the tree, and I still like to open presents. Yet the gift that means more to me than any other is Jesus. The longing to see the Savior has formed me. Because he lives I believe I will see my grandparents again. Because he is alive, we believe we will one day hold our unborn children. We believe that one day soon, the the Kingdom of God will come in it’s fullness.
The season of Advent is a season of watching, waiting, and longing for the coming of Christ. With the season of Advent the Christian new year starts and we begin to tell this story of hope all over again. The word Advent literally means coming, in this four week season we are waiting for our Savior who was, is, and is to come. Advent is a season of hope.
“Advent Hymn (Watching, Waiting, Longing)” is a song of expectation that looks to the second coming of Christ through the lens of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It is a joyful song of celebration and a way to retell of the story of Jesus. I’m so pleased that Lifeway Worship has made this song available for churches to use during this Advent season. What a story of hope we have to share.

Check out the release of the brand new music video for Advent Hymn (Watching, Waiting Longing).

This blog originally appeared on LifeWay’s WorshipLife blog found at this link link: http://worshiplife.com/2016/11/23/advent-hymn-watching-waiting-longing-by-rick-lee-james/

Since its start, CCM has covered musical artists that mix spiritual themes with their music, including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, T Bone Burnett, Victoria Williams, The Call, Sam Phillips, U2 and Bruce Cockburn, as well as more mainstream Christian radio artists such as Amy Grant, Larry Norman, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Benny Hester, Steve Taylor, Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill.

I’m excited to say that CCM Magazine is currently featuring my music video, Advent Hymn (Watching, Waiting, Longing).

Check it out at www.ccmmagazine.com/media/stream/video/music-video/rick-lee-james-advent-hymn-watching-waiting-longing/

Blessings,
Rick Lee James

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