Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Yeah, I know: I said "November Musings" would be over with my last post. Consider this post a postscript, an epilogue, a sequel.

Donald Trump is now the President-elect. After watching the news coverage, seeing the victory speech of Mr. Trump, the concession speech of Mrs. Clinton, and checking out social media commentary, I feel compelled to offer my own observations, warnings, and exhortations. These are "raw" thoughts, so if they lack a certain subtlety and refinement, well, that's the nature of politics.

1. One of the consistent themes in the news coverage was the sense of surprise."Nobody expected this." "How could the polls be so wrong?" With all due respect to our professional pundits, they began Mr. Trump's candidacy with dismissal. They continued it with the narrative that Mr. Trump only had a small, narrow minded bunch of supporters. But in my decidedly un-scientific observation, Mr. Trump's base was a lot larger and more diverse than the pros admitted.

2. I appreciated the gracious words of Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton in their respective speeches. I especially want to commend Mrs. Clinton for "practicing what she preached" in accepting the results of the election with class and dignity.

3.The popular vote shows a razor thin support for Hillary Clinton. Take note: roughly half of the citizens of our country voted for Mrs. Clinton! I strongly dislike the demonizing of the voter. Intelligent, passionate, patriotic citizens supported Hillary Clinton and they cannot be casually dismissed or ignored. We may disagree on issues, but now is the time to address the concerns in a way that unites us.

4.Take note: roughly half the citizens in our country voted for Mr. Trump! I strongly dislike the demonizing of the voter. Intelligent, passionate, patriotic citizens supported Donald Trump and they cannot be casually dismissed or ignored. We may disagree on issues, but now is the time to address the concerns in a way that unites us.

5. (Yes, the previous two points were identical).

6. I'm already seeing opinions around Facebook, particularly from these political opinion "papers," that are heralding the doom of our country. As I mentioned in a previous post in this series, the disaster scenarios that are often predicted by opponents rarely come to pass. Relax folks. Don't leave the country, don't hang your heads in closeted anger, and, whatever you do, don't take a page from the opposition and start digging up conspiracies and voter fraud.

7. Several conservative Republican sites are already gloating. Even Mrs. Clinton's delay in giving her concession speech has been characterized as "cowardly!" Good grief. It's over. Even athletes shake hands after a hard-fought match.  Not to overuse an Anchorman line, but, please, for the good of the country, "Stay classy, conservatives." As I've already pointed out, half the country chose Hillary Clinton. That's a whole lot of people to be against.

8. Finally, a personal note: someone recently said that I was trying to be "politically correct." Them's fightin' words! If you knew me, I mean really knew me, you know that I have very strong political opinions. And I'm not ashamed to tell you that most of my opinions are right (well, I meant as in "correct", but yes, on the political spectrum as well). But as I think I've mentioned in previous entries, I believe how we argue our position is also important. No longer do I feel the need to blow up my opponents when they are wrong. Do you really want to listen to or work with someone who calls you a "cotton headed ninnymuggin?" or characterizes your views as so much "feldercarb?"

9. (on the other hand, I wouldn't mind engaging in dialogue with anyone who can tell me the source of "cotton headed ninnymuggin" and "feldercarb.")

Well, there it is. The real conclusion to my "November Musings" series. And guess what? Jesus is still King of kings and Lord of Lords! Pray for the President-elect and pray for our country. Let's turn now to lighter things. . .


Sunday, November 06, 2016


As I write this, our country (USA) will be electing a new President in a little more than 48 hours. The two leading contenders are Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. And to hear supporters of both candidates say it, this will be one of the most important elections in our history.

But regardless of who wins (and trust me, barring a third party upset of epic proportions, one of them will win), one thing that will not change is my code. I don't remember when I came up with this, but a few administrations back, after carefully considering what the Bible had to say about my attitudes toward the government, I came up with some principles that would govern how I speak to and about our elected officials (it references the President specifically, but can apply to any kind of leader).

Word of warning: it's easy to follow this code when the President in office is "good" (read, "a President I support"). The challenge is with the President of a different party, or one that makes unpopular decisions, or that gives evidence of doing things that may not be good for the country. But as I study the Bible, I find the principles are not labeled with a D or an R. If Paul can pray for the cruel, pagan tyrant named Nero, do I have a reason not to pray for a President for whom I did not vote?

A couple of quick disclaimers: 1) I am not perfect and at any given time, I have slipped and violated my own code. I don't offer this as judgment, merely as aspiration.  2) We're still friends, whether you agree with me or not.

This will be split between "My Code" and "Guiding Scripture

My Code
1. I will refer to the President as "President Name" or "the President." I will avoid using just the last name unless the context of the reference calls for it.

2. I will avoid the use of pejorative nicknames for the President. While well done political satire and humor has its place in our history, I will continue to disapprove of proverbial "cheap shots."

3. As much as possible, I will give the President the benefit of the doubt.

4. I will not automatically believe every bad report about the President, unless there is clear and compelling evidence to support it. I will not entertain news of failure unless it can be objectively verified.

5. I will celebrate the victories and wins of the President that are for the good of the country (not just for the good of the President's party).

6. I will exercise my right as an American citizen to "speak truth to power," to speak against policies and practices that violate my convictions or that I feel are contrary to the best ideas of this country.

7. But when speaking in disagreement, I will always temper my comments with respect and consideration to the man or woman holding the office.

8. I will pray for the President, for his or her success, health, safety, protection, and that he or she would seek and heed the wisdom of God.

Guiding Scriptures:

1 Peter 2:13-17 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Romans 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Acts 23:1-5 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’"

Also see 1 Samuel 24, in which David, presented with an opportunity to kill Saul, refuses to harm the Lord's anointed.

Thanks for reading the "November Musings" series, one of my rare forays into politics. If you have not already done so, make sure you vote and pray. And remember, on Wednesday, November 9, I predict that Jesus will still be King of Kings and Lord of Lords!


Friday, November 04, 2016


As I type this, there is only one weekend between me and Election Day. So I want to use this post to share four quick thoughts about what could and should happen on Tuesday and beyond. No major theme here, no in-depth analysis, just shooting through my keyboard. As always, whether you agree or disagree, be nice.

1. No candidate is going to "save" America. There are dozens of reasons why the grand promises of the would-be POTUS fail to materialize, most of them out of the control of the candidate. When Secretary Clinton or Mr. Trump make these sweeping pronouncements about what the next four to eight years will be like under their watch, I just smile.

2. The horrible things we think the opposing candidate will do to America will likely not happen either. Again, there are dozens of reasons for this, but gloom and doom predictions rarely persuade me as to my voting preferences. Nuclear war has never happened, guns have not been confiscated, and, as of this date, I am still free to worship in the church of my choice. Please understand, I am not blind to the issues or concerns that face our country. It's just that, if I had a proverbial nickel for every celebrity that threatened to leave the country if (fill in the name of candidate) won the White House, I'd be able to buy a nice dinner for my wife. Maybe things won't be spectacularly rosy under one administration, but I doubt it will be a total disaster under another.

3. Whoever is elected is my President, whether they got my vote or not.  I've actually had people get mad at me for saying this. "He's not my President," they announce.  Ummm, yes he is. Defiantly proclaiming that the new President is "not my President" or refusing to accept his or her position in the Oval Office is really no different than threatening to leave the country if the opposition is elected. It solves nothing, it changes nothing.

4. I'm a bit of an idealist, so I think this is a good time to remember that we are one nation, under God. If we let this election continue to negatively divide us, we've lost something far greater than our guy or gal being in the White House.  One of the most disturbing elements of this election is the candidates declaring their contempt for the voters that are for the opposition. That's not cool. If, as the experts are predicting, this election is close, then theoretically half of the voting population will be on the "other side." That's when we realize that we are still American citizens and the President has the responsibility to work with all of us, not just the ones that voted for him or her.

In my next (and possibly last) installment of "November Musings," I will share my personal philosophy of how we should treat the President--any President. I've used this "code" for several administrations and it has served me well.

Until next time, remember that on November 9, Jesus is still King of kings and Lord of lords!